In an interview with Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated, Braxton Miller announced his plans to switch from playing quarterback to playing in the receiver position for Ohio State. Miller was originally to have competed for the starting QB slot with J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones.
Miller first discussed the possibility of the switch with the team's strength coach in April. He approached coach Urban Meyer with the idea one month later. Within a couple weeks, he was meeting J.T. Barrett on the practice field after sunset to practice catching balls. Miller missed the entire last season due to a shoulder injury and was secretly looking for a fallback plan.
Miller will play H-back, which is a hybrid receiver position, next season. He plans to spend 20% of the time during training camp as a quarterback and the other 80% as a receiver, in case he decides to try making a comeback as a quarterback. Miller estimates he would need two more months to be fully ready to quarterback, so right now he is focused on the receiver position.
The Buckeyes are favored to win a second consecutive national championship. This move should strengthen the team and automatically eliminates one-third of the controversy surrounding the quarterback position.
The move has energized the coaching staff because they see Miller as a versatile player. He can catch passes, catch bubble screens, accept shovel passes and throw the ball on the occasional trick play from the H-back position. He has already shown a talent for catching passes and returning punts.
Miller was in the top 10 for Heisman Trophy voting when he joined the Buckeyes for the 2012-13 season. He was so explosive running out of the pocket that his tailbacks had a difficult time keeping up with him.
An injury during the Orange Bowl in 2013 forced him to sit out last season. He underwent a second surgery after reinjuring the shoulder in August.
Miller joins Mike Thomas, Jalin Marshall, Curtis Samuel and Dontre Wilson on the Buckeyes' receiving squad. Zach Smith, the team's receivers' coach is expecting Miller to transition smoothly because he is already familiar with the playbook after playing quarterback.
Miller asked Coach Meyer to keep the switch a secret even though he has been set on the swap for almost three months. According to Miller, fewer than a handful of players knew what he was up to and he wanted to recover from his injury before letting everyone else know his plan. When it comes to the NFL Draft in 2016, Miller wants the professional teams to consider him as a player able to serve in both positions. That versatility should make him more attractive to more teams. For now he will look forward to suiting up at the H-back position for the team's season opening game against Virginia Tech on September 7.
For Miller, it is all about looking forward and striving to be the best athlete he can possibly be. He publicly thanked the individuals who supported him through his injury and said he is ready to make some highlights.