The duel-threat quarterback threw for 2,172 yards and 17 touchdowns and rushed for 921 yards and 17 scores, 2,172 passing yards, 17 passing TDs, 921 rushing yards, 17 rushing TDs in leading Wayne to the state title game. He has enrolled early at Ohio State.Read More Below
Wayne High's Braxton Miller committed to Ohio State last June with the expectation of one day becoming the Buckeyes' starting quarterback. He just didn't expect that day would come this fall.
Times have changed, and following Terrelle Pryor's five-game suspension for selling memorabilia, so has Miller's career trajectory. His development has been expedited, and many analysts have dubbed him the likely starter in Pryor's absence. He could be asked to lead the Buckeyes in their season opener against Akron on Sept. 3 as a true freshman.
"I'm not worried about it," he said Saturday. "As I was going to, I'll just work hard and let the chips fall."
Miller is an ultra athletic, dual-threat quarterback who runs a 4.47 40. He has pocket presence -- throwing a mix of check-downs and deep routes -- and the awareness to know when to tuck it and run. The local press likened him to former Heisman winner Troy Smith. Understandably, his hype is enormous.
His statistics further fuel that buzz. He tormented defenses for 2,172 passing yards, 921 rushing yards and 34 total touchdowns this season and was named Ohio's Offensive Player of the Year. His outstanding performance keyed the Warriors' 11-4 season and Division I state title berth. In Columbus' BCS-or-bust culture, he'll be expected to emulate that success immediately.
Of course, his success makes it easy to forget that he finished high school less than a month ago. Miller started college classes on Jan. 3, and amid rumors that he's Pryor's heir apparent, is still figuring out life on campus.
"It's a big adjustment from high school to college," he said .
He'll face an equally difficult transition once football practice begins in the spring. The college game is faster and more complex than anything he's experienced, and the six-time defending Big Ten champs face early road tests at Miami and Nebraska. Both schools ranked in the top 21 defensively in 2010.
Miller got a taste for that level of competition in last Wednesday's Under Armour All-American Game. Though his team lost a dramatic 24-22 contest, he played against a secondary that included recruits from Texas, Florida and Alabama. It was the best preparation he's had to date, a glimpse of things to come.
He got another glimpse watching Ohio State's Sugar Bowl showdown with Arkansas. The Buckeyes won 31-26 in a game that featured everything from costly turnovers to fourth-quarter heroics. It also gave Miller something to shoot for: Pryor accounted for 336 yards and two touchdowns in the win.
"They played their hearts out," he said. "They set the tone for next year."