Guiton Not Ready To Become Coach Just Yet

For the past couple of years, Ohio State quarterback Kenny Guiton has been known as "Coach" for his knowledge of the offense and his leadership skills. But he's not ready to go by that nickname full-time just yet. Guiton worked out at OSU's Pro Day on Friday as he tries to continue his career into the professional ranks.

Even after leading Ohio State to a stunning comeback win during 2012's homecoming game vs. Purdue, even after being anointed the best backup quarterback in America by his coaches, Kenny Guiton faced football mortality last summer.

Going into his fifth and final campaign with the Buckeyes, Guiton looked at his progress to that point as a quarterback and came to the conclusion that a professional career might not be in the offing.

"I didn't know where my senior year was going to lead me or anything," he said at OSU's Pro Day on Friday. "At the time, I thought maybe football playing is just not for me, so I would go into (being a graduate assistant) and everything.

"But things change."

What changed specifically for Guiton was that starting quarterback Braxton Miller injured his knee early in the second game of the season vs. San Diego State, putting "the ole righthander" into the starting lineup. Things came quickly from there – three combined touchdowns vs. the Aztecs, four passing TDs including the longest in school history at Cal and then a school-record-setting six first-half touchdown passes vs. Florida A&M.

By the time the season was over, Guiton's statistics were almost comically good. Though he didn't start a game in the Big Ten season once Miller came back, Guiton finished the campaign 75 for 109 (68.8 percent) with 14 touchdown passes (that's one every 7.8 attempts) and just two interceptions while rushing for 330 yards and five more scores.

OK, so the competition wasn't exactly gangbusters, but the chance for No. 13 to show what he could do led him to believe a professional career could be in the offing.

"Definitely the beginning of the year," he said when asked why he's giving the pro life a shot. "Getting some hype, just getting to show off what I could do. That hype led me into saying, ‘Hey, I want to see what I can do at the next level.'

"I'm going to pursue it. Hopefully I have a long career in it and someday I would love to end up being a starter in the NFL, one of the best ever."

So there he was on the Woody Hayes Athletic Center field, competing with his 2013 Buckeye teammates in an attempt to catch an eye. He's not projected to be drafted by almost all pundits, but Guiton could end up earning a camp invite based on his sterling statistics, leadership skills and easygoing nature.

In fact, it's those intangibles – which have often impressed coaches, with quarterbacks coach Tom Herman saying during the fall that he'd buy stock in Guiton if he could – that Guiton is pushing to the fore.

"Leadership and just my mentality," he said when asked what he's selling to NFL teams. "My mentality, I'm going to come out every day with a great mentality – outgoing, joking around. I'm going to compete with whoever is the starter, whoever is the backup. I'm going to compete. It's going to be a lot of fun."

Asked about his showing in front of the assembled scouts, including representatives of each NFL teams, Guiton said it wasn't his best day but didn't seem too disappointed by his performance.

"I felt like I threw the ball OK," he said. "I felt like I ran pretty good and everything. I threw the ball OK, but there's always those few throws you wish you could have back. For the most part, I felt we did good. I had some receivers go make some plays for me out there, and it was fun to see."

And if the professional route doesn't work out, Guiton said he has a second plan in place – attempting to become a graduate assistant at the college level. Whether that would happen with Herman and head coach Urban Meyer at Ohio State or at another school remains to be seen based on timing, but the chance to continue working in Columbus would be on Guiton's radar.

"Definitely, that's my No. 2 thing right now," he said. "I want to play my NFL career and however long that'll last, and I want to go straight into GAing after that, straight into being a coach. I've talked to