There’s an assumption by plenty of Ohio State fans that Dwayne Haskins is going to be everything that J.T. Barrett was not.

You know, a big, strong-armed quarterback who can fit balls into windows that will make NFL scouts drool and opposing defenses whimper.

And who’s to say he can’t be? Haskins did nothing but fuel that belief in limited work as Barrett’s understudy in 2017. Completing 70 percent of his passes for 9.9 yards per attempt just added to the anticipation of the beginning of the Haskins era.

As Ohio State continues its spring practice, we don’t know that Haskins is undoubtedly the starter for 2018, though it appears extremely likely. We do know that Barrett is no longer in Columbus and that Haskins will finally get the chance to start after two years learning from the elder Buckeye quarterback.

There’s a key verb in there. “Learn.”

Some might scoff at the idea that Haskins could learn something from Barrett. It’s Haskins who appears to be the superior talent with higher upside. In the eyes of some, he’s the last boost that OSU needs to push itself back atop the college football world.

But if Haskins didn’t learn an invaluable lesson from Barrett about handling success and failure, that talent won’t take OSU to new heights.

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Looking back on it, Barrett’s career almost doesn’t make sense. The guy broke seemingly every quarterback record at OSU all while many called for him to be benched. I’d argue that for the majority of his career as the starter, Barrett was a Heisman contender in the eyes of some and the second-best quarterback on the roster for others.

Haskins’ career might not have those highs, and it might not have those lows. But if they do, Barrett is the perfect case to learn from.

For much of Barrett’s career, he was what every coach hopes their quarterback can be. Boring. He said the cliché things that didn’t get twisted into billboard material, and he never got caught up in what outsiders said about him, good or bad.

And when Barrett did do something that resulted in a low moment — the DUI, the 2016 Fiesta Bowl, the Michigan State loss in 2015 — he owned it. He didn’t deny wrongdoing or blame the coaching staff when things didn’t go his way (see “Elliott, Ezekiel”). If you looked at Barrett’s demeanor on a daily basis, you wouldn’t have ever known that his career was such a lightning rod for debate.

In Haskins’ perfect world, nobody would debate his on-field abilities. He’d come out firing in 2018 and he’d be a fan favorite throughout his career in Columbus. But rarely does it work out like that.

Quarterbacks get picked apart to no end in this era of college football. It’s not just Barrett. No quarterback — not Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen — is above criticism. If anything, early success for a young quarterback just yields more criticism.

Haskins could raise the bar extremely high for himself just like Barrett did in 2014. We saw what Haskins could do last year, which already set the bar high.

I mean, making big-time plays and leading a comeback effort against Michigan basically makes you a God in Columbus.

When Barrett underwent surgery after the Michigan game to try and return for the B1G Championship, Haskins went back to his understudy role. He got a first-hand look of some serious dedication (via Ozone):

But what happens if Haskins loses a B1G East game that ends OSU’s hopes of a conference title? Or what if Haskins throws a pick-six on his first play of the season like Barrett did back in 2016?

Not everyone can bounce back like Barrett did from those moments. If nothing else, Buckeye fans should’ve appreciated Barrett’s leadership during those low moments. But that’s another discussion for another time.

Now, all that matters is the future. There’s a quarterback battle in spring camp that’s sure to continue into the fall, regardless of whether Haskins throws for 5 or 500 yards in the spring game. Urban Meyer likes to remind people that he recruits and evaluates quarterbacks based on four things:

  1. Competitiveness
  2. Toughness
  3. Leadership
  4. Talent

Haskins might already have Barrett beat in that fourth category, but those three other categories will determine how far he’ll go. Barrett learned how to master those three categories, and Lord knows he did whatever he could to maximize his talent. To win a national title, you need to have all four categories in spades.

Barrett never quite got to that level. Maybe Haskins will. Maybe his rise on to the national stage will culminate with OSU getting back to the title game that eluded the program the last three seasons. Or maybe Buckeye fans will be calling for Tate Martell by the start of B1G play.

Whatever happens, a Barrett-like approach would do Haskins a world of good.