If you watched more than a minute of Ohio State Buckeye football this past season then you know Braxton Miller is extremely talented. He raised eyebrows with his quickness, left tacklers in the dust with his elusiveness and showed enough potential in the passing game to leave fans eagerly awaiting next season.
Miller burst onto the scene in Week 3 against Colorado and met expectations from the very beginning. The freshman QB was an electric runner with effortless shiftiness and even possessed a decent arm in his first start. From then on, he continued to improve. Buckeye Nation was fortunate enough to watch him grow as a player and continue to put his talents on display throughout the rest of the season. This continuous improvement led to a stellar performance from Miller in the biggest game of the year against Michigan, and although his team didn't come out victorious, it was clear to see the young man out of Huber Heights, Ohio, had officially arrived as a superstar in this sport.
The blossoming star has a great skill set, especially as a rusher, that will only get better with more experience.
However, what if I said that Miller's greatest attribute will never show up on the stat sheet? What if I told you that compared to his greatest quality, his physical talents are nothing?
While great, Miller's quarterbacking abilities are not uncommon. There have been, are and will be quarterbacks with just as much as talent—possibly even more than the Buckeyes' current field general. What really makes Miller such a special player is his intangibles.
Very few athletes are blessed with the type of competitiveness, leadership and confidence that Miller possesses. The freshman QB immediately took control of a lackadaisical offense and moved it in the right direction as much as the poor play-calling would let him. He went about his business and didn't need the flashing lights or media attention to motivate him. His leadership was uncanny for such a young athlete at such a major program like Ohio State.
Even more impressive was Miller's competitiveness on such big stages. The freshman refused to backed down from any opponent and the moment was never too big for him to handle. Time and time again, the going would get tough for the Buckeyes, and time and time again Miller rose to the occasion and exceeded all expectations. This unmeasurable quality was on full display all last year.
Against highly rated Wisconsin on homecoming, Miller watched the sizable lead he had attained get completely erased and responded by throwing an unthinkable game-winning touchdown pass that will be remembered forever.
In a trap game against Purdue, where most freshmen would crumble, Miller played beyond his years in the fourth quarter and led what should have been a game-winning touchdown drive had the extra point not been blocked.
Even in easier wins like against Indiana, where the Buckeyes came out of the gate a little slow, Miller broke for an 80-yard touchdown run that ignited a blowout.
Not to mention, his greatest game of the year came against the Buckeyes' arch-rivals. "The Game" is where Buckeye players are ultimately judged and Miller didn't disappoint as he went toe-to-toe against Denard Robinson and didn't blink for a second.
The pattern to pick up on here is that Miller only gets better as the competition rises. Instead of taking a backseat in the tightest of situations, the Buckeye field general takes charge and makes the plays necessary to succeed.
Even with all these impressive qualities, the scariest thing about Miller is that he was only a freshman last year. He still has years to grow as an athlete, as well as a leader, and clearly has an excellent foundation to build on.
If you're playing the Buckeyes in the short years to come, hold your breath in the fourth quarter. Don't expect Miller to choke or cower away when the game's on the line, and bet against him at your own risk. He's headed in the right direction and the places he could lead this program are endless.
I think it's safe to say Ohio State's future is in good hands with Braxton Miller, especially when the going gets tough.