Meet Miller The Mayor

Most players who go on to play at Ohio State spent time serving as a team captain in college. Five-star verbal commitment Steve Miller will not find out if he is a captain until the week before the end of the regular season. Instead, he enters his third year of holding a different title: mayor.

Ohio State verbal commitment. Five-star prospect. No. 4 prospect from Ohio.

Steve Miller already holds all these titles. Now, for the third consecutive season, he can add mayor to the list.

The 6-4, 230-pound lineman from Canton McKinley again will serve as one of 11 players who act as liaisons between the coaching staff and players in a role created when head coach Ron Johnson created three seasons. In effect, they serve as surrogate team captains, which are named the week before the annual season-ending showdown with rival Massillon (Ohio) Washington.

"He leads by example without question in every facet of his life – academically, socially and on the field and the guys trust him completely," Johnson told "They know when Steve speaks, people are going to listen and it goes both ways. When he speaks to the team it's going to carry a lot of weight and when he comes to us with a request it's going to be taken very seriously."

The 11 mayors represent the eight position groups on the team and three at-large selections. They do not have to be seniors, and the returning mayors vote on who will replace their outgoing members. New mayors are elected each January and assume leadership roles for the next year.

"Then they serve like mediators between the staff and players," Johnson said. "They make the decisions of what we're going to have for pregame meal, what color combination we're going to wear for our uniforms, how soon before we want to get to a game. If there's issues or requests, they handle those. It develops leadership in them as young men and our team knows that it's not an us-against-them mentality. We're all one team."

That one team earned a season-opening victory against Gallatin, Tenn., on Friday night. Before the season started, Miller said it was a strange feeling to be entering his senior year.

"Yeah, it does feel weird," he said. "Being away from the guys from last year feels different. We can have a pretty good year. If we play as a team, we should win it all."

Miller ended his recruitment Oct. 30, 2009, when he issued his verbal commitment to the Buckeyes. Now approaching a year removed from that date, the nation's fourth-rated defensive end said life is good thanks to his decision.

"I don't have to worry about anything but playing football now," he said. "I'm glad I made an early decision. This fall, all I have to do is play football and have fun."

Throughout his junior season, Miller maintained that he would still likely take official visits to a few other schools to make sure of his decision. Asked if that was still the plan, Miller said, "I don't know. I might just say forget it."

Johnson said OSU head coach Jim Tressel had encouraged Miller to take those visits. As his senior season approached, Miller said no other schools were calling him.

Fully focused on his team, Miller is being projected for big things by his head coach.

"I think he plays with a relentless motor," Johnson said. "He just goes all the time. He never takes a play off and when you couple that effort with the talent that he possesses, there's a chance for good things to happen.

"I expect him to lead our team to the best that we can be. If that's a state championship, I expect him to be in the forefront and leading it and keeping all of our priorities as a program in place."

Buckeye Sports Top Stories