In what could be Ohio State's most significant pickup at quarterback in close to a decade, the Buckeyes landed four-star QB Braxton Miller (Huber Heights, Ohio/Wayne), the No. 2 quarterback in the Class of 2011, on Thursday when he chose Ohio State over Florida and a host of other offers.
While signing Terrelle Pryor, the current Buckeyes QB, in 2008 was huge, Pryor was coveted more for his overall freakish athleticism than his pure quarterbacking skills. Miller, who is a fine athlete in his own right and can bring dual-threat skills to the position, is more advanced as a passer and should allow Ohio State to do more in the passing game in the early stages than it could do with Pryor. You might have to go back to the Class of 2002 when the Buckeyes signed Troy Smith to find the last time the Buckeyes landed a QB whose production at the position matched the hype.
Miller, 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, isn't the biggest player, but has a big arm and does a good job of going through his progressions and can make all the throws. He shows good velocity on deeper throws, can fit the ball in tight spots and knows when to take something off it to throw catchable touch passes underneath. Miller, an Under Armour All-American, describes himself as a QB who is good at "reading coverages, passing and using my feet also. So hopefully all those combined can do some damage."
Again, this is not a knock on Pryor, who is a tremendous athlete and very few possess his combination of size and athleticism, but in addition to his passing skills, Miller brings an athletic threat at the position as well and has good lateral movement to avoid pressure and create second-chance opportunities. He also has the speed to make plays outside of the pocket.
Despite growing up in Ohio, Miller did not really grow up a Buckeyes fan. While he says he wasn't pressured to stay home, he just felt it was the right fit.
"It feels like Springfield or Dayton, that's where I am right now. Columbus feels like home," he said. "That's where I can see myself spending my next four years."
His commitment has to have coaches and fans breathing a sigh of relief. It was important to keep the state's top prospect at home and it also gives coach Jim Tressel and Ohio State a great post-Pryor plan at quarterback. The talented signal caller knows he needs to keep improving his technique and game, but loves the scheme the Buckeyes run and has already talked to coaches about how he'll fit in the offense and possibly even how they can open it up a little more to accommodate his ability.
Ohio State has always recruited well and landing an elite QB, especially one in their own backyard, was an important pickup. It's impossible to overstate how important that position is and landing Miller is a big get for their future championship hopes and jump starts their 2011 recruiting class.
Craig Haubert is a recruiting coordinator for Scouts Inc. and has more than a decade of coaching experience.