Thinking Out Loud: Five Reasons Braxton Miller Will Stay at Ohio State

By Eric Seger on May 11, 2015 at 8:35 am

Before we get too far into this, it seems prudent to make something clear.

Braxton Miller very well could leave Ohio State before the Buckeyes take the field for the 2015 football season Sept. 7 in Blacksburg, Va., against Virginia Tech. He has every right to leave Ohio State before that date — whether it be so he's the unquestioned choice at quarterback for another school or something else entirely.

It is his choice and his right as a living, breathing American citizen to do what's in the best interest for him and him alone.

Now that that's out of the way, Miller's got a huge decision coming down the pipe at him this summer.

Ohio State held its Spring Commencement ceremony Sunday and though Miller wasn't there (he already earned a degree in December), he enrolled for classes this semester. He participated in spring drills as much as his surgically repaired right shoulder would allow him and narrowly lost the fastest student competition to teammate Ezekiel Elliott at the Spring Game April 18.

All signs point to him remaining a member of the Scarlet and Gray, but the rumors that he's considering other options continue to swirl even though his father, Kevin, said in December his desire is to remain a Buckeye.

The talk is fair — Miller's got a lot on his plate if he returns to full strength. Not only does he have to beat out J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones, but Miller hasn't played a competitive snap since January 2014. That's more than 16 months. That's a long, long time.

But its more complicated than that — with Miller, that's always the case.

With that in mind, though, here are five reasons the two-time Big Ten Player of the Year will remain at Ohio State for his fifth and final year of collegiate eligibility — even if he doesn't play quarterback.

1. If Miller was going to leave, why wouldn't he have done so already?

As already stated, Miller's earned a degree from Ohio State. He's been with the program since early 2011, enrolling before the end of his senior year of high school for Jim Tressel. Simply put, he's put in his time.

If Miller really had it in his head to leave the Buckeyes in search of another school, a new coach, new teammates and potentially a new offensive system, it makes sense he would have bounced after attending commencement in December. He's still here.

"I am on course to graduate in December and I want to attend graduate school, and then return to lead the Buckeyes next season," Miller said in a prepared statement from the school in August.

2. He isn't healthy.

In the briefly allotted time the media got to watch practice this spring, Miller was seen stretching and at most lightly tossing in the corner with a trainer. He had surgery to repair the torn labrum in his throwing shoulder Aug. 26, a week after hurting himself in a non-contact drill while making a routine throw.

A second such injury typically requires a nine- to 12-month recovery period, and as it sits right now, Miller's currently in month eight. He's on a strict rehabilitation schedule, even visiting his doctor in Alabama. Why would he leave Ohio State to play elsewhere when we aren't even sure if he'll ever throw a football again?

3. His head coach adores him.

Urban Meyer's never been shy about sharing his feelings for the guy who helped Ohio State win 24 consecutive games while taking home a pair of Silver Footballs.

“The relationship part of me is that I love Braxton Miller. I always have," Meyer said March 10. "He’s always done what I’ve asked him to do. He’s a selfless guy that works really hard."

I always have. Meyer could hardly stand still when a reporter asked a question about Miller in his introductory news conference way back in November 2011.

There's a pretty significant contingent of Ohio State fans who believe that if Miller's healthy enough and shows he can make all the throws required to run Meyer's offense this fall, he'll earn the nod as starting quarterback over Barrett and Jones. Meyer loves him that much — and frankly, it's hard to disagree.

4. He's a homebody.

Miller was born in Springfield and went to high school in Huber Heights, Ohio, about an hour west of Columbus. He was a finalist for the annual Mr. Football award, earned first-team all-state honors and led Wayne to the state title game in 2010.

He's been in Ohio his whole life. His family's been in Ohio his whole life. He's thrived in Ohio his whole life. It's all he knows. Why would he want to jeopardize that?

Already a father, Miller's been faced with the task of raising a son since 2012. Picking up and moving an already young family one season before potentially playing elsewhere professionally seems silly.

5. Ohio State is the best place for him.

This could be taken broadly, but the intention is to get this point across: Miller's feet and agility are what make him an exceptional talent in the college game. He needs a spread offense that allows him to create, an offense that he knows and a head coach and offensive coordinators around him who are willing to live with his shifty, exciting and at times risky style.

Right now, there aren't too many of those who exist.

One is of course Meyer, the other is Tom Herman, who left Ohio State to take the head coaching position at the University of Houston after Ohio State won the national championship in January.

Sure, Jimbo Fisher at Florida State or Nick Saban at Alabama would welcome a player with his talents with open arms — who wouldn't? — and shift their offensive philosophies so that they fall in line with what Miller can do with a ball in his hands.

But would they really want to take that task head on this summer and into fall? Not likely.

Bottom Line

You don't know what Miller's going to do this fall. We don't know what Miller's going to do this fall. Only he, his family and perhaps Meyer does. And that's OK.

So far, all signs point to him staying at Ohio State, assuring his shoulder is healthy and competing for the starting job for 2015. If he loses it, he'll support his teammates in any way possible. At least that's what he claims to be the case at the moment.

That could change, but it's not likely.

We all just have to wait and see.

View 99 Comments