DETROIT — Woody Barrett officially became the face of Kent State football on Tuesday, when the redshirt junior quarterback held court at Mid-American Conference Media Day in Detroit.

Last year at this time Barrett was preparing for what would be a preseason camp-long battle for the Golden Flashes' starting quarterback job. Even after he first emerged as the starter, then ran with the opportunity by breaking KSU's single-season completions record (229) and producing 18 total touchdowns, Barrett was kept under wraps publicly by then-rookie coach Sean Lewis — who doesn't typically make freshmen or first-year players available to the media.

With a successful initial season under his belt, Barrett conducted his first public interviews as a Flash following Kent State's spring game last April. He was brought to Ford Field on Tuesday along with redshirt senior linebacker Nick Faulkner to represent the program Barrett is determined to resurrect in the next two years.

“I'm looking forward to Woody growing as a leader, and this is part of that process,” Lewis said. “I told him you're the face of the program now, so come out here and represent us the right way, represent your teammates the right way, and he's doing a fabulous job of that.

“He enjoys the spotlight. With the work that he's put in, he's earned that.”

Barrett smiled when asked whether he now considers the Flashes his team.

“I do feel like it is my team, and that we'll go as far as I take us,” he said. “The sky's the limit, and we're shooting straight at it.”

The pressure to perform is certainly nothing new to Barrett, who was considered one of the top 10 quarterback prospects in the country when he was signed by Auburn following a standout prep career at West Orange High School in Florida. Barrett was in contention for the Tigers' starting quarterback job during their 2017 camp, but wound up leaving the program and playing a season at the junior college level before being discovered by Lewis.

Thoughts of directing the fast-paced, high-production offense Lewis runs led Barrett to Kent State not long after Lewis took over the program in December of 2017.

“I left Auburn, felt like that was the best decision for me. Then I met coach Lewis,” Barrett said. “I knew coach Lewis had a plan when he was recruiting me. He's taken me under his wing and developed me into the quarterback that I always wanted to be. At Auburn we were in a competition, and they just let things play out. I've never had anyone train me one-on-one — a real personal quarterback trainer to develop me, teach me the ins and outs, break things down.

“He's shown me what it really means to be a quarterback, and I appreciate that.”

Lewis is treating Barrett much differently in year two.

“A year ago at this time we had a quarterback competition. Now Woody knows going into the year that he's the guy,” Lewis said. “Last year, rightfully so, he had to think about himself individually a little bit to earn the starting job. Now that he knows and the team knows that he's the guy, he can focus in on the job that he has to do.”

Barrett certainly has the tools to do a number on defenses. He's a mobile yet physical runner standing 6-foot-2 and weighing nearly 240 pounds, with the strong arm you would expect from a man his size. Accuracy has been an issue, but continues to improve under the watchful eye of Lewis.

“It's coming along great,” said Barrett. “[Lewis] showed me a couple of things, critiqued a couple of errors. I trust him with everything. I'm more settled in now, more calm and relaxed, going through my reads better. I feel like I've taken a huge step toward being an NFL quarterback, not just an athlete.”

Lewis saw something special in Barrett when searching for a quarterback to spearhead a football revival at Kent State, which has produced just 16 total victories since the magical 2012 season that featured a school-record 11 wins and the program's first bowl bid in 40 years. That belief has only grown stronger since the two men joined forces.

“Woody has been blessed with some talents, and he can do some things individually,” Lewis said. “But the No. 1 thing all great quarterbacks do is make the people around them better with their play. He has the ability to do that.”