2015 draft prospect: QB Braxton Miller

The Ohio State quarterback is turning into more than just a running quarterback, but there are still flaws in his game. NFL Draft Report provides an in-depth look at the senior with statistics, a breakdown of his mechanics, and what he needs to improve.

Braxton Miller

Ohio State University Buckeyes
Huber Heights, Ohio
Wayne High School


In the new era of National Football League offensive game planning, teams are coveting highly athletic types to take snaps from center, trying to emulate the success that the Seattle Seahawks (Russell Wilson), Green Bay (Aaron Rodgers) and San Francisco 49ers (Colin Kaepernick) have enjoyed using quarterbacks that can not only attack secondary defenders with their arm strength, but to also have opponents constantly account for them thanks to quick feet, balance and body control as a scrambler.

No quarterback prospect returning to the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision ranks in 2014 have the running ability that Braxton Miller possesses – not Oregon's Marcus Mariota, nor UCLA's Brett Hundley or a small college sensation like Old Dominion's Taylor Heinicke. The Ohio State starter leads all of college football's signal-callers and is second overall among returning players with 3,054 yards on the ground, as he is one of eight players in Ohio State's storied history of producing standout ball carriers, to gain 3,000 yards rushing in a career.

While Miller has yet to join the elite passers eligible for the 2015 NFL Draft, he is slowly starting to develop into a functional thrower – ranking 12th among active players in the FBS with a pass completion percentage of .5931. He is the top returning player in the Big Ten Conference in pass attempts (17th among active players; eighth-best on the school career-record chart) with 666 tosses, and in pass completions (15th among active players and sixth in school history) with 395 successful throws.

Miller's passing efficiency rating of 146.72 is 14th-best among active major college players, best among active league performers and ranks third on the school career-record list. He leads active Big Ten players, is fifth among the nation's returning athletes and is second in Ohio State annals with 8,346 yards in total offense. His 84 touchdowns responsible for also hold the second spot on the school record chart, as that figure leads the league and is third overall among active quarterbacks.

Miller has also impacted the Ohio State all-time record lists, where he is currently eighth in passing yardage (5,292), becoming just the fifth Buckeye to account for at least 5,000 aerial yards. He is also one of only five OSU quarterbacks to throw for at least 50 touchdown passes, holding the fourth spot on that chart with 52 scoring strikes. He is tied for seventh in school annals with 32 touchdown runs and holds the Buckeyes career-record with an average of 231.83 yards per game in total offense.

Miller was born in Springfield, Ohio, but moved to Huber Heights to attend Wayne High School prior to his freshman season. In four seasons with the Warriors, he completed 373-of-670 passes (55.67%) for 4,406 yards, 38 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, adding 1,474 yards with 41 more scores on 355 carries (4.15 ypc). He amassed 5,880 yards in total offense as a starter, an average of 158.92 yards per game, as he helped guide the team to a 31-7 record during his career.

During his freshman season, Miller connected on 93-of-152 attempts (61.18%) for 1,048 yards and nine touchdowns. He also added 303 yards and five scores rushing, as the Warriors compiled an 8-2 record in 2007. His sophomore campaign produced 642 yards on 59-of-113 tosses in six contests during an injury-plague season, and he would miss two contests the following year due to a thigh bruise. He still managed to throw for 1,091 yards and nine touchdowns, along with gaining 467 yards with 18 touchdowns on 112 carries (4.1 ypc) in nine contests as a junior.

As a senior, Miller received All-Greater Western Ohio-Central, All-Division I, All-State and All-American honors, as he was also named an Ohio "Mr. Football" Award finalist in 2010. The Warriors ranked second in the state, thanks to an 11-4 record, as Miller completed 134-of-239 throws (56.07%) for 1,625 yards, 15 touchdowns and only four interceptions through twelve regular season games, scoring 12 more times on 96 carries for 470 yards.

Including playoffs, he piled up 2,167 aerial yards with 17 touchdown tosses and 658 yards with 17 more scores rushing through 15 appearances, despite playing part of his senior year with an ankle sprain. Miller would conclude his gridiron career by playing in the Under Armour All-American Game.

