J.T. Barrett: A Leader At Every Level

J.T. Barrett: A Leader At Every Level

J.T. Barrett Featured

Perseverance. Leadership. Competitiveness. Quarterback J.T. Barrett’s most impressive traits are also what make him so unique. 

Barrett was the only three-time captain in Ohio State history and it’s easy to see why. He was the type of leader that teammates rally around in the huddle and he knew when to speak out and when to lead by example. But now, he’s about to start his pro football career – and he’ll have to join a team full of established veteran players. So how will that affect his role in the locker room? That’s simple. It won’t. 

“I feel like I’ll take the same approach I did while at Ohio State,” Barrett said. “Obviously, I’m not going to step in and run the whole ship from day one and I will respect the vets, but, once I get to my new team, I will observe what’s going on around me. There are always ways to encourage guys and help make them better. I’ll earn the respect and trust of my teammates once they see the hard work that I put in.” 

The success that OSU had with Barrett leading the way is pretty ridiculous. They finished 38-6 in games he started and he left with over 25 school records, including career passing yards (9,434) and completions (769).  

Yet, the three-time Big 10 Quarterback of the Year has been flying somewhat under the radar during this whole pre-draft process. Despite his intangibles, some scouts question his arm strength and release.  

But Barrett isn’t stressed by any of the negative press – he knows he will be a steal for whoever does draft him, and he knows he has a solid base who will back him up along the way. 

“I have some great people in my life who keep me calm and mentally prepared for everything,” Barrett explained. He cites his parents, his high school head coach Jim Garfield, and his best friend’s dad as role models who have always provided him with wise words and endless support. 

No matter where or when he gets drafted, you can bet that Barrett will put in the work to get better, too.  

Vita Vea: Destined For Big Things

Vita Vea: Destined For Big Things

Vita Vea

Vita Vea is a big dude.  

Actually, that’s an understatement – at 6’4”, 344 pounds, the former University of Washington nose tackle is massive, even by NFL standards. 

So it’s kind of crazy that in college he actually got the chance to play quarterback. Well… sort of. 

“I was a wildcat quarterback in high school,” Vea explained. “Once I showed my ability to run, our head coach eventually gave me a chance to throw the ball. But when it was time, I became way too focused on who I was throwing to and making sure that I threw the perfect spiral. So, I went back, did the three step drop, and let it go. But it was horrible and the ball went like 30 yards in the air. That was the last chance I ever had to be QB.”  

Well, maybe the life of a signal caller wasn’t in the cards for Vea, but he may have picked up a different skill from his time behind center: his fast feet. The largest man on the field shouldn’t also be one of the quickest, but this 23-year-old defies those odds. He’s not out there to just clog lanes, he’s there to make plays. 

At a position that usually doesn’t show up on the stat sheet, Vea was still able to rack up 8.5 sacks and 12 tackles for losses over the last two seasons. He was the anchor to a stout Washington defense and helped push the team to another outstanding season.   

And the person who gave him the push he needed every step of the way during his career is his older brother. “I was that little brother who followed my older brother everywhere,” Vea said. “No matter what I did, he would always lead me in the right direction. This included playing sports. That was always a big thing for us, but he also taught me so much about life and playing that extra role as a volunteer in the community.” 

Whoever drafts Vea in April will be getting an asset to the team and to the city itself. But they’ll also be getting someone with a true passion for the game. 

“The best advice I could give to a younger athlete is ‘have as much fun as you can,’” he said. “’Time flies fast and before you know it, you’ll be at the Combine, getting ready for the pros. So make sure to enjoy all of it.

 


Thanks to Vita Vea for his time and make sure to check out the Eastbay Blog for more exclusive stories on the biggest names of the 2018 rookie class.