Braxton Miller: Why OSU QB Is a Top Heisman Contender

Jeremy FuchsCorrespondent IIISeptember 15, 2012

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 8:  Braxton Miller #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes is tackled by Kemal Ishmael #18 of the Central Florida Knights on September 8, 2012 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

Braxton Miller is at the helm of the 12th-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes, and the sophomore quarterback is a big reason why the team is 3-0. 

In fact, he's such a big reason, it isn't inconceivable to think of him as a Heisman Trophy finalist.

Why? It's simple.

For one, Miller is having a terrific season. Through three games, he is 48-of-78 for 511 yards. He has thrown for seven touchdowns and only two interceptions.

Additionally, the Ohio State offense is running smoothly with him at the controls. The Buckeyes are 14th in the nation in scoring, averaging 43.5 points per game.

Miller has shown tremendous improvement from last season. His completion percentage last season was 54.1. This season, it's 62.2. His quarterback rating last year was 138.4. This year, it's 146.5.

Miller is not just effective throwing. He's a pretty impressive runner, too. So far this season, he has 377 rushing yards on 56 attempts, an average of 6.7 yards per carry. He has five touchdowns and a long run of 65 yards.

Again, this is another area where Miller has shown great improvement. Last season, he averaged 4.5 yards per carry.

Miller is just an incredible athlete, as evidenced by the run in the video below. He jukes not one, not two, but three Cal defenders, as he shows his breakaway speed on the 55-yard touchdown run. He does not run like a 6'2", 210-pound man should.

On that play, he looked more like a wide receiver than a quarterback.

Miller has proven himself to be a top dual-threat QB, one of the better ones in the nation. Yet, he has something that other dual-threat guys don't have: Urban Meyer.

His coach excels at developing dual-threat quarterbacks. Think Chris Leak and, of course, the one and only Tim Tebow. After only three games with Meyer, Miller has put up big numbers. Expect him to put up even bigger numbers as the season progresses and he gets more experience with the offense and becomes more comfortable with Meyer. 

If Miller keeps this up, and there's no reason to think that he won't, he will be among the select few to become a Heisman finalist. He even has a chance to become one of the few sophomores to win the trophy. He faces stiff competition, but his early performance shows that he can do it. 

Miller may not have been on the early watch list of Heisman contenders, but let's be honest: His performance so far has to put him in the discussion. Miller has rushed for more yards than Michigan's Denard Robinson. He's only three touchdowns behind Matt Barkley and is a more important part of his offense.

There's still plenty of time left in the season, but all indications point to Miller going to New York for the Heisman ceremony.