As a freshman at Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne, the quarterback had impressed head coach Jay Minton and was a candidate to start the season under center. But in discussions with Miller's father, Kevin, the decision was made to only bring the freshman into live action when it was absolutely necessary.
That turned out to be halftime of a season-opening loss to Cincinnati Colerain. After junior quarterback Ryan Bitsko completed 2 of 4 passes for 11 yards and his Warriors trailed 13-7 at the break, the decision was made to go with Miller.
"I didn't want him to be thrown into the fire," Miller's father told BuckeyeSports.com. "Coach Minton told me we'll get to a point where we don't want to put him into the fire but if he's our best player we have to go with him. We put him in to start the second half and from there it blew up. He did what he could do and people recognized that."
Wayne was unable to mount a comeback and dropped a 19-7 final, but Miller's performance was impressive. In his first varsity game, he completed 10 of 15 passes for 145 yards but was intercepted twice.
Looking back, Braxton Miller said he was able to get his feet wet a little before he lined up at quarterback.
"They said for me to sit out one half and they'd fix me with a wide receiver spot so I could get used to the speed of the game because I never knew how fast the high school game was," he said. "I played wide receiver for a minute and in the second half the starter was struggling so everyone said to put Braxton in. I went out there and did my thing like in middle school and it just came easy."
It was not enough to set the world on fire, but it was a start.
"We couldn't keep him out," Minton said. "He just had that specialness about him. He had it. Whatever it is, if somebody could bottle it up they'd have something. He just had that when he came here. When you saw him work out and everything, you knew it wouldn't be long."
Miller entered the Huber Heights school system following his eighth grade year after having grown up in Springfield, Ohio. Minton said there was already a buzz about Miller's abilities before he set foot on campus.
According to the coach, Miller lived up to the early hype from his first summer workouts for the coaches.
"We came out to workouts and it was like, ‘Wow,' " the coach said. "You hear little tidbits along the way. We had heard about this young man and when he came out there, everything that everybody was saying about him was absolutely true and more."
Miller started for the rest of the season and guided Wayne to an 8-1 record but not to a playoff berth. He finished the season 93 of 152 for 1,048 yards and nine touchdowns against 10 interceptions.
Now headed into his senior season, Miller is ranked the top quarterback in the nation by Scout.com. He issued a verbal commitment to Ohio State in early June and is hoping to graduate early and enroll for winter courses in Columbus.
When Miller gets there, he could have a chance to again fight for a starting spot. Incumbent starter Terrelle Pryor will be a junior this season and could be a first-round NFL draft pick after the season.
Minton said his hope is that Miller will be able to learn from Pryor as a true freshman before seeing significant playing time potentially as early as his sophomore year. Should he be pressed into early duty, however, Miller said he will be ready.
"I'll never back down from competition," he said. "I'm just going through the process and I'm going to get better and better. I want to be one of those guys in the NFL like Peyton Manning, one of the top quarterbacks in the game. I don't admire anybody (in particular) – I just want to keep learning and learning."