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Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer hugs Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback J.T. Barrett while taking the field in his last home game. (Photo: Joseph Maiorana, USA TODAY Sports)

COLUMBUS, Ohio – With his rush of roses, snapshots and parents crying, the senior's day is never the right time to say goodbye. Anyway, it's not that there is not a final chapter not yet written for J.T. The story of Barrett. Then, the last day, held here last Saturday before the Ohio State win against Illinois, was more of an opportunity for Barrett to enjoy applause and recognition: "tilt your hat," Urban Meyer said, instead of officially saying goodbye.

And it was treated as such, like a hug, a photo and a smile, but not a farewell. Running through the light rain, with the heavy things still to come, Barrett and Meyer exchanged a brief hug, and then the field marshal shuffled off to the sideline. But not before being cheered, which is remarkable in itself.

"I've been to many places where the crowd does not take your hat off," Meyer said. "And today was amazing, they did that, and it's well deserved."

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There are multiple aspects in JT Barrett, and multiple ways in which it has been defined as his university career enters his last weeks. Your reputation rests in the eye of the beholder. Within the doors of the Buckeyes, he is a legend; perhaps not loved by all, but certainly respected, deeply respected, and above all by Meyer himself.

"First of all, I love J.T.," Meyer said. "Everybody knows".

Step outside the program door and it becomes more complicated.

He has been loved alternately by the admirers base of the state of Ohio and criticized, even when he has cemented his place as one of the leading quarterbacks in the history of the Big Ten Conference. It derives in part from his first year of red shirt, when after taking the Buckeyes to the door of the college football tiebreaker he was sidelined by a foot injury and replaced by Cardale Jones, who would lead Ohio State to wins against Alabama and Oregon to claim the national title. You still have this question: what does it mean for you to win a national championship? I've already won a title, Barrett will respond.

Nationwide, he was underestimated as a freshman, entered the second year and overestimated as a junior, and for the most part ignored as a senior. Barrett has been a winner, losing just six games as a starter, but also labeled a loser, most recently after throwing four interceptions in the Buckeyes' unconvincing loss to Iowa.

It has been seen as a success story or a disappointment. On the one hand, as the most prolific pbader in the history of Big Ten, and on the other as a quarterback celebrating in the lower competition. As much as Buckeyes' recent almost unmatched success or the main reason why the program has not managed to win more than one national championship under Meyer's direction.

"I understand where the criticism comes from, it has not been easy," Barrett said. "This is how life goes." I feel that football is very similar to life. You can not stay down, you have to go back up and keep pressing. Simply being a competitor, he continues to struggle and, ultimately, only one leader and servant of the others.

"One of the main things about playing field marshal is that you must have confidence in yourself, so have that confidence inside you that this is the life you chose to do, with that, you should have confidence when you go out and play and knowing that you try to give your best every day. "

There may not be multiple sides to Barrett's story, only two: those who see to Barrett as a memorable college quarterback and those who do not. It seems that there is little gray area, although it is not uncommon for the position, as Barrett admits, quarterbacks receive too much credit and too much guilt, depending on performance. But it's hard to see the curriculum vitae and not see one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the State of Ohio, if not more.

He is a two-time Big Ten quarterback of the year, a freshman of the redshirt and a junior, and a strong contender again as a senior. He received the praises of the first team twice in all the conferences. Barrett has records of programs for touchdowns, pbading yards and total offense, and Big Ten records for one-touchdowns, career touchdowns and quarterback efficiency.

When asked how he would like to spend his time with the Buckeyes to remember, Barrett paused for a moment, his arm covering the young son of Ohio State quarterback coach Ryan Day, and responded: "As a fighter, a competitor." Soccer will not always go its way, he continued.

"There's going to be some trials and tribulations on the way, you just have to put on your helmet and bite your mouthpiece a little bit more and go back to work, because the sun will come out the next day.

Field marshal of the Buckeyes of Ohio J.T. Barrett. (Photo: Greg Bartram, USA TODAY Sports)

Maybe that's his story: Barrett has always stood up. Anyone who was there can remember the mix of happiness and discouragement of Barrett following the national title of the Buckeyes. He hid it well, but it was painful to spend much of the following season playing Jones' second violin. Last year was hard for everyone, and about the defamed offense of the Buckeyes in particular. But Barrett has saved the best for last, he has never been better than an older adult.

"It's what we are as Ohio State," he said. "He made me better as a person and as a player, at the end of the day, he shows the people around you that you can trust yourself, in the end everything went well."

And the story is not finished. There are at least three games left to play, starting with rival Michigan before moving on to Wisconsin and an unidentified postseason opponent, maybe even a place in the national semifinals. Maybe the Buckeyes lost to Iowa in part because of Barrett's inefficiency, as his detractors claimed. What is undeniable is that the program would not be here, knocking on the door to another Playoff position, without his senior field marshal.

But it's not time to say goodbye, not yet. That will come. No one within the Ohio State soccer program is ready.

"When we say goodbye, it's going to be difficult," Meyer said. "But that was not a farewell."


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