Scout.com ranked Miller as the nation's second-best quarterback and 36th-best overall player in the high school ranks, according him five-star recruit status. He also lettered three times for the Wayne High Warriors basketball team, as they compiled a 21-3 record during the 2009-10 season, finishing ranked 37th in the state.

Miller committed to Ohio State on June 3rd, 2010, graduating from high school early and enrolling at the university in January 2011, in time to compete during spring drills. He also had scholarship offers from Alabama, Cincinnati, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Southern California, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The Ohio State coaching staff quickly realized that Miller was by far more athletic than other quarterback they had on their roster. The Buckeyes stumbled to a 6-7 record that year, as they were forced to move on from the Terrelle Pryor "debacle" that saw more than a handful of skill position players suspended for NCAA violations.

Head coach Jim Tressel was replaced on an interim basis by Luke Fickell and the temporary coach soon realized that inherited starter Joe Bauserman was certainly not starting material. Miller would take over as the starter in the fourth game, vs. Colorado, but two weeks later, he was forced to the sidelines in the third quarter vs. Nebraska after he sprained his right ankle.

Miller would start nine of the 12 contests that he appeared in as a true freshman. His 2011 numbers included 1,159 yards behind 85-of-157 passes (54.14%), as he recorded 13 touchdowns and just four interceptions. He collected 1,874 yards in total offense, piling up 715 yards with seven more scores via 159 carries, averaging 4.5 yards per attempt. Twice he received Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Week honors, and he would become the first quarterback in school history to lead the team in rushing.

When Urban Meyers took over the Ohio State program and sat down with his staff to review 2011 game films, they all recognized that Miller is a true dual-threat quarterback, one that beat a team without rushing for a yard, yet was athletic enough to run a wish-bone offense.

They also saw a quarterback who has the arm strength to put pressure on the back of a defense, thus giving the Buckeyes a viable weapon that can open up even more running lanes for himself, as the defensive backs are forced to be honest and not crowd him at the line of scrimmage. Their conclusion was that Miller has all the tools to be a star on the next level and simply needs to keep progressing.

Miller rewarded the new coaches for their faith in him when he set a school season-record with 3,310 yards in total offense. He joined Eddie George, Orlando Pace, Joe Germaine and Troy Smith as Ohio State honorees for the coveted Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year Award, as the Big Ten Conference MVP was the recipient of the Chicago Tribune's Silver Football, in addition to being named a finalist for two national quarterback honors – the Davey O'Brien and Manning Awards.

Miller connected on 148-of-254 tosses (58.27%) for 2,039 yards, 15 touchdowns and six interceptions. He again led the Buckeyes in rushing, setting the school season-record for quarterbacks, becoming their first signal-caller to rush for 1,000 yards in a campaign, as he tallied 1,271 yards on 227 attempts (5.6 ypc) and 13 scores. His average of 275.83 yards per game in total offense is also a Buckeyes annual mark. His season was not without some concerning moments, though, as he was twice lifted from games vs. Penn State and Purdue after suffering neck and head injuries from violent collisions.

Comfortable that he had his quarterback that could bring the university a national championship, head coach Urban Meyer, coming off a 12-0 campaign, had to wait for the NCAA to investigate Miller for a possible rules violation. In August 2013, the NCAA was informed that Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith and the university had talked to Miller after someone offered autographs and signed memorabilia for sale online without the junior's knowledge.

Smith stated that Miller had been cleared of breaking any NCAA bylaws. Miller was not available to speak with reporters after Ohio State's early August practices and a message seeking comment from coach Urban Meyer was left by The Associated Press with team spokesman Jerry Emig. Ohio State was banned from a bowl game in 2012 because of NCAA violations stemming from a signed memorabilia scandal two years prior that rocked the program. Ohio State was still on NCAA probation for those problems, which took place when Jim Tressel was coach.

Miller, having received clearance from the NCAA's investigation unit, went on to start 12 games as a junior in 2013, but was not the high-flying dual-threat quarterback he was in the past. Even though he ran for 1,068 yards and 12 touchdowns on 171 carries (6.25 ypc), it appeared that he was often bolting from the pocket early, hesitant of standing tall under pressure.

