Braxton Miller’s Buckeye Legacy

The time has come for Braxton Miller. After 5 years of breaking records and winning games, Braxton will play his last game in Ohio Stadium this Saturday against Michigan State.

For true, long-time Ohio State fans you will never forget what Braxton Miller has done for this team. Younger fans, on the other hand, may have forgotten. After leading this team to a 24-2 record under Urban Meyer, Braxton tore his labrum and was sidelined for a full season. Braxton’s replacement, J.T. Barrett, came in breaking B1G records and finishing 5th in the Heisman race. Then, J.T. was sidelined for the rest of the season with a broken ankle, so Cardale Jones came in leading this team to a national championship. It was the J.T. and Cardale show.

Because of that, many forget just how spectacular Braxton was in the scarlet and gray. “(There’s) immense feelings we all have for him because how average we were, especially on offense, that first year,” Urban Meyer said. “If you don’t have that kid, you start you’re coaching career here at Ohio State .500, 8-5, or (8-4), whatever it is.” That should say a lot to his ability, because Urban admits the plays were like “Braxton right, Braxton right, and to change it up Braxton left.”


Like I wrote about this summer, Braxton has had a long road to get to this point. It started in 2011 when Braxton was prematurely thrown into the fire of being the starting QB. You can’t really blame the then Interim Head Coach, Luke Fickell, because he really had no other option. Terrelle Pryor was there throughout spring camp, but went into the Supplemental Draft due to the punishments he was facing. People within the program will tell you that Braxton was not ready to be starter. He didn’t have that “monster” in front of him to teach him how to study, play, or even act. He ended that season with 20 total TDs, and mostly led that bad team to a 6-7 record, but ultimately it hurt his progression as a true QB.

Next year Urban and his staff, including new QB coach, Tom Herman came to town. It was tough for Braxton to build that trust with Tom Herman initially. He hardly knew him. Braxton was used to Jim Tressel, Luke Fickell, Jim Bollman, and Nick Siciliano, not Tom Herman. As time and familiarity went on, Braxton proved the high-expectations to be correct. Still, he was young, and he didn’t do the “extra stuff” to put him over the top. He cared, but he used his ability to make up for many lackings. Still, he finished the season 12-0 and had 27 total TDs.

2013, his second year in the system, expectations were sky high. Expectations were Heisman and a Championship. Coming out of the gates, he looked like more of a pure QB, especially since he had visited QB “guru,” George Whitfield. He missed several games with a sprained MCL, but when he came back, he looked like the athletic freak we knew. Crazy, long running plays, and now the element of accuracy along with his cannon of an arm. Everybody remembers the electric runs, but he was an ace with deep balls. He threw some of the hardest throws I’ve ever seen. In games against Penn State, Wisconsin, and TTUN to name a few, he had throws that were certainly NFL caliber. He ended that year with 36 total TDs, over 3,000 total yards again, but the end of the season is what people remember. Two straight losses to Michigan State and Clemson, respectively, and the devastation of the torn labrum against Clemson.


Now, in 2015, Braxton is a totally different player. He might not put up the same numbers as he did in previous years at QB, but that’s impossible to do once you move to WR. He’s gone from a guy that cares, but didn’t go the whole distance, and now he’s a “film junky,” and has worked ridiculously hard to try to perfect the WR craft in an incredibly short period of time. According to a person within the program, on Monday’s the QBs (more specifically Cardale and J.T.) are in watching film by their own. He said that yesterday, he walked by and saw Braxton, Cardale, and J.T. in the film room eating wings and watching tape on Michigan State.

Braxton has fully embraced his new position at WR. For many, they simply wouldn’t be able to make the move from QB to WR for many reasons. In 3 months (plus some more unofficial), Braxton is a starting WR for the Ohio State Buckeyes, and is a trusted player to do whatever is needed. This start wasn’t just given to him. It was earned. Although Urban Meyer does love Braxton Miller, he will not just give away a position for someone who doesn’t deserve it.

With an Ohio State record 88 TDs, and many other stats that would have been broken had he been able to stay at QB, Braxton obviously, and rightfully, earned national attention. With that, you have to wonder where this team would be without him. Would they really have gone 8-4 that first season? Would the 2013 and 2014 recruiting classes have been that great without the success he partially caused, and the fame that people wanted to play with? Would Ohio State have gotten it’s 8th national championship last year? It’s hard to say for sure on any of them, but I do know he’s been a difference maker. If the first question proved to be true, then Ohio State certainly would not be where it is now. If the second question’s answer was no, then Ohio State would not have had the skill to win the National Championship. Braxton has truly been a, if not the, main factor in all this success.

48-3 is no joke. Even though Braxton wasn’t directly involved in 14 (actually 16 if you count injuries) of the wins, he was an indirect influence in those, and started in the others. Then, moving to WR was as selfless of a move as you could make. He could have transferred and tried to live his dream of continuing to play QB, or stay and help his team in whatever way possible. Obviously he chose to stay.

We haven’t exactly seen the Braxton Miller we’ve been used to, but as is the life of a WR instead of a QB. You don’t touch the ball every play, and you don’t decide when you will get a touch. The QB controls that. When he does get his chances, though, he makes a play; like the famous spin move against VA Tech, or the jumping mid-field catch against Maryland, or the incredible juggling catch against Rutgers. “It just felt good to be involved in the offense,” Miller said, “and making plays for the guys and being electrifying for the fans and getting back to my old self.”


As Braxton wraps up his Ohio State career, you can only be thankful for everything he’s done. He’s made plays upon plays for the team since 2011. He made it through the rough times under Fickell, and help lead the team back to the top of the nation. Enjoy these last couple of games, because Braxton will be gone soon. People like him don’t come around very often. He’s a very special player that will do anything for the team. It’s going to be a tough one to see Braxton suit up one last time in the Shoe, but knowing Braxton, he’ll have something special for us.

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