Quiet and Ferocious: Trying to Decipher Braxton Miller, the Person

By Eric Seger on December 30, 2015 at 6:15 pm
Who is Braxton Miller?

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Who is Braxton Miller? No, not that Braxton Miller. The Braxton Miller outside of the scarlet and gray clad hero with an Block O tattoo you see on Saturday afternoons.

No, seriously, who is Braxton Miller?

"He's a pretty hilarious guy if you get to know him and get comfortable with him," All-American Buckeye defensive end Joey Bosa said Wednesday. "He lays low, he's not out doing stuff all the time.

"He just hangs out with his boys and chills."

A quick refresh of Miller's Instagram profile suggests that point almost exclusively, as long as you look past the photos that depict a touch of self obsession. Miller is hardly shy about showing off his body, which he's conditioned to look like that of a Greek God, chiseled out of marble and littered with tattoos.

"You can look on there and see how I'm being silly and doing off the wall stuff," Miller said Wednesday.

Sure, Miller's most recent post depicts an early goof session among Miller and teammates Jeff Greene, Dontre Wilson and Curtis Samuel. To Miller, that's how he is all the time.


Early sauce morning before meetings @Jgreene_89 @curtis_samuel4 @runliketre lol ..

A video posted by Braxton Miller (@braxtonmiller92) on

"I do the normal stuff everybody else does," Miller said. "My personality is different, though.

"I'm under the radar, I'm under the scene. But I enjoy my time going out on the weekends with my friends. We have a lot moments, funny moments, good times."

You know the Braxton Miller that tore through defenses as a 19-year-old freshman at Ohio State, thrust into the spotlight as a program savior after the messy exits of the quarterback meant to be predecessor, Terrelle Pryor, and the man he accepted a scholarship from, Jim Tressel.

"Freshman year was kind of, shoot. I had no clue," Miller said. "My main goal was to redshirt and learn behind Terrelle but things went south and I had to step in. Was a learning year for me, but I still had fun doing it."

Miller went on to win a pair of Silver Footballs under Urban Meyer as a quarterback, setting numerous program records along the way.

All along, though, he's been shy or negligent to media sessions. He'd rather build his body back and remain in the shadows than provide an update on the healthy of an ailing shoulder.

Some of his teammates, like Cardale Jones or Tyvis Powell, thrive in front of a camera. They enjoy it. They embody it.

But this is Braxton Miller: Blessed with ludicrous athleticism many would die for, who just wanted to keep it easy and enjoy his life, his way. Not in front of a camera, unless it is his own, or one of his closest friends, outside the spotlight of the media attention that inevitably increases website hits and video replays.

"Doing media like this, I just be chillin', answering questions," Miller said. "Out of this, you get the real Braxton Miller."

He told reporters they should shadow him during one of his normal days back in Columbus, where he could do anything from play Madden with his friends, or Call Of Duty online with people he doesn't know.

There's also his son, Landon, who Miller happily fills his Instagram with photos and videos of him as the main subject. The former quarterback turned wide receiver and H-back says his best days are when he can cook him breakfast on the weekends.

"That's my little dude, and that's our time," he said.

This is Braxton Miller, who lifted a proud program from the depths of uncertainty first to a 6-7 season as a freshman and then later a winner under Urban Meyer.

This is Braxton Miller, the electric athlete who his best friends describe as a terror on the field — "he flips a switch," Chase Farris says — and becomes the menace fans saw Labor Day Night in Blacksburg.

This is Braxton Miller, college degree recipient and proud father. A future in football is on deck, but a career spawned from a business plan to help children better themselves and their life regardless what hand they've been dealt lies on the back burner.

"What I went through, it can help a lot I feel," Miller said.

This is Braxton Miller, who through two shoulder surgeries and losses to Florida in the 2012 Gator Bowl, Michigan State in the 2013 Big Ten Championship Game and Clemson in the 2014 Orange Bowl outline a storied career that includes exactly zero postseason victories of which he's physically participated.

"That is kind of weird, isn't it?" Miller said. "That's the main goal, come out here, remain focused and the main topic is beating Notre Dame."

Miller, the wide reciever

This is Braxton Miller, the quiet and loose mid-20s American male, who likes hitting the Columbus nightlife when it feels right, but not always. Usually, an evening of easiness at a teammate's or friend's apartment with video games or soft music suffices.

"We really just chill, for the most part. During the week we're either doing schoolwork or football stuff," Farris said. "Maybe we'll hang out somewhere on the weekends but for the most part just chill at the house."

This is Braxton Miller, from Springfield, Ohio, the hottest Ohio high school quarterback in recent memory who politely gave time to those coaches who desperately wanted his services at their institutions – even though once Tressel called, it was over.

"No, he was just being nice to me," said current Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, who recruited Miller when he was the head coach at Cincinnati. "I was (in Springfield) all the time. He was really, really, really a great kid. He had an interest in Cincinnati because of the offense that we ran, but when Ohio State offered him I stopped driving up there."

And this is Braxton Miller, who said at Fiesta Bowl Media Day he intends to throw at Ohio State's Pro Day this winter even though he couldn't trust his shoulder earlier in 2015.

The heads of media contingents and fans began to spin once Miller elected to switch positions for his final year of collegiate eligibility, wondering what he and Meyer would cook up within the offense to terrorize opponents and shower points upon them as if they were lead raindrops.

It hardly happened in 2015, as he at times felt forced into the offense by Meyer to ensure the man who kept the program afloat prior to the coach's arrival got plenty of chances to show his potential as an NFL wide receiver.

"I'm not ashamed to say we owe Braxton Miller," Meyer said this season.

Miller's dream once he walked on campus in January 2011? One he thinks anyone has at Ohio State.

"You always want to leave a legacy," he said. "I want to be a legend just like everybody else that comes through here."

This is Braxton Miller, the quiet legend and easygoing personality that his friends claim can help him carry a conversation with anyone – as long as it is outside the media spectrum. He'll be remembered for the touchdowns, highlight reel moments and lengthy career that was nearly derailed by a pair of harsh shoulder injuries.

"I made a great impact at Ohio State, from freshman year to fifth year as a senior," Miller said. "Overcoming the circumstances that I came over, it's unheard of I feel like. All the things I accomplished as a quarterback, I feel very proud of."

His numbers and the clips of him embarrassing defenders paint their own picture that many choose to remember upon his final collegiate outing Friday. He might not get to touch the ball against Notre Dame, he could score three touchdowns. Either is possible.

"The opportunities I get, I'm going to make sure I take advantage of them," Miller said.

This is Braxton Miller, late to media sessions and early to bolt from them because he sees them as awkward and feigned. But whatever he chooses to do in the next stage of his life, whether it be on national television Sunday afternoons or in the business world, we'll watch.

After all, this is Braxton Miller.

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