Many pointed to his left knee anterior cruciate injury that he suffered while trying to avoid a sack vs. San Diego State in the second game of the season as a source for his inconsistent play, as he would also miss the California and Florida A&M clashes while recovering. Miller did throw for a career-high 2,094 yards on 162-of-255 tosses (63.53%, third-best in school history), as his 24 touchdown passes rank fifth on the OSU annual record chart.

The junior quarterback established another school record, as he was responsible for 36 touchdowns. He also took over the fourth spot on the school annual list with 3,162 yards in total offense. Still, as the season progressed, defenses began to adjust – so much so, the Buckeyes would close out the season with two crucial losses vs. Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship and then to Clemson in the Orange Bowl.

While Miller's passing numbers improved, his mechanics are still viewed as a "work in progress." There is no questioning his overall arm strength, but he did struggle with ball placement and touch, as his receivers were often seen having to adjust on their routes. Twelve of his pass attempts were batted down at the line of scrimmage, a product of poor/low trajectory.

Miller seems to lack patience standing tall in the pocket, perhaps due to him being sacked 88 times for losses of 513 yards through 36 games as a Buckeye. Rather than improve upon ball security, he regressed as a junior, posting a career-worst 10 fumbles. He has fumbled the ball 27 times during his career and the opposition secured 13 of those fumbles, leading to 10 scoring drives.

Miller needs to stop rushing through the process, as he needs work on scanning the field and has to show patience allowing his targets to get open and must show a better concept for route progression. Even with his success as a ball carrier, he seemed to shy away from contact often as a junior, possibly due to the beating he incurred while being sacked 21 times in 2013. Early in the season, his inconsistencies were such a concern for the coaches that the staff was considering replacing Miller with Kenny Guiton if his struggles had continued.

With Guiton having graduated, the Ohio State coaches will not have that afforded luxury in 2014 if Miller continues his inconsistent play. While he has similar tools as former Louisville standout Teddy Bridgewater, Miller is more fundamentally sound and consistent with his feet, but fails to match up with his delivery issues. He is a true dual-threat, but not as advanced as a passer in comparison to most of the other quarterbacks expected to enter the 2015 NFL Draft.

Miller does have a "big arm" and can make the long throws, but has to do a better job of scanning the field and make quicker decisions. Most of his sacks are the result of locking on to his primary targets for too long. While he does not try to force the ball into traffic, leading to costly interceptions (just 17 on 666 pass attempts), 88 sacks for losses of 513 yards and 27 fumbles during that 36-game span is a big concern.

The Ohio State offensive scheme provides Miller with enough opportunities to stretch the field both outside of the numbers and between the hashes. When not flushed from the pocket and given time to set his feet, he shows good velocity on his deeper throws and can fit the ball into a lot of tight spots. He just has to improve upon his ability to survey the field and go through his progressions.

Nagging injuries have set back Miller over the years and he returns for 2014 August camp coming off late February surgery on his right shoulder that limited his activities during the off-season. Coupled with right ankle, left knee, head and neck injuries that have cost him playing time, he needs to improve his release mechanics, as he will revert to three-quarters arm slot action. Because he is in the shotgun most of the time, he needs more reps from under center to develop as a drop-back passer and reading on the move.

