REDONDO BEACH, Calif. -- The 2012 edition of the
"There's definitely some different personalities and things that they do at their high school that trends over as far as being a quarterback," Wichita Falls (Texas) quarterback J.T. Barrett said. "Even the kind of music you like to listen to. Definitely meeting people from all around the country they're all a little different and it's cool to see that."
The four-star is one of six players from the Lone Star State at the competition, confirming once again that Texas produces both quality and a generous quantity of college quarterbacks each year. While all of the players are no doubt enjoying the Southern California weather while their teammates participate in the state 7-on-7 tournament in the blistering heat of College Station, Barrett mentioned that the importance of high school football in the area are just one of the ties that keeps the group together at the Elite 11.
"We're pretty close, us Texas boys," he said. "We feel like we have the football in the nation. This is what it's about and we stick together."
Ranked 86th overall in the latest class rankings by MaxPreps, Barrett was narrowly beaten out for the automatic invite at the Dallas regional. Unlike some of his fellow campers who had to wait all the way until the Elite 11 selection show however, he was able to snag his spot in the prestigious competition the next day.
"It was crazy, I was in Dallas at the Cowboys practice facility and Trent Dilfer came up to me and said I want to invite you to the Elite 11," Barrett said. "I was like, 'Ahhh snap, this is crazy.' I watched it on ESPN last year and said to myself then that I have to be there this year. This is what I want to do, being part of the best is a big deal. I told myself I wanted to be here and sure enough, here I am today."
Just two of the six Texan quarterbacks are headed to schools not in the Big 12 and Barrett is one of them, having committed to Ohio State back in April. Coming off a junior year that saw him rack up over 3,000 total yards and 23 touchdowns, the 6-foot-2, 200-pounder is excited about fitting into the Buckeyes offense after falling in love with everything scarlet and grey on an unofficial visit.
"Out-of-state wasn't really a big deal," he said. "I was just trying to find the best place for me. The offense with Urban Meyer, he throws the ball and it's unique. You definitely have to have a little gunslinger (mentality). Receiving-wise, he's going to recruit some receivers and guys like that so I felt like it was a good fit for me."
While at the Elite 11 on Friday, the No. 9 dual threat quarterback learned he had a new future teammate after District Heights (Md.) athlete/wide receiver Tavion Jacobs committed to Ohio State that morning. Though quarterbacks are typically one of a program's top recruiters among high school athletes, Barrett has been open to questions regarding the Buckeyes but isn't pushing any of his friends or fellow recruits to join the fold if it's not the right fit for them.
At the same time he's letting the school sell itself to other recruits, Barrett has fit right into the rivalry with Michigan. He joked with Wolverines pledge Shane Morris when they first arrived at the Elite 11 that Warren (Mich.) quarterback was headed to 'The School Up North' and even tried to get into his head during a drill on Thursday.
"There was one time I was messing with him," Barrett said. "It was at the end of practice and the pressure was on so I told him we were throwing at the 'Shoe (Ohio Stadium), just to see what he'd be like. He hit the pass, he's a good guy and great competitor on top of being a good quarterback.
"He's going to know who we are though."
Nothing like two future rivals getting to know each other.