Buckeyes Again Nab Top QB Prospect

Ohio State fans have been down this road before. On Thursday, the Buckeyes accepted a commitment from the nation's top quarterback prospect in the form of Braxton Miller. But as it turns out, he might have as much in common with another former dual-threat option for the Buckeyes as he does with Pryor.

HUBER HEIGHTS, Ohio – Wayne head coach Jay Minton can see the similarities.

On Thursday, Minton's prized pupil – five-star quarterback prospect Braxton Miller – issued a verbal commitment to Ohio State. His decision to become a Buckeye came a little more than two years after the program landed a commitment from Terrelle Pryor, like Miller the top prospect at his position in his recruiting class.

The coming years could see Pryor pass the torch to Miller upon his arrival in Columbus. If so, Minton said things might not look a lot different under center.

"Athleticism is a similarity," the coach said. "They both are great athletes. Another similarity is they're so competitive."

After a storied prep career at Jeannette, Pa., that saw him become the first player in state history to both throw and rush for more than 4,000 yards, Pryor's recruitment took the nation by storm. His decision not to pick a school on National Signing day was carried live nationally.

The number of satellite TV trucks parked outside of Wayne High School paled in comparison to those at Jeannette in the winter and spring of 2008, but Pryor's time at OSU could provide a blueprint to Miller's future.

According to Kevin Miller, Braxton's father, the decision to select the Buckeyes stemmed largely from the fact that they felt OSU head coach Jim Tressel and his coaching staff could best prepare Braxton to make it to the NFL.

It was the belief that the Buckeyes would do a better job at that task than his other finalists that also helped convince Pryor to eventually sign for them as well.

Miller has a few built-in advantages that Pryor was not blessed with out of high school. In addition to playing in his state's highest classification for football, Miller operates a more sophisticated offense than Pryor ran for the Jayhawks. He has also played the position longer than Pryor.

But Minton's hope is that Pryor will return for his senior season and serve as a mentor of sorts to Miller.

"It's not the worst thing that could happen, but to me a disappointing thing that could happen Terrelle leaving after this next year," the coach said. "They're supposed to have a great season and many think that if they do and he's healthy and he's a first-round pick that he's gone, which you can't blame a kid. In my little selfish world for Braxton, I hope that doesn't happen because I think you can learn a lot from Terrelle Pryor."

In addition to being pleased with how Pryor is developing, Miller's father pointed to the previous dual-threat quarterback to experience success in Columbus: Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith.

"I know they can develop quarterbacks," Kevin Miller said. "They developed Troy Smith and Troy wasn't really a quarterback coming out of Glenville. They did a great job with Troy. Seeing what he did his senior year and the process that he took from his freshman to his senior year, he made great strides. And Terrelle is doing the same thing.

"We were looking for a system that was going to develop him as a total quarterback, not just a system quarterback."

In other words, the assumption that Miller's family would need to see how OSU developed Pryor as a passer was not a major factor in the decision to pick the Buckeyes. The belief was already there that the combination of Tressel, quarterbacks coach Nick Siciliano and former quarterbacks coach and current associate director of player development Joe Daniels would be able to turn Miller into an NFL-caliber talent.

Miller said he is already familiar with Pryor, having spent time with him while visiting campus during the past two years. Although both are known for making plays with both their arms and their legs, Miller said he has more in common with Smith and Pryor.

"What they did with Troy Smith was what I really liked," he said. "They say my arm has strength and I can do damage with that and also my legs. I can do a lot of damage. We'll see when I get there."

When Miller sets foot on OSU's campus this winter – he is planning to graduate early and enroll in classes for winter quarter – he will have the opportunity to battle for the starting spot. Ahead of him will be senior Joe Bauserman, redshirt sophomore Ken Guiton, redshirt freshman Taylor Graham – assuming he does not play this fall – and potentially Pryor.

Then, like Pryor, he will begin the process of growing from a high school hotshot into an elite college quarterback under Tressel's tutelage. Minton said he is excited to see the results.

"A lot of people want it tomorrow, (but) that development doesn't happen that quick," the coach said. "A guy like Jim Tressel knows the stages he has to take him through and he knows what he has to take him through and he'll get him there. It might be this year and it might be another year.

"Seriously, I hope it's another year but when you're going through those development stages I think you've got to know the guys who can get you there."

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