Miller has started 33-of-36 games at Ohio State, completing 395-of-666 passes (59.31%) for 5,292 yards, 52 touchdowns and 17 interceptions…The only quarterback in school history to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season, Miller carried 557 times for 3,054 yards (5.48 ypc) and 32 scores, as he was responsible for 84 touchdowns on 1,223 offensive plays for 8,346 yards, an average of 231.83 yards per game…Has been sacked 88 times for losses of 513 yards, resulting in 27 fumbles, as the opposition recovered 13 of those miscues…Recorded a solo tackle vs. Florida in 2011 and has scored 196 points as a Buckeye.
Big Ten Conference Career-Record Results…Miller is one of just three quarterbacks in league history to rush for 3,000 yards (3,054) in a career, joining Denard Robinson of Michigan (4,495; 2009-12) and Antwaan Randle El of Indiana (3,895; 1998-2001)…His passing efficiency rating of 146.72 is sixth-best in league annals behind Elvis Grbac of Michigan (148.1; 1989-92), Joe Germaine of Ohio State (151.0; 1996-98), Scott Tolzien of Wisconsin (153.2; 2008-10), Dan Persa of Northwestern (155.0; 2009-11) and Troy Smith of Ohio State (157.1; 2003-06).
School Career-Record Results…Miller ranks seventh overall on the school rushing chart with 3,054 yards, the most ever by an OSU quarterback. One of eight Buckeyes to rush for 3,000 yards in a career, he is joined in that "club" by Archie Griffin (5,589; 1972-75), Eddie George (3,768; 1992-95), Tim Spencer (3,553; 1979-82), Chris Wells (3,382; 2006-08), Keith Byars (3,200; 1982-85) and Pepe Pearson (3,076; 1994-97)…His average of 84.83 yards per game rushing is sixth-best in OSU annals. The only Buckeye to average 100 yards rushing per game is Archie Griffin (121.5 ypg in 46 contests)…Has run for at least 100 yards 14 times, the most ever by an OSU quarterback and sixth-best overall behind Archie Griffin (34), Eddie Georgie (20), Chris Wells (17), Keith Byars (17) and Antonio Pittman (15; 2004-06). The previous record for a quarterback was four 100-yard rushing performances by Cornelius Greene (1973-75)…Ranks eighth in school annals with 666 pass attempts and 5,292 yards passing, placing sixth with 395 pass completions and fifth with an average of 147.0 aerial yards per game…His pass completion percentage of .5931 is third on the OSU record chart behind Todd Boeckman (.634; 2005-08) and Troy Smith (.627; 2003-06)…His 52 touchdown passes are topped by just Bobby Hoying (57; 1992-95), Joe Germaine (56; 1996-98), Troy Smith (54; 2003-06) and Art Schlichter (50; 1978-81) among Ohio State quarterbacks…His passing efficiency rating of 146.72 is surpassed by only Troy Smith (157.1) and Joe Germaine (151.0) in school history…The only player in school history to gain 3,000 yards in total offense in a season, Miller's 8,346 yards is placed second behind Art Schlichter (8,850; 1978-81) in OSU annals…His average of 231.83 yards per game in total offense shattered the previous school mark of 185.2 yards per game by Terrelle Pryor (4,815 in 26 games; 2008-09)…Has been responsible for 84 touchdowns during his career. Only Schlichter (85) has more for the Buckeyes…Holds the school records for most games gaining 300 yards in total offense (10) and most games with at least 200 yards in that category (22), topping the old 300-yard mark of six by Joe Germaine and the 200-yard level reached 19 times by Troy Smith.
Big Ten Conference Season-Record Results…Miller joined Denard Robinson of Michigan as the only conference quarterbacks to rush for over 1,000 yards more than once in a career. Miller gained 1,271 yards in 2013 (second-best ever by a Big Ten QB), followed by 1,068 yards in 2013 (seventh on the league QB chart). Robinson had 1,176 yards in 2011 (fifth), 1,266 in 2012 (fourth) and the conference quarterback season-record of 1,702 yards in 2010. Other league quarterbacks to reach the 1,000-yard season level are Antwaan Randle El of Indiana (third with 1,270 yards in 2000) and Taylor Martinez of Nebraska (1,019 in 2012).
