Miller Captures B1G Freshman of the Year
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — It seems like just yesterday that Terrelle Pryor was capturing the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award for Ohio State.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Pryor’s career with the Buckeyes has come and gone. His early departure in Columbus opened the door for the next phase of Ohio State football, and his name is Braxton Miller.
Much like Pryor, Miller did not take over as the starting quarterback in Columbus until week four of the 2011 season, but that did not stop him from earning Freshman of the Year honors in the Big Ten.
On Wednesday, Miller was named the first-ever Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year in the B1G, which added Nebraska as the 12th member of the conference during the off-season.
“It is truly an honor to win this award, and it is definitely a surprise,” Miller said in a statement provided by Ohio State.
“I have to thank God, first, for blessing me with my abilities, and I want to thank my parents (Kevin and Kelly) for all their support through the years.”
It may have come as a surprise to Miller, who was just 4-5 as the starting quarterback this season, but it was not shock to anyone who saw him play. The rookie out of Huber Heights (Ohio) threw for 997 yards and 11 touchdowns during the regular season. He also ran for nearly 700 yards and seven more scores as Ohio State’s leading rusher in 2011.
Statistics don’t begin to tell the story for this kid, who captured the imagination of Ohio State fans, along with the confidence of his teammates.
“I look at this as a team award,” Miller said.
“So I also have to recognize my teammates, who put their trust in me and who helped me throughout this year on and off the field.”
Devin Smith hauls in the pass from Braxton Miller for the game-winning score against Wisconsin
Photo by Dan Harker
Miller can start by thanking his offensive line, but he might want to quickly move to fellow freshman Devin Smith. The young wideout from Massillon was on the receiving end of Miller’s game-winning 40-yard touchdown pass against Wisconsin.
It came in the final minute of the game, which turned out to be Ohio State’s brightest moment of the season. The fans rushed the field at Ohio Stadium to congratulate Miller and his teammates on the big victory.
Miller also led the Buckeyes on a last-minute comeback drive against Purdue. He connected with Jordan Hall on the game-tying touchdown with less than a minute on the clock, but Drew Basil’s extra point was blocked.
He had his coming out party two weeks later, however, with a career day in Ann Arbor. Miller threw for 225 yards and ran for 100 more, joining Pryor and Troy Smith as the only three quarterbacks in school history to pass for 200 yards and run for 100 in the same game.
Braxton Miller totes the rock for big yardage against Michigan
Photo by Jim Davidson
The youngster out of the Dayton area will receive his award this Friday in Indianapolis (Ind.) as part of the Big Ten Championship game festivities. The game will take place Saturday night between Wisconsin and Michigan State.
“I want to thank the Big Ten Conference and the gentlemen this award is named after - Mr. Darrell Thompson and Mr. Antwaan Randle El,” Miller said in his statement.
“It is an honor to win this award in their names."”
Miller joins the list of seven names that have won the Big Ten Freshman of the Year Award at Ohio State. He is the first since Pryor in 2008, but that list also includes some other big names from the last two decades of Buckeye football.
1990 Robert Smith, RB
1992 Kory Stringer, OT
1994 Orlando Pace, OT
1996 Andy Katzenmoyer, LB
2002 Maurice Clarett, RB
2008 Terrelle Pryor, QB
2011 Braxton Miller, QB
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