- Austin Ward, ESPN Staff Writer
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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The endorsement wasn't exactly a necessity for the campaign.
But given Urban Meyer's history with the Heisman Trophy and the nominees the Ohio State coach has worked with in the past, his willingness to finally call his quarterback a candidate might carry a little weight.
The conversations about Braxton Miller as a potential winner for the most prestigious award in the game were going to continue either way given the numbers he's putting up for a team that will head into the final month of the season without a loss. But after holding off for much of the season, Meyer took the plunge and gave the sophomore quarterback one more voice of support in the race for the bronze statue.
"I’ve always tried not to [talk about it], but when I’m asked a question about it, I try to give my honest answer," Meyer said during his press conference on Monday. "Do I believe he’s a Heisman candidate? I do. I didn’t say that before, but I do believe Braxton is a Heisman candidate.
"He has to play much better, however, just from sheer production for a team that is 9-0, that puts him in that category -- and that’s without knowing all the other candidates."
Heading into his second season as the starter for the Buckeyes and learning a new offense under Meyer, Miller wasn't mentioned all that often as a viable option. The conventional wisdom seemed to be that there might be some growing pains, though Miller could perhaps establish a foundation for a potential run down the road.
Miller's 24 total touchdowns and 1,093 rushing yards in the spread attack have moved up the timetable, though. And while Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein appears to have emerged as the current favorite and even drew praise from Meyer on Monday, Miller continues to keep himself in the minds of voters with outings like he turned in on the road against Penn State with another 100-yard rushing performance and three more touchdowns in a winning effort.
"I’ve watched that Kansas State quarterback and he’s a great player," Meyer said. "There's the guy from West Virginia [Geno Smith], but I just haven’t been following it enough.
"You’re asking me because I have a little bit of experience with that award and seeing guys get ready. Braxton has to play much better, however I believe he’s a candidate."
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