Jim Garfield had his starting quarterback at Wichita Falls (Texas) Rider three seasons ago.
However, because of district rules, he wasn’t able to play freshman JT Barrett on the varsity.
“He was just a special kid,” Garfield said. “He took control of the offense. He’s an amazing young man.”
That special kid is now headed to Ohio State.
The nation’s top dual-threat quarterback and No. 37 prospect overall according to 247Sports, committed to the Buckeyes on Wednesday over offers from the likes of LSU, Baylor, Arizona, Illinois, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Nebraska.
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Barrett really blossomed as a junior, completing 102 of 171 passes for 1,605 yards and 14 touchdowns to just seven interceptions. He added another 1,521 yards rushing and nine more scores.
“He’s a very mobile quarterback,” Garfield started in. “People see him run the football, and he’s as fast as he needs to be running the football. I think the one thing that caught everyone’s eye is he can spin that ball out. He’s a great passer. With those two qualities mixed in, it’s a no brainer he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the country. Then you throw in his leadership abilities and personality, those intangibles he brings to the table, it’s just amazing.
“I’ve never worked with someone like that,” he continued. “I’ve worked with a lot of great young men in my day, a lot of great athletes and a lot of great leaders, but for the whole package, he’s one of the best I’ve been around.”
Barrett spreads his time around to several things besides football. He plays basketball and runs track. He’s very involved with peer assistant leadership programs at the school. He also volunteers at his church.
“He’s a shining stone,” Garfield said. “He does everything well and it doesn’t matter what he’s doing, he’s going to give 100 percent and really focus on what’s going on around him.”
In choosing Ohio State, Garfield says Barrett saw a lot similarities regarding his own school and football program.
“I think the one thing that sealed the deal for Ohio State was the ‘we factor.’ Here with our program, it’s us and we, and not I and me. That caught his attention when he was on his visit there. Everyone involved in the program was talking about a family atmosphere.
“The things Coach (Urban) Meyer has done previously at Florida, he’s talking about doing the same things at Ohio State. It really comes down to the family package at Ohio State. He wants a great education and he went to the college of business up there and they were talking the same thing, we and us, and not me and I, and that put it over the top.”
The following year, the district began allowing freshman to play varsity football.