Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller led a broken Buckeyes squad to a 6-7 record last year. This year, he will be surrounded by much more stability, and will be a Heisman Trophy finalist as a result.
The Buckeyes endured a turbulent 2011, starting with the resignation of longtime head coach Jim Tressel, and ending with the school's first loss to Michigan since 2003. Luke Fickell filled in as interim head coach and had to deal with the suspension of several key players, including running back Dan Herron and wide receiver DeVier Posey.
On top of that, he was left with a freshman quarterback to lead his team through the current crisis. Fortunately, that quarterback was Braxton Miller.
Miller led the Buckeyes in passing and rushing last year, and made quite an impact in his first year at the Horseshoe. He threw 13 touchdowns against only four interceptions and rushed for another seven touchdowns. He was also named to the Big Ten Network's Freshman All-Big Ten Team.
With Urban Meyer coming to town, Miller will only improve. He fits into Meyer's spread offense perfectly, and will primed to put up huge stats while being guided by one of the best coaching staffs in the nation. Then, he will do what Terrelle Pryor could never do—become a Heisman Finalist.
Meyer's track record with quarterbacks has been pretty good, to say the least. Tim Tebow went to New York three times and became the first sophomore to win the Heisman when he did it in 2007. Alex Smith was a finalist in 2004, when Meyer was with Utah.
Even Chris Leake, who helped Meyer win his first National Championship in 2006, was considered a Heisman candidate at one point. Leake would eventually have to settle for a Draddy Trophy nomination (the Draddy Trophy is essentially the Academic Heisman).
The marriage of Miller and Meyer is great for all parties. Meyer gets a quarterback that will fit his system and help him win early, while Miller gets a coach that can give him the best possible opportunity to succeed.
Ohio State may not be allowed to participate in a bowl game next year, but it may still have something to look forward to in the postseason. Miller will use his athleticism and dual-threat ability to leave his 2011 numbers in the dust and excel in Meyer's system.
That will land him in New York with guys like Landry Jones, Matt Barkley and Aaron Murray with a chance to win Ohio State's first Heisman since 2006.
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