Miller Meyer's Biggest Get for 2014
By Rob Ogden
Urban Meyer's best recruiting job of the offseason might have been done not on a high-schooler, but on his starting quarterback.
Three-year starter Braxton Miller announced last month that he would return for his senior season, but Meyer said the possibility of Miller leaving for the NFL was very real.
After the Orange Bowl, coach and quarterback sat down to discuss the impending decision.
"I told him my opinion that he could become a very high draft pick if he continues to improve, and he said 'That's what I thought,'" Meyer said. "It wasn't much more than that. We met together as a family. Had a very positive conversation and made the decision.
"Never at one time do you say what should I do, because I wouldn't tell him. That's their business. But I gave my opinion as far as how much more he could grow as a quarterback."
Miller said prior to the bowl game that he thought he was ready for the NFL, but offensive coordinator Tom Herman said it's good for both parties that he's coming back.
“Oh, it's tremendously important for us and for him," Herman said. "I don't know that there was a whole lot of recruitment going on, to be honest with you. I think Coach Meyer would be the first to tell you that we want what's best for our guys. If in our heart of hearts we thought it would have been in his best interest to declare early, we would have told him and supported him. We gave him our honest opinion and said that we felt like it was important for him to come back and continue to get better. And hopefully if he continues to improve on the trajectory that he has, he's got a chance to go pretty high in the NFL Draft.”
Herman said all the advice Miller was given was pointing him towards returning for his senior year, so he didn't give too much thought to life without him.
But if Miller had gone, the Buckeyes would have had to turn to redshirt sophomore Cardale Jones or redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett.
Barrett said after the Orange Bowl that he didn't feel like he was ready yet to lead the team, but added "Thats why we got spring ball."
"To replace a dynamic like a Braxton Miller, what he can do with the football, with his feet, those are all kinds of things that are not coached," running backs coach Stan Drayton said. "A lot of what he does is not coached. That would have been devastating."
But with Braxton back, that's something the Buckeyes shouldn't have to worry about. Barrett and Jones will instead battle for the No. 2 job.
Receivers coach Zach Smith, who welcomed four new pass-catchers on signing day, is excited that the new guys will have the chance to catch balls from No. 5.
"It's huge," Smith said. "Braxton is a great player and my guys love having Braxton taking the snap. But having a guy like Braxton that is as talented a quarterback as I've ever seen, and if a play's not there or my guy doesn't get open, he can keep a play alive. The number of big plays that come from Braxton Miller's feet and then throwing the ball in a scramble situation, my guys love that.”
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