College Football 2012 Top 150 Players: No. 123 Braxton Miller, Ohio State QB
Every day here at Your Best 11, we are counting down to the start of the regular season with our top 150 players for the 2012 season.
No. 123: Braxton Miller, No. 5, Ohio State, Quarterback
The growth that Miller showed from his first start against Colorado to the final game of the season was immense.
Against Colorado, he was lost, confused and running for his life. Against Florida, even in a loss, he was composed, together and making good decisions with the football.
Along the way, we saw him be wildly inept—like going 1-of-4 against Illinois—and darn near wizardly, a pair of overthrows from beating Michigan.
This year, with Urban Meyer at the helm, Miller should grow into one of the nation's better players at the quarterback position.
Raw athleticism. Miller is one of the best athletes in the country, and we knew that when he committed to Ohio State.
He showed flashes of true brilliance against Nebraska, Wisconsin and Michigan in Big Ten play. He's a special talent that can run away from defenders, shake off would-be tacklers and has the arm strength to be an effective quarterback.
Until his injury against Nebraska, the Buckeyes were well on their way to defeating the Cornhuskers.
Something that people do not always mention about Miller that must certainly be noted is his leadership ability.
These Buckeyes players, old and young, offense and defense, respond to his quiet leadership. He is not a yelling, screaming, rah, rah, rah guy, but he brings a confidence that his teammates fed off of.
With Miller in the game in 2011, Ohio State was a completely different team from a mental standpoint than when Joe Bauserman was under center.
Ordinarily, when a quarterback has decision-making as a weakness, it means he is throwing a lot of interceptions. That is not the case with Miller, who threw just four picks in his first year.
Miller's decision-making issues revolve around his inability to stick to the plan and throw the ball downfield. It is a bit of a trust issue—in himself, in his weapons and in his own coaches' faith in his abilities.
Miller was apt to tuck the ball and run to get what he could get on the ground instead of making the decision to throw the ball after his first or second read was not open out of the gate.
In 2012, he has to make those decisions to throw the ball in order to keep defenses honest and maximize the production for this new offense.
Two great things happened for Miller in 2011: He got extensive playing experience that acclimated him to the game, and Gene Smith hired Urban Meyer.
Instead of having to wait until year two to get up to the speed of the college level, Miller is already well versed in how fast defenses come at him and how to handle pressure.
Now, with Urban Meyer and Tom Herman calling the shots, Miller can focus on meshing his skills with the new scheme.
On the field, expect Miller's talents to be put to use.
He has Jake Stoneburner, one of the nation's best tight ends, at his disposal, as well as Devin Smith, a dynamic player at the wide receiver position. The Buckeyes also have a stable of capable running backs, all working in a scheme that will give them plenty of opportunities.
After a season in which he only threw for 1,159 yards, look for Miller to—at worst—double that number while remaining effective on the ground.
Meyer has faith in his rising sophomore, and Miller should be one of the top four or five quarterbacks in the Big Ten this season.
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