C.J. Barnett, a four-year Ohio State football letterwinner, team captain and member of the Columbus Division of Police following his playing career, returned to the Ohio State football program as its director, player development for external affairs beginning in February of 2021.
“C.J. is the perfect fit for what we were looking for in terms of our player development position,” Day said. “We’ll miss Ryan Stamper, as he helped our program become the standard when it comes to helping players prepare for life and success off the field. C.J. is going to come in and build onto that standard and enhance it, too. His experiences as a player and as a member of the Columbus Police Department make him exactly the kind of person our players can learn and grow from. We’re thrilled that he’s back with our program.”
Barnett graduated from the Columbus Police Academy in 2018 and was on patrol duty for the city of Columbus for the last two years. His career as a police officer started after a stint in the NFL with the New York Giants.
“I am really pleased to be coming back to work for a program that has given so much to me,” Barnett said. “I look forward to using my experiences to become a trusted advocate and resource for our players in all areas of their lives. I look forward to getting to work for Coach Day and this staff, and on behalf of the players, and to help grow the already strong culture that exists in this program.”
As a Buckeye, Barnett was widely respected not only for his leadership but also his play in the field. He led the team with 75 tackles as a sophomore in 2011 and then was part of a school-record 24-consecutive wins during the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Voted a captain by his teammates in 2013, he played in 44 career games with 36 starts as a safety. A third-team All-American (CBS Sports) as a senior, Barnett totaled 224 career tackles with eight interceptions, including a team-high four interceptions in 2013.
One of Barnett’s signature moments of the field was intercepting a Devin Gardner pass in 2012 to clinch a 26-21 victory over Michigan that completed a 12-0 season, which was just the sixth undefeated, untied team in school history.
Originally from Dayton, Barnet graduated from Northmont High School in 2009. He earned his degree from Ohio State in 2013 in sociology and criminology.