COLUMBUS, Ohio - There's only one word Urban Meyer thinks can describe J.T. Barrett.
"Elite," Meyer said Wednesday at a press conference.
The career accolades and numbers certainly back Meyer's claim. Barrett is nearly 10,000 career total yards, accounts for the most Big Ten touchdowns ever and is closing in on the all-time Ohio State passing record for a career.
The biggest criticisms of Barrett are his lack of arm strength, occasional indecision with the ball and lack of big-time performances on the grandest stages. Sure, he helped led the team to a national championship in 2014, but was injured and could not see the journey all the way through.
The injury was hardly Barrett's fault, but for every statistically big game for Barrett, a lackluster performance always seems to eventually follow. The record books say otherwise, but Barrett is still one of the most highly criticized Ohio State players when he walks onto the field.
That's all a part of being the one who touches the ball every snap, according to Ohio State offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson. Wilson feels his quarterback does not deserve all the heat placed on him on Saturdays.
"One, (criticism from the outside) comes with the territory of what position he plays, and it comes with the territory of where he plays," Wilson said. "Hopefully me and (quarterbacks coach Ryan) Day are getting through to him to quit worrying so much and quit trying to be perfect, and trust yourself, trust your teammates. Don't be foolish and careless, but live on the edge and start anticipating and cutting it loose a little bit."
Barrett has been tossing the ball around more efficiently and confidently in the last two weeks against secondaries that do not match up to Big Ten standards, but now he will be facing conference foes with one final chance to erase the doubt of his ability. No one truly thinks Barrett is not a winning quarterback, nor that he is not cut out to run a Meyer-led team.
Barrett has an uncanny ability to remain composed in the face of some of the biggest adversity any college athlete can face. From rebounding from a loss to Virginia Tech as a freshman, to shaking off last season's string of bad games all the way up to this season's loss to Oklahoma, Barrett still stands tall with whatever is placed before him.
However, Barrett gives away much of the credit to his teammates.
"When you’re winning, I get too much credit. (That is) when I try to give that credit to the guys around me because that’s who I need — 10 other guys to play well. When we lose, I mean, I’m the one to blame too,” Barrett said in the week following the Oklahoma loss. “It’s the life of a quarterback.”
No matter how he's remembered as he enters his last season against Big Ten competition, Barrett will always carry the distinction of a quarterback who came to Ohio State with a dream of playing college football, and left with his name beside some of the best to ever play.
And even if he is always underappreciated, he will still have Wilson and Meyer firmly on his side.