Ohio State Football: Can Braxton Miller Live Up to Sports Illustrated Hype?

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Ohio State Football: Can Braxton Miller Live Up to Sports Illustrated Hype?
Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Spring football still hasn't started yet, but Sports Illustrated proved that it's not too early to crank up the hype machine by revealing a cover featuring Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller set to go out on newsstands March 4.

Miller was one of the game's biggest breakout stars in 2012 along with Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. His growth helped the Buckeyes go undefeated in 2012 despite not being able to play in a bowl game.

The question that remains now is if Miller can live up to the hype of being on the Sports Illustrated cover.

He has big expectations to live up to after finishing fifth in the Heisman voting this past season. Whether finished that low just because of his late-season struggles or if OSU's postseason ban had anything to do with it may never be known.

What we do know is that Miller is the type of player that Ohio State will rely on to try to win the school's first national championship since the 2002 season.

2013 will be the first time in a few years that the Buckeyes are relevant in the national championship picture, and Miller is the reason why.

He's spent the early portion of the offseason working with famed quarterback coach George Whitfield to try to improve his throwing mechanics.

Despite his record-breaking season running the football, Miller was inconsistent in the passing game, especially in the second half of the season in games against Purdue and Wisconsin.

If he can make a leap in productivity anywhere near the one he made from his freshman year to last season in 2013, he may cement himself as one of the best players in the country. And under Urban Meyer, that growth is certainly possible.

Miller is as dynamic an open-field runner as there is in the game, almost like a human joystick at times with the way he is able to elude defenders in one-on-one situations. He still has to work on taking less hits, but that will come with his continued development.

The runs he made last season were spectacular plays worthy of generating a great deal of buzz.

That buzz has put Miller among the biggest names in college football and thus made him a Sports Illustrated cover man.

 

Follow me on Twitter @bielik_tim for the latest college football news and updates.

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