Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Big Ten rankings: No. 19, Braxton Miller
By Brian Bennett
It's time to dive back into our preseason countdown of the Top 25 players in the Big Ten.
As a reminder, we're considering past performance and 2012 potential in these rankings. And speaking of potential, here is a player who just oozes it ...
No. 19: Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State, soph., 6-2, 210 pounds
2011 postseason rank: Not ranked
2011 numbers: Completed 54.1 percent of his passes for 1,159 yards and 13 touchdowns, with four interceptions. Also ran 159 times for 715 yards and seven scores.
Why he's here: Miller is here more for what he might do than what he has done. But for a true freshman quarterback last year, he did a lot.
True, his passing numbers weren't spectacular, but they improved as the year went on. He showed incredible poise, never more so than on his game-winning bomb to beat Wisconsin. And he was extremely elusive on the ground, rushing for at least 91 yards five times in Ohio State's final five regular season contests. His full arsenal was on display in the finale against Michigan, when Miller threw for 235 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 100 yards and a score.
So it's incredibly tantalizing to imagine what Miller might do now in his second season and his first under Urban Meyer, a coach who knows a little bit about how to utilize an athletic quarterback. Don't expect any more conservative game plans a la last year's Illinois snoozer, when Miller completed just 1-of-4 passes. As the Buckeyes showed in the spring game, they're going to let it fly, and Miller will be at the controls. He'll likely climb this list during the next couple of falls.
No. 25: Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska
No. 24: MarQueis Gray, QB, Minnesota
No. 23: Ricardo Allen, CB, Purdue
No. 22: Mike Taylor, LB, Wisconsin
No. 21: Jared Abbrederis, WR/KR, Wisconsin
No. 20: Denicos Allen, LB, Michigan State