Ohio State is one of the most successful programs in NCAA football history. The Buckeyes have won 8 national titles and boast an all time record of 898-324. Throughout Ohio State’s history, college football legends such as Archie Griffin, the only person to win the Heisman trophy twice have starred in the scarlet and gray. While Ohio State has had numerous great players, a team is only as good as its quarterback.
Ohio State’s quarterback history doesn’t stand out like USC or Notre Dame. Although many Ohio State quarterbacks did not translate to the NFL well, they were great college players. The quarterbacks on this list led Ohio State to some of their most successful periods. Here are the top 5 quarterbacks in Ohio State’s history.
5. Craig Krenzel
Craig Krenzel was Ohio State’s starting quarterback during one of their most successful runs from 2000-2003. Krenzel holds a record of 24-3 as a starter and helped the Buckeyes claim the 2002 National Title against one of the best college football teams of all time, the 2001 Miami Hurricanes. Krenzel threw for 4,489 yards and 28 touchdowns during his time at Ohio State. While these numbers aren’t elite by any means, Krenzel won games while playing to his strengths.
Krenzel helped end a 34 year championship drought and led the Buckeyes to a top 5 finish in 2003. Because of his staggering winning percentage (88.8%) and the fact that he helped bring a championship back to Columbus after such a long drought, he makes the top 5.
4. Braxton Miller
Braxton Miller was one of the most electric players in recent college football history. Miller was a threat to score any time he touched the ball. Miller threw for 5,295 yards and added another 3,315 yards on the ground during his career in the scarlet and gray. If you add Miller’s 340 yards and 3 receiving touchdowns, Miller produced a total of 8,950 yards and 88 total touchdowns.
Miller could do it all and led the Buckeyes to a 26-8 record during his tenure. He also helped lead the program through the “tattoogate” scandal, a feat that can’t be measured by stats. If Miller played quarterback during his senior year instead of moving to wide receiver, he most likely would have been number one on this list.
3. Rex Kern
The leader of one of Woody Hayes’ most successful teams, Kern only lost 2 games as the starting quarterback for the Buckeyes. While Kern only threw for 2,444 yards and more interceptions (24) than touchdowns (19), Kern was still a phenomenal player. Many of the quarterbacks that played under Hayes were runners first and Kern proved that by rushing for 1,714 yards and 24 touchdowns. He was also the quarterback of the 1968 national title team.
2. Troy Smith
Its hard not to place Troy Smith as the best quarterback in Ohio State’s history, but number two isn’t too bad. Smith won the Heisman trophy in 2006 but never delivered the national title that many expected. He was amazing statistically, throwing for 5,720 yards and 54 touchdowns. He only threw 13 interceptions in his career, an insanely low number for a quarterback that threw for so many yards. Smith’s greatest accomplishment might be a 25-3 record as a starter and three wins over the team up north. While Smith was truly amazing, one quarterback was even better.
1. JT Barrett
The most recent quarterback on this list is also arguably the best in program history. Barrett led Ohio State to the 2014 College Football Playoff before getting injured and having Cardale Jones save the day. Barrett also put up some staggering statistics during his tenure: 8,938 passing yards, 99 touchdowns through the air, 3,307 rushing yards, and 38 touchdowns. Barrett holds most of Ohio State’s offensive records and holds many Big 10 record too.
Barrett was also 34-6 as a starter and went undefeated against Michigan. Add in a national title and his leadership and that makes JT Barrett the greatest quarterback in Ohio State history.