While the three-horse race for the starting quarterback position has been much of the talk since Ohio State won the national championship in January, one of those horses dropped out of the running — but into a different spot on the offense.
Redshirt senior Braxton Miller is set to make a transition from quarterback, where he started for OSU for three years, to a receiver role for his final collegiate season.
This was announced in an interview with Sports Illustrated published late Thursday evening. In it, Miller, who entered the offseason competing with redshirt sophomore J.T. Barrett and redshirt junior Cardale Jones for the starting spot, said he had begun to consider the idea in April.
Since then, the article said, Miller began catching balls from Barrett at night in order to keep the possible transition a secret in case OSU coach Urban Meyer decided to tab him the starter.
On Thursday, Miller announced that the secret was out as he was no longer in the running for the QB job and instead plans to play H-back, which is a position that acts as a hybrid of wide receiver, tight end and running back. It is a position requiring versatility and athleticism that was utilized last season in junior Dontre Wilson and redshirt sophomore Jalin Marshall.
In the SI story, Miller said he has not completely closed the door on playing quarterback this season, but he anticipates practicing with the wide receivers 80 percent of the time and quarterbacks 20 percent when fall practice begins in August.
Miller said also he hopes to return punts for the Buckeyes, a role H-backs Wilson and Marshall shared last season.
The Huber Heights, Ohio, product started 12 games in each of his first three seasons with the Buckeyes, throwing for more than 5,000 yards and 52 touchdowns. He also ran for 32 more scores.
He was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year for his sophomore and junior seasons, as well as a Davey O’Brien Award finalist for the nation’s top quarterback in his sophomore campaign.
Miller was set to be the starter heading into the 2014 season, but a torn labrum in his right shoulder cost him the season just a few weeks before it began. He was replaced by Barrett, who started 12 games before suffering an ankle injury on Nov. 29 against Michigan. Barrett was then replaced by Jones, who started OSU’s three postseason games and helped lead them to the national championship.
Rumors swirled about Miller possibly transferring with the seemingly uphill battle toward winning back the starting job over Barrett and Jones, but he confirmed his intentions to stay in the scarlet and gray earlier in July.
Now, Miller is set to begin his final collegiate season and his first in his new role on Sept. 7 when OSU travels to Blacksburg, Va., to open the season against Virginia Tech.