On Thursday night, Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune reported that Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller was named the winner of the Chicago Tribune Silver Football, which is awarded annually to the Big Ten's best player.
According to Marcus Hartman of Fox Sports Ohio, the junior signal-caller, who has won 22 of 23 games as a starter for the Buckeyes over the last two years, is still considering an early jump to the NFL.
Braxton Miller wins Silver Football, says NFL draft decision yet to be made http://t.co/6Hk5FfJSiD— Marcus Hartman (@marcushartman) December 12, 2013
Miller has had a sensational junior season despite missing most of three games after suffering an MCL sprain early in the year. He completed 63.2 percent of his passes for 1,860 yards and 22 touchdowns (five interceptions) to complement 1,033 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground.
Greenstein's article notes that Miller received the award as an affirmation of his hard work and drive to keep getting better.
“That is just crazy,” Miller said. “I look at that as a prime example of why I need to keep doing my thing.”
Miller, who won the Silver Football as a sophomore, became just the fourth player in history to win the award in back-to-back years, joining Minnesota's Paul Giel (1952-53), Ohio State's Archie Griffin (1973-74) and Indiana’s Anthony Thompson (1988-89).
Whether he decides to make a run at a third is yet to be seen.
Miller told Greenstein that he still has a lot to consider.
"It’s tough," Miller said. "I’ve really got to sit down and go through the pros and cons. I’ll talk to my parents, take it slow. Hopefully ball out on January 3rd and see what the scouts are looking at."
If Miller does decide to go pro, the Orange Bowl matchup against Clemson will be his last chance to show those scouts what he can do during live action. He'll be looking to bounce back after a rough finish to the season.
Following his worst performance of the year in a three-turnover game against Northwestern, Miller went on to have the most efficient three-week stretch of his career. Against Penn State, Iowa and Purdue, he completed 79.7 percent of his passes for 707 yards and nine touchdowns (against just one interception) to go along with 177 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
In his last four games, though, Miller has completed just 46.2 percent of his passes for 544 yards and seven touchdowns (two interceptions). Granted, he also ran for an unbelievable 623 yards and eight touchdowns during that same stretch, but his passing numbers dipped tremendously.
A former NFL scout told Greenstein that Miller's erratic accuracy could hurt his draft status.
Braxton is an immense talent. His arm (strength) is ridiculous and he can make every throw, but his accuracy is all over place and needs a ton of work on his footwork. He’d probably be a third- or fourth-rounder; I’d be shocked if he went higher than that. He is still so raw.
Miller could certainly benefit from another year in school, but that raises a big set of risks. With how much Ohio State relies on the quarterback to keep the running game going, Miller takes a ton of hits, which increases his chance of injury.
Tom Herman, Ohio State's offensive coordinator, told Greenstein that Miller could drastically improve his draft stock.
“If he can make the same improvement as he did from last year to this, then the sky is the limit," Herman said. "We’re talking about the first or second round. He has all the physical tools.”
In the meantime, Miller will continue to weigh the pros and cons.
All stats via NCAA.com.
David Regimbal is the Ohio State Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report.
Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.