Barrett has a head start at Ohio State

Andy Newberry
Associated Press
Former Rider quarterback J.T. Barrett is already signed and enrolled at Ohio State. He was joined by his parents, Joe Thomas Barrett III and Stacy Barrett, who later got a visit from OSU coach Urban Meyer in Wichita Falls.

Associated Press Former Rider quarterback J.T. Barrett is already signed and enrolled at Ohio State. He was joined by his parents, Joe Thomas Barrett III and Stacy Barrett, who later got a visit from OSU coach Urban Meyer in Wichita Falls.

Associated Press
Former Rider quarterback J.T. Barrett is already signed and enrolled at Ohio State. He was joined by his parents, Joe Thomas Barrett III and Stacy Barrett, who later got a visit from OSU coach Urban Meyer in Wichita Falls.

Associated Press Former Rider quarterback J.T. Barrett is already signed and enrolled at Ohio State. He was joined by his parents, Joe Thomas Barrett III and Stacy Barrett, who later got a visit from OSU coach Urban Meyer in Wichita Falls.

As so many athletes prepare to celebrate national signing day with their parents, coaches and friends today, J.T. Barrett will be in class at Ohio State.

The three-year quarterback at Rider graduated early and got a quick start on college life as he continues to rehab from a knee injury suffered in October.

“Every day is a grind,” Barrett said. “Seven days a week with football and school.”

But Joe Thomas Barrett IV was ready for this and he thanks his parents, Joe Thomas Barrett III and Stacy Barrett, for that. And he believes the teachers and coaches at Rider High School were another reason he’s handling the transition.

In football or life, Barrett always loves to be able to compare his current challenge to one he’s already conquered. When he hurt his knee he said he was wearing two knee braces the same way he’d wrapped up both ankles in basketball when one was hurting.

As far as being away from mom and dad and best friends and fending for himself, Barrett compared it to “when I would go to basketball camps for a week and stuff.

“They brought me up well. I know how to clean and have a little cooking skills. They did a good job raising my brothers and I. It wasn’t like I’d never done anything for myself.”

Barrett celebrated his 18th birthday at college, away from his family and good buddy John Hatch, his second family.

One doesn’t have to wonder where he came by that matter-of-fact attitude. Barrett shared one story about his mother.

“I got my first offer from Texas Tech when I was up at school so I went and called my mom, and said mom, I just got my first offer from Texas Tech,” Barrett said. “She said ‘That’s nice now shouldn’t you go back to class.’ Normally it would be celebration and going out to dinner.

“I know they’re proud of me. But they’re real mellow.”

Barrett would just as soon have left the cheering to the parents during Rider’s record-breaking football season. But the injury in the fifth game against Brewer left him in a support role from the sideline.

He went from being ranked as the No. 1 dual threat quarterback in the country beating linebackers with his legs and defensive backs with his arm to hoping to help Rider with words, wisdom and good cheer.

They achieved their goal of winning Region I to get to the fifth round but fell in overtime in the Class 4A semifinals.

“The guys who were seniors, I felt bad for them and some people that was their last time, that tore me up the most,” Barrett said. “My football career is not over. We worked so hard so we wouldn’t have that feeling. We worked so hard to go out with a bang and it didn’t happen. But we didn’t stop when I got hurt.”

Barrett enjoyed basketball, too, playing three years at Rider. He said he’s kept up with the successes of the Rider girls and Hirschi boys teams.

Some of his current Ohio State teammates will brag about their prowess on the court and he looks forward to being able to “show them. They really talk a lot of mess.”

Barrett said his recovery is going well. He’s run in the water on a treadmill. He won’t be able to take contact in the spring but will throw.

“I started throwing last week without a lot of pushing off my leg,” Barrett said. “I’m out of shape from hurting my knee.”

Barrett is happy with his decision to go early, a decision he had made two years ago.

“Rider really helped me out for adjusting to college,” Barrett said. “Mr. (Joe) Pearson preached about college to me, not to be afraid but be aware.”

Ohio State just finished an undefeated season under Urban Meyer. But Meyer made an impression without a headseat on when after Barrett had already enrolled the coach took a trip to Wichita Falls to meet the Barrett family.

And his new head coach is well aware of Barrett’s penchant for grinding away at his next challenge.

“I’m hoping he brings a little something that our quarterback position can use, and that’s a grinder, a guy that’s just nonstop,” Meyer said in an interview with BuckeyeNation. “You know, the (guys like former Utah quarterback) Alex Smith — they wake up in the morning and they’re a quarterback all day long. They go to sleep and the next day they wake up again and they’re a quarterback all day long.”

Getting back on the field may seem like a long journey, but Barrett plans to grind away, one day at a time.

© 2013 Times Record News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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1. Ben Davis, Graham (2,690Yds, 28TDs)
2. Chase London, Rider (2,389Yds, 28TDs)
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