School Season-Record Results…Miller is not only the first Ohio State quarterback to lead his team in rushing (both 2011 and 2012), he is also the only quarterback in school annals to rush for 1,000 yards, accomplishing that feat twice…He is only the seventh player in OSU annals to record more than one 1,000-yard rushing season, as his 1,068 yards in 2013 rank 25th on the overall annual list and his quarterback record 1,271 yards in 2012 rank 13th overall…Others to rush for 1,000 yards in multiple seasons are Keith Byars (1,199 in 1983 and 1,764 in 1984), Archie Griffin (1,450 in 1975; 1,577 in 1973; 1,695 in 1974), Eddie George (1,442 in 1994 and 1,927 in 1995), Antonio Pittman (1,233 in 2006 and 1,331 in 2005), Tim Spencer (1,217 in 1981 and 1,538 in 1982) and Chris Wells (1,197 in 2008 and 1,609 in 2007)…Joined Bobby Hoying (3,290 in 1995) and Joe Germaine (3,247 in 1998) as the only players in Ohio State annals to gain 3,000 yards in total offense in a season, as Miller is the only one to accomplish that feat twice – 3,162 yards in 2013 rank fourth and 3,310 yards in 2012 is the school record…Ranks third on the OSU annual list with an average of 263.5 yards in total offense per game in 2013, as his 2012 average of 275.83 yards set the school record, topping the old mark of 270.6 yards per game by Joe Germaine in 1998…Gained at least 200 yards in total offense 11 times in 2013, matching the OSU annual record first set by Bobby Hoying in 1995. His 10 games with 200 yards total offense in 2012 tied Joe Germaine (1998) for third on that record sheet…His 28 touchdowns responsible for in 2012 rank fourth and his 36 in 2013 set the new school season-record, bettering the previous mark of 31, first set by Bobby Hoying in 1995 and matched by Troy Smith in 2006…His career-best 2,094 yards passing in 2013 tied Terrelle Pryor for 13th on the OSU annual record list…His pass completion percentage of .6353 in 2013 is the third-best in a season by a Buckeye, topped by Troy Smith (.653 in 2006) and Todd Boeckman (.639 in 2007)…Miller's 24 touchdown passes in 2013 rank behind Troy Smith (30 in 2006), Bobby Hoying (29 in 1995), Todd Boeckman (25 in 2007) and Joe Germaine (25 in 1998) on the school list…Recorded the fourth-best passing efficiency rating in a season by a Buckeye with a 158.08 mark in 2013, surpassed by Bobby Hoying (163.4 in 1995) and Troy Smith (162.6 in 2005 and 161.9 in 2006).
School Game-Record Results…Miller has thrown four touchdown passes in each of the California (2012), Purdue (2013) and Iowa (2013) contests. The only Buckeyes to throw more scores in a game are Bobby Hoying (five vs. Purdue in 1994 and vs. Pittsburgh in 1995) and John Borton (five vs. Washington State in 1952)…Holds the sixth and seventh spots on the school total offense game list, with 368 vs. Miami (Oh.) and 360 vs. Indiana, both during the 2012 campaign. The only two players to reach the 400-yard total offense level in a contest are Art Schlichter (412 vs. Florida State in 1981 and Troy Smith (408 vs. Notre Dame in 2005)…Was responsible for five touchdowns in each of the 2012 California and 2013 Penn State and Michigan games, topped by the six scores recorded by Tony Curcillo vs. Iowa in 1951 on the school record sheet…Miller is the owner of the top three game rushing performances by a Buckeyes quarterback, gaining 186 yards vs. Nebraska in 2012, 184 vs. Illinois in 2013 and 161 vs. Miami (Oh.) in 2012.

