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Monday, January 21, 2013
Changing the game: Braxton Miller

By Brad Bournival

It all turned around when….

Successful college programs often can point to a specific time when their program got a shot in the arm to get things rolling.

Braxton Miller
Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller was a game-changer as a recruit in the 2011 class.
Unquestionably, when Urban Meyer took over the helm for Ohio State it took the Buckeyes in a new direction. But the emergence of Braxton Miller can be equally as important.

A signing day commitment in 2011, Miller has taken the 3 yards and a cloud of dust mentality in Columbus, Ohio, and made Ohio State’s spread offense sexy.

He wasn't even the highest ranked player in his own Buckeyes recruiting class with defensive end Steve Miller, linebacker Curtis Grant and cornerback Doran Grant ahead of him.

Miller was an ESPN 150 quarterback out of Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne and was ranked 80th overall. He was the fourth-ranked quarterback in the nation behind Jeff Driskel, Kiehl Frazier and Max Wittek.

Now, he’s the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy in 2013 according to ESPN’s Ryan McCrystal after making Ohio State the only undefeated team in the nation at 12-0 last season.

And why not? The offense not only flourished under him, it looked entirely different when Miller had to take a seat.

As a whole, the team rushed for 2,907 yards and passed for 2,178 yards this season. That's 5,085 yards total offense.

Miller was the team’s leading rusher with 1,271 yards and obviously its leading passer with 2,039.

He accounted for 13 scores on the ground -- second to only Carlos Hyde – and threw for 15 more touchdowns.

That’s 65 percent of Ohio State’s total offense and 52 percent of the Buckeyes’ total offensive touchdowns (28 of 54).

What he’s also done is make Ohio State a destination for wide receivers. Jalin Marshall (Middletown, Ohio/Middletown) -- a quarterback in high school -- will switch to a slot receiver for the Buckeyes and the ESPN 150 wideout isn’t alone. Two-way threat Gareon Conley (Massillon, Ohio/Washington), who will likely be a cornerback, might see time on offense as well and is the No. 1 recruit in the Ohio this year, according to ESPN. Conley originally committed to Michigan.

Instances like those could play out even more and most of it is due to a new-look offense with Miller at the helm.