Ohio State Football: Has Braxton Miller Reached His Ceiling?

David Regimbal@davidreg412Featured ColumnistFebruary 7, 2014

COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 26:  Quarterback Braxton Miller #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes calls a play against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Ohio Stadium on October 26, 2013 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Just four games into his freshman year, Braxton Miller had already captured the starting quarterback position and become the face of Ohio State football.

In his first three seasons, Miller guided the Buckeyes to a historic winning streak, broke numerous school records and captured back-to-back Silver Trophies, an award given to the Big Ten's MVP.

But in 2014, Ohio State will need Miller to elevate his game to mask the loss of four starting offensive linemen, leading rusher Carlos Hyde and leading receiver Corey Brown.

Is that even possible, or has Miller reached his ceiling?

Of course, posing that question isn't a knock on Miller's abilitiesit's more of a compliment. The Buckeyes' signal-caller piled up more than 3,000 total yards in two consecutive seasons, and in 2013, he paced the most prolific offense in Ohio State history.

Braxton Miller's Season Stats
Passing YardsCompletion PercentageRushing YardsTotal TDs
2011115954.1 %71520
2012203958.3 %1,27128
2013209463.5 %1,06836

Miller was so good during his junior season that he pondered an early jump to the NFL, telling Zack Meisel of The Plain Dealer that he was "definitely" ready for the next level.

"Just like I came from high school, coaches are going to get you mentally prepared, get you ready for it," Miller said. "It's just another step in life."

After much deliberation, Miller decided he wasn't ready for that next step. And despite his otherworldly talent and incredible accomplishments, there are still a number of areas where he could improve.

For starters, Miller needs to work on his consistency.

Braxton Miller thrived during a three-game stretch in 2013.
Braxton Miller thrived during a three-game stretch in 2013.Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

After bouncing back from an early season knee injury, Miller went on a three-game tear against Penn State, Iowa and Purdue, completing 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.

During that span, he only had four more incompletions than total touchdowns.

Miller's numbers dropped dramatically down the stretch, though. In the four games leading up to the Orange Bowl, he completed just 46.2 percent of his passes for 544 yards and seven touchdowns against two interceptions.

Finding consistency is the key for Miller to reach his ceiling. 

One scout told Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune that Miller struggles with fundamentals: "Braxton is an immense talent. His arm (strength) is ridiculous and he can make every throw, but his accuracy is all over the place and (he) needs a ton of work on his footwork."

One person who could help Miller with that is quarterback guru George Whitfield Jr. Miller worked with Whitfield before his junior season, something that paid off in 2013 when he completed a career-high 63.5 percent of his passes.

If he works as hard this offseason as he did last year, there's a good chance Ohio State will see Miller at his best in 2014. According to Doug Lesmerises of The Plain Dealer, that's exactly what Miller plans to do.

"I want to improve as a quarterback in all aspects of my game," Miller said. "I’m looking forward to working for another year with Coach Meyer and Coach Herman."

All stats via NCAA.com

David Regimbal is the Ohio State Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. 
Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.


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