We started with running backs and fullbacks then moved on to the receivers. Today we look at quarterbacks.
Total scholarship players: 3
Average age: Sophomore
Average star ranking: 3.3
Total returning starts: 10
Notable stats: Two players have combined to complete 85 of 159 passes for 1,164 yards, 13 touchdowns and five interceptions. On the ground, they have 163 carries for 736 yards and eight touchdowns.
2012 outlook: Of course, any discerning Ohio State fan probably knows almost all of those numbers belong to one player: Braxton Miller.
The Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne product left little doubt last season why he was a five-star recruit, but he also provided more than a couple of reminders he was just a freshman in 2011. Miller generally avoided bad decisions – he threw only four interceptions – but also became too apprehensive at times, causing him to hold the ball too long. He was sacked 39 times, a figure that looks worse when considering he only attempted 157 passes.
Miller was plagued by knuckleball passes from time to time and more than once missed open receivers on potential big plays, none more prominently than against Michigan when a ball intended for DeVier Posey sailed over the senior’s head late in the fourth quarter after he had beaten his man down the sideline.
This spring, however, Miller looked much improved in all facets of the game. He continued to flash his lightning quick feet when eluding tacklers, and he seemed much more certain of himself even as he joined the rest of the team in learning a new offense. Miller sounded more forceful calling the cadence, and he appeared to have ironed out some inconsistencies in his delivery that quarterbacks coach Tom Herman said were a result of poor footwork.
Meyer charged Miller with taking charge of the team, a challenged the sophomore seems to have taken to heart.
The head coach also came out of spring practice raving about the progress of Kenny Guiton, a junior who will back up Miller this year. Meyer was not pleased with Guiton’s demeanor or attitude when the coach arrived at Ohio State last December, but the Houston native impressed him with progress he made beginning in January.
Guiton lacks Miller’s physical gifts, but he has always been regarded as popular among his teammates and has the coaches’ confidence he can step in and run the offense if Miller goes down.
Where that leaves the last scholarship quarterback on the roster is anyone’s guess at this point. Cardale Jones enrolled at Ohio State in January after spending the fall at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia but saw very little time during practices open to the media. Herman expressed concerns about Jones’ mechanics early in the spring, and Jones saw no action during the public scrimmage late in the spring or the Scarlet and Gray game.
Everyone is scheduled to be around for at least two more years, but depth is a concern. The staff hopes to begin addressing that with a verbal commitment from 2013 four-star prospect J.T. Barrett of Wichita Falls (Texas) Rider in April.
They might like to have another signal caller join the next class, or they could wait until 2014 when Guiton will have exhausted his eligibility and Miller is eligible to enter the NFL draft.
Drew Barker of Hebron (Ky.) Conner has already started to draw attention among rising juniors.
Current status: Strong
Future outlook: Shaky