Braxton Miller: Where Does Ohio State QB Rank Among Heisman Trophy Candidates?

David RegimbalFeatured ColumnistSeptember 20, 2012

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 15:  Quarterback Braxton Miller #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes takes off down the sidelines for a 55-yard touchdown in the first quarter against California at Ohio Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Fueled by the inventive play-calling of Urban Meyer and his spread offense, Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller is off to a hot start this season.

Through three games, Miller has piled up 988 yards of total offense and 12 touchdowns (seven passing, five rushing) while leading the Buckeyes to a 3-0 record. A closer look at the numbers reveals that he's on par with the production of other Heisman-winning quarterbacks in recent years.

Miller currently ranks 12th in the country in total offense per game, and only four players in college football have rushed for more yards than him through three games.

With his fantastic start to the season, the question isn't whether or not Miller is a legitimate Heisman candidate, but rather, how close is he to being the favorite?

This early in the race, Miller is matching the other top candidates step-for-step. The Heisman conversation will remain fluid throughout the college football season, but through three weeks, where does Miller rank among some of the country's best players?

Before we can answer that, let's take a look at the other top candidates.


Geno Smith, West Virginia quarterback

Smith ended the 2011 season by piling up 432 yards of offense and seven touchdowns in a 70-33 blowout of Clemson in the Orange Bowl, and the senior quarterback has been just as unstoppable in two games this year.

Against Marshall in the season opener, Smith threw for 323 yards and ran for 65 more to get in the end zone four times in a 69-34 victory. After a bye week, Smith came back and threw for 411 yards and five touchdowns against James Madison.

A bizarre stat—he has just as many touchdowns (nine) through two games as he does incompletions.


De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon running back

There's arguably no player in the country more electrifying than De'Anthony Thomas.

The true sophomore running back is a threat to break a play wide open every time he touches the ball. In fact, Thomas has scored a touchdown on 29 percent of his touches this year and is averaging a monstrous 15.9 yards per play on his rushing attempts and receptions. 


Johnathan Franklin, UCLA running back

No one in the country has been more productive for his team than Johnathan Franklin. The UCLA running back leads the country in rushing yards (541) and all-purpose yards (667).

Franklin also has a dominant performance against a quality opponent on his resume, something the other candidates don't have yet. Two weeks ago, Franklin rushed for 217 yards and caught three passes for 59 yards and a touchdown in a 36-30 victory over No. 16 Nebraska.


Matt Barkley, USC quarterback

The USC quarterback came into the season on top of everyone's Heisman list, but Barkley's campaign took a huge hit after he struggled in a 21-14 loss to Stanford.

Through three games, Barkley has thrown for 813 yards with 10 touchdowns and three interceptions. Those 10 touchdowns came against USC's first two opponents (Hawaii and Syracuse) as Stanford stifled his production. 

Still, there isn't a better pocket passer in the country than Barkley, and with the talent USC has at receiver, he should put up huge numbers against the rest of the Pac-12.


Where does Braxton Miller Rank?

Right now, you'd have to put Smith and Thomas ahead of Miller. 

  1. Geno Smith
  2. De'Anthony Thomas
  3. Braxton Miller
  4. Johnathan Franklin
  5. Matt Barkley

Do you agree? Is there a candidate we didn't list that you think deserves mentioned? Would you put Braxton higher or lower on your list? 

Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

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