Braxton for Heisman???
Can Ohio State’s Braxton Miller take home the Heisman trophy, and should your dynasty team care??
By Shawn Gallagher – DFW Writer
Quite a lot has happened since Braxton Miller was recruited to play Quarterback at Ohio State just a few short years ago, but as we eagerly approach the 2013 College Football season there is quite a bit of optimism surrounding Ohio State and Braxton Miller. A shot at the BCS title, Big Ten Title, and Heisman Trophy are all within striking distance for head coach Urban Meyer and his star quarterback Braxton Miller, and in this column we will take a closer look at Miller’s profile.
The beginning: Bumpy Roads in Columbus!
Braxton Miller began his career as a standout quarterback and athlete from Wayne High School, located in nearby Huber Heights, Ohio. Miller was a finalist for the “Mr. Football” award for Ohio in 2010, while also becoming a standout basketball player at Wayne High School. Miller was heavily recruited by several major college football programs, but ended up choosing to play for nearby Ohio State in 2010, and Head Coach Jim Tressel. It was thought at first that Miller would get some time holding a clipboard at OSU for at least a year, while learning the quarterback position from current quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Things became a bit rough at Ohio State when Braxton Miller first enrolled there however, as a few illegal NCAA scandals involving the football team ended in the abrupt resignation of Head Coach Jim Tressel and removal of their current starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor. With Pryor now off of the team, it started to become pretty clear that Braxton Miller’s chances of spending time holding a clipboard and having a “redshirt” year were very slim.
2011: Transition year at Ohio State
Ohio State Head Coach Jim Tressel resigned shortly before the 2011 season, and assistant coach Luke Fickell served as interim Head Coach for the 2011 season. It was a pretty crazy season overall, considering that several key players for Ohio State were either thrown off the team or suspended for a significant amount of the season, and a challenging task for Luke Fickell and the rest of the team. Early in the season, Fickell gave Freshman Braxton Miller the shot at starting quarterback for OSU. Ohio State ended up having their lowest total number of wins in quite some time with only 6 wins, but despite finishing the season with only 6 wins, Miller showed plenty of promise. Miller ended the season with 13 passing touchdowns and 7 rushing touchdowns, totaling nearly 2,000 all purpose yards on the season, leading to Big Ten Freshman of the year honors for the 2011 season. Here is a highlight video from Braxton Miller’s 2011 season, when he was on his way to Freshman of the year honors.
The Urban Meyer era begins!!
After all the ups and downs of the 2011 season, the luck of the Buckeye program seemed to change for the better with the hiring of Urban Meyer has Head Coach. Meyer had been taking a break from coaching and working as a TV analyst for the past season, and we remember Meyer taking the Florida Gators to 2 National Championship victories in the past several years. It also really helped that Meyer was an Ohio native and that he was also really good friends with former OSU Head Coach Earle Bruce. Ohio State really seemed to do a great job in rebounding from the recent scandals with the hiring of Urban Meyer as their new Head Coach. This change was also expected to be a refreshing change for Braxton Miller, as he had seen great performances from previous quarterbacks that Urban Meyer had coached, which included Alex Smith at Utah, and of course the one and only Tim Tebow at Florida! Here is a clip from Urban Meyer’s introductory conference at Ohio State.
2012: The Perfect Season!! (But banned from postseason play)
The 2012 season will go down as one of the most memorable seasons in Ohio State football history, a fantastic but bittersweet season. Before the 2012 season began, Ohio State was hit by the NCAA with a Postseason Bowl ban for 2012, and a loss of several scholarships, in response to the scandals the program was involved in at the end of the Jim Tressel/Terrelle Pryor era in 2011. Despite the sanctions, the 2012 Ohio State team and Braxton Miller responded with a perfect 12 and 0 season, which was an improvement of 6 wins over the 2011 campaign!! Braxton Miller took off in the Urban Meyer offense, accumulating 28 Touchdowns and over 3,000 all purpose yards in leading the Buckeyes to a perfect 2012 season. Braxton Miller and the rest of the Buckeyes really responded to the adversity of the Bowl Ban, and came together for a magical 2012 season, and helped to provide a great sense of optimism at Ohio State going into the 2013 season. Here is a great highlight video of Braxton Miller and Ohio State’s 2012 amazing season!
The 2013 season: An Encore???
It will obvious be a difficult and daunting task for Ohio State to repeat an undefeated 2012 season in 2013, but the possibility certainly is there, considering that Braxton Miller and the majority of the offense return for their 2nd year under Urban Meyer. The schedule provides a few tough games for OSU, as they host Wisconsin and could face tough tests on the road at California and Northwestern. The obvious November visit to the “The Team Up North” could end up being another monumental showdown to end the regular season. A season resembling the 2012 perfect season could put Ohio State in the BCS and Big Ten Championship picture, and of course keep Braxton Miller in the Heisman conversation. What is also amazing to think about is that this is only Miller’s Junior season, so he could end up playing for another two years under Urban Meyer in Columbus.
2013 Ohio State Football Schedule
Aug. 31: Buffalo (Ohio Stadium)
Sept. 7: San Diego State (Ohio Stadium)
Sept. 14: at California (Berkeley, Calif.)
Sept. 21: Florida A&M (Ohio Stadium)
Sept. 28: Wisconsin (Ohio Stadium)
Oct. 5: at Northwestern (Evanston, Ill.)
Oct. 19: Iowa (Ohio Stadium)
Oct. 26: Penn State (Ohio Stadium)
Nov. 2: at Purdue (West Lafayette, Ind.)
Nov. 16: at Illinois (Champaign, Ill.)
Nov. 23: Indiana (Ohio Stadium)
Nov. 30: at Michigan (Ann Arbor, Mich.)
Braxton Miller NFL Scouting Report
Braxton Miller has lived up so far to the high expectations of playing quarterback at OSU. Miller is a natural leader on and off the field who has risen up in big games and clutch situations. At 6 Foot 2, and around 215 pounds, Miller has the size to play at the NFL level, and his 4.4 speed will be a huge plus, as the NFL is becoming more and more of a running quarterback league. Miller needs to work on his downfield passing strength and accuracy if he really wants to make it big at the NFL level however, and his development as a natural passer will be something to keep a close eye on in 2013. Miller once again has two years of NCAA eligibility left, so the 2014 NFL Draft isn’t a certainty at this point, and it might be recommended that he stay an extra year at OSU after 2013.
Fans should get to see a lot of Braxton Miller’s OSU games this year, and there will likely be several games where Miller’s legs and rushing skills will be what is needed for OSU to win that particular day. Miller has great intangibles, which I think will help him to succeed at the NFL level, but he might not end up being a quarterback taken terribly high in the NFL draft. I think Miller can really help his NFL and dynasty stock if he stays at Ohio State past the 2013 season, and through the 2014 season, as an extra year spent with Urban Meyer to develop his NFL skill set could be critical to his NFL future. Regardless of which NFL draft Miller ends up going in, I’d recommend taking a shot on him in your dynasty leagues, likely sometime in the 2nd round of a rookie draft in 2014 or 2015, as his strong leadership and intangibles are certainly worth taking a shot on. In the meantime, enjoy the exciting ride and Heisman campaign that Braxton Miller and the Buckeyes will be taking during Saturdays this 2013 season!!!