Elks sign former Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett

Photo courtesy: Ohio State Athletics

The Edmonton Elks have brought in a big name to compete for their open quarterback job, inking former Ohio State standout J.T. Barrett on Friday.

Barrett’s signing — along with that of American receiver Pharoah McKever’s  — caps a busy week of transactions for the Green and Gold.

A three-time winner of the Big Ten Conference’s Griese–Brees Quarterback of the Year award (2014, 2016, 2017), Barrett heads to Edmonton with an impressive college resume.

Barrett excelled for the Buckeyes from 2014 to 2017, starting 44 games, and served as the first three-time captain in the program’s storied history.

After redshirting in 2013, the Wichita Falls, Texas product burst onto the scene in 2014, going 11-1 as the Scarlet and Gray’s starter and was named the Big Ten’s Freshman of the Year. He finished the season with 2,834 passing yards, while adding 938 rushing yards.

Barrett tossed 34 TDs and rushed for an additional 11 TDs as a freshman, before suffering a season-ending ankle injury in the final regular season game of 2014. Despite losing Barrett, the Buckeyes went on to claim the national championship with a 42-20 win over the Oregon Ducks.

Over his final three seasons at Ohio State, Barrett continued to excel, finishing his career with more than 25 program records including total yards in a season (3,851 in 2017). He remains the program’s career leader in passing yards (9,434), passing touchdowns (104), and completions (769).

After going undrafted in the 2018 NFL Draft, Barrett signed with the New Orleans Saints, spending the majority of the season on the team’s practice roster. Stints with the Seattle Seahawks, another in New Orleans, and then the Pittsburgh Steelers followed, before a mini camp appearance with the Dallas Cowboys in May of 2021.

Also signed Friday was Mckever, who most recently spent time with the Tampa Bay Vipers of the XFL in 2020.

The Tabor City, North Carolina product was originally signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers as an undrafted free agent on May 8, 2018. After being released by the Steelers following training camp, he spent time on the practice squads of the Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars in 2018. He was later signed by the Green Bay Packers in June of 2019.

Collegiately, McKever played at N.C. State for four years (2013-16), before transferring as a grad student to Florida International prior to the 2017 season. As a senior, McKever played in 11 games at tight end, recording 27 catches for 301 yards and a trio of touchdowns.