Braxton Highlights All-Conference Candidates for OSU
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Braxton Miller is still working to become a proficient passing quarterback, but there are not many of those in the Big Ten right now.
No quarterback in the conference has run for more yards than Miller this season, but does that make him the top player at his position?
We take a look at some of the top players on Ohio State’s offense who could be in the running for all-conference honors at the end of the 2012 football season.
Photo by Jim Davidson
QB Braxton Miller (6-2, 220, So.) — If Miller isn’t the front-runner for Big Ten Player of the Year, he certainly has to be the top quarterback in the conference this season. Denard Robinson and Taylor Martinez are both putting up solid numbers, at least on the ground, but neither has been better than Miller this year. The Buckeyes are still undefeated, which is a testament to Miller’s progress from year one to year two at Ohio State. Miller’s rushing numbers (1,166 yards, 13 TD) dwarf those of Robinson (946, 6) and Martinez (666, 8).
Martinez (18) has more touchdown passes than Miller (14), but he also has two more interceptions. Robinson has nine picks this year and just nine touchdown passes. In fact, Miller’s toughest competition for first-team All-Big Ten might actually be Penn State’s Matt McGloin. Although he threw a costly pick-6 against the Buckeyes, he has the best passing numbers in the conference. McGloin has thrown for over 2,400 yards and 18 touchdowns this season with just three interceptions in nine games.
Photo by Jim Davidson
RB Carlos Hyde (6-0, 232, Jr.) — It’s always hard to crack the All-Big Ten teams at running back, especially when there are guys like Le’Veon Bell averaging nearly 30 carries per game up in East Lansing. Bell has already rushed for 1,249 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, but he has carried the ball almost twice as many times as Hyde, who is averaging more yards per carry than both Bell and Montee Ball. He is tied for the most rushing touchdowns in the Big Ten at 13 and leads the conference in total touchdowns with 14, despite missing 2.5 games with a knee injury. He would need two monster games to reach 1,000 yards this season. Bell and Ball have already reached that mark, but Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah is really the only other back who could get there in the Big Ten.
WR Devin Smith (6-2, 200, So.) — It’s amazing to think Smith could have just three catches in the last three games and still be a candidate for the all-conference team, but it says a lot about the receivers in the Big Ten. While he hasn’t caught a touchdown pass since the game at Indiana, Smith is still tied for fourth in the Big Ten with six TD catches this season. He is not among the top 25 in catches, but leads the conference in yards-per-reception at nearly 21.5 per catch. That’s good enough for No. 3 in the country this season. He’s only 9th in the B1G in receiving yards, but Smith is capable of going off for a couple big games to close out the season.
Photo by Dan Harker
Photo by Jim Davidson
WR Corey Brown (6-0, 186, Jr.) — It’s amazing how opposite Smith and Brown have been with their numbers this season. While Brown (48) ranks second in the Big Ten this season in catches, only to Penn State’s Allen Robinson, his 11.0 yards-per-catch averaged is all the way down at No. 24. He does have a rushing touchdown, but has scored only twice on passing plays all season. His 37-yard run and catch for a touchdown against Illinois may have been the best play of his OSU career.
OT Jack Mewhort (6-6, 312, rJr.) — It’s difficult to quantify exactly what Mewhort has meant to the Buckeyes this season, but it’s hard to believe there could be many better offensive tackles in the conference this year. His ability to move from guard to left tackle completely solidified things for Meyer on the offensive line, and he has been Ohio State’s most consistent performer up front all season. He can run block, he can pass protect and it’s hard to imagine where the Buckeyes would be without big No. 74 protecting Braxton’s blindside all season long. Ohio State is 11th in the conference with 22 sacks allowed this season, which could work against Mewhort in the all-conference selections, but a lot of that is Miller’s insistence on making something out of nothing.
C Corey Linsley (6-4, 295, rJr.) — Along the same lines as Mewhort, it’s tough to imagine where Ohio State’s offense without Linsley, the fulcrum, in the middle of that offensive line. He hasn’t had a perfect season by any means, but he went from being a guy they couldn’t put on the field a year ago to one of the better centers in the Big Ten. He’s not going to be first-team all-conference this year, but he at least deserves some consideration, especially considering the Buckeyes are the second-best rushing team in the conference.
Check out the Defensive candidates for POY.
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