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The Case Against Braxton Miller Transferring to Alabama

Marc Torrence@marctorrenceAlabama Lead WriterApril 22, 2015

USA Today

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Not even a week after Alabama's quarterbacks threw six interceptions in the A-Day spring game, Crimson Tide fans are looking for any solution possible under center.

On Tuesday, ESPN personality Paul Finebaum sent the rumor mill into overdrive when he reported on his radio show that he spoke to a source who said there's "a chance" that Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller would transfer this summer from Columbus and join the Crimson Tide.

Later in the day, Nick Saban, speaking before his first Crimson Caravan stop of the offseason in Huntsville, didn't exactly do much to quell those rumors.

Saban couldn't speak directly to Miller but left the door wide-open to the possibility of adding a transfer.

"If there was somebody out there that I thought could help our team, we have a spot or two available that we could probably—but it would have to be the right person, in the right place that could make a contribution," Saban said. "Because that would be something that would have to be good for that person, and it would have to be good for us."

Still, at this point there is much more reason to believe Miller won't come to Alabama than that he will.

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One source with inside knowledge of the situation told Bleacher Report he would "bet [his] life savings" Miller stays in Columbus and that there is "no chance" Miller goes to Alabama.

"It's not happening," the source said. "Braxton is not leaving OSU."

Regardless of the media conjecture and contradictory off-the-record statements, there are more than a few tangible reasons Miller will not be going to Tuscaloosa.

Health

Braxton Miller in fall of 2014
Braxton Miller in fall of 2014Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

It's no sure thing that Miller will even be ready to go in time to make an impact, especially at a new school, by next season.

Miller hasn't been seen around the Ohio State facility throwing a ball more than 10 yards. Miller isn't on track to return to full throwing until June or July.

"I've been told rehab is going good," Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. "The only person I really trust in this—the medical guys have jobs to do—but the player knows."

To further muddy the waters of his recovery, Miller has declined to speak to the media all spring. It's nearly impossible to get an opinion on the progress from the one person who knows best: him.

It's not that Miller has been holed up in a hyperbaric chamber since his August injury. At Ohio State's spring game, in fact, Miller raced running back Ezekiel Elliott in a lighthearted moment that got him in front of his home fans again. But the key for a quarterback is, obviously, his arm, which doesn't appear to be close to full strength.

That's Step 1 for Miller and Alabama, before he can even worry about learning the playbook or showing that he would be the best quarterback at Alabama.

Too many QBs in Tuscaloosa 

Butch Dill/Associated Press

Even if Miller's shoulder returned to full strength and he ended up in Tuscaloosa, it wouldn't be a done deal that he would win the quarterback job.

Miller will want his starting job promised to him. He won't get that at Alabama.  

Right now, the Tide essentially have a two-horse race between redshirt senior Jake Coker and redshirt freshman David Cornwell.

Saban has lamented several times this spring about how hard it is to develop continuity on offense while having to rotate in so many players for reps. Adding a sixth candidate to the mix would only complicate things further.

And speaking of Coker, he showed that even if you are a hotshot transfer from a top program, you aren't exactly going to be handed the reins right away. Coker struggled to learn the offense in a short period of time, and the coaching staff didn't feel comfortable with him leading the unit full-time, so it turned to Blake Sims.

Miller would face an uphill struggle among Alabama's quarterback group if he ever got to Tuscaloosa. Transferring without a guarantee that he would be the starting quarterback would be a massive risk for him to take with just one year of eligibility left.

He Could Have Already Left OSU

The bottom line is that Miller could have been gone already if he wanted to transfer. 

Miller graduated from Ohio State in December, meaning he could have transferred at the time, getting a head start on learning a new system and adapting to his new teammates while finishing his rehab.

If there's one thing we learn watching college football, it's that things can change at any moment; that's certainly the case here.

But right now, there's no reason to believe Braxton Miller has any intention of transferring to Alabama and joining the Crimson Tide.

 

Marc Torrence is the Alabama lead writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes and reporting were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

Follow on Twitter @marctorrence.

Bleacher Report's Ben Axelrod contributed reporting from Columbus, Ohio.

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