Entering the 2014 season, Miller occupies a very impressive spot among those quarterbacks – leading all current major college passers in engineering game-winning touchdown drives in the fourth quarter or overtime - with six. The drives are defined as scoring drives that put the winning team ahead for good. Miller has engineered at least one such game-winning drive in each of his first three seasons, and his three game-winning drives in 2013 alone are equal to, or more than, the career totals of every other current FBS quarterback with the exception of Navy's Keenan Reynolds, who has five, and East Carolina's Shane Carden, with four. That group is followed by three such successful drives engineered by Brandon Connette (Duke/Fresno State); Terrel Hunt (Syracuse); Taylor Kelly (Arizona State), Sean Mannion (Oregon State) and Nick Marshall (Auburn).

Miller recorded those six game-winning touchdown drives in the fourth-quarter or overtime:
1. 2011 vs. No. 15 Wisconsin: Miller, a freshman in his fifth collegiate start, connected with Devin Smith on a 40-yard touchdown pass with 40 seconds left to play to give Ohio State a 33-29 victory.
2. 2012 vs. California: Miller rallied the Buckeyes twice in the fourth quarter, hitting Jake Stoneburner with a touchdown pass when trailing, 21-20, and then producing the game-winning score – a 72-yard strike to Smith with 3:26 left to play - to secure the 35-28 win.
3. 2012 at Wisconsin: Miller rushed for 12 yards in overtime, including an eight-yard gain to set up a first-and-goal from the 2, in the 21-14 overtime victory.
4. 2013 at No. 16 Northwestern: Trailing 30-27 inside of 10 minutes to play, Miller completed four-of-four passes for 64 yards to spark an eight-play, 81-yard drive for the winning touchdown in the Buckeyes' 40-30 win.
5. 2013 vs. Iowa: Miller finished off a 10-play, 75-yard drive for the game-deciding touchdown with just over 13 minutes to play and, on Ohio State's next series, he led an 11-play, 64-yard drive for a field goal. The Buckeyes won, 34-24.
6. 2013 at Michigan: Miller's 32-yard rush on first down was the big play during a six-play, 65-yard scoring drive that put Ohio State in front of its rivals for good, 42-35, with just 2:20 left to play.

2009 Season…Miller missed two games as a high school junior with a deep thigh bruise.
2010 Season…Miller's mobility was hampered by an ankle sprain during his senior season in high school.
2011 Season…Miller left in the third quarter of the Nebraska contest after suffering a right ankle sprain.
2012 Season…Miller was taken to the locker room on a cart before eventually being loaded into an ambulance during the Purdue game. The quarterback had to leave the game after he was slammed to the turf after picking up 37 yards on a run. He was down on the field apparently in a lot of pain before finally making his way to the sideline. While on the bench, Miller was doubled over while surrounded by trainers. After a few minutes, he gingerly walked to a cart with the help of trainers before being taken to the locker room. The ESPN broadcast of the game showed an ambulance pulled up outside the Ohio State locker room. Miller was loaded into the ambulance on a gurney before being taken to a nearby hospital. Ohio State associate athletic director Dan Wallenberg said that Miller was "symptom free" after being examined by doctors, and would be released later that evening.
2013 Season…Miller was limited in the season opener vs. Buffalo, as he had severe leg cramps throughout the game's humid conditions that would force him to the sidelines twice for several plays…In the Buckeyes' second game, vs. San Diego State, Miller left the field after being pinned between tacklers. Miller had carried on fourth-and-1 at the Aztecs 12 early in the game. He cut inside left end and was hit by defensive back King Holder and middle linebacker Jake Fely. Miller's helmet popped off as he fell and he lay on the field on his back for a moment, holding his head. He then was helped to his feet and walked under his own power to the sideline before going to the locker room on a cart. Early reports indicated that he had suffered a right knee medial collateral ligament tear, but tests later revealed that the injury was an anterior cruciate ligament sprain. He would then sit out the Buckeyes' next two appearances, vs. California and Florida A&M…Miller was shaken up and left the field for several plays after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit vs. Illinois…He suffered a cracked rib and a right shoulder sprain that would later require February, 2014 surgery to repair, during the Orange Bowl meeting vs. Clemson…Surgery would prevent Miller from participating in 2014 spring camp.

4.46 in the 40-yard dash (April, 2012)…4.32 in the 40-yard dash (June, 2013)…1.53 10-yard dash…2.55 20-yard dash…4.13 20-yard shuttle…6.81 three-cone drill…32-inch vertical jump…9'04" broad jump…Bench pressed 225 pounds 19 times…32-inch arm length…
9-inch hands.

Miller is majoring in Communications…Youngest of three children of Kelly and Kevin Miller…Born 11/30/92 in Springfield, Ohio…Resides in Huber Heights, Ohio.

2011157 8554.14 115913 7.3813.64 42.55 96.58
2012254 14858.27 203915 8.0313.78 62.36 169.92
2013255 16263.53 209424 8.2112.93 72.75 174.5
TOTAL666 39559.31 529252 7.9513.4 172.55 147

201112 9159 7154.5 781
201212 12227 12715.6 1372
201312 12171 10686.25 1270
TOTAL36 33557 30545.48 3281

201112 3161159 7151874 205.93 156.17
201212 4812039 12713310 286.88 275.83
201312 4262094 10683162 367.42 263.5
TOTAL36 12235292 30548346 846.82 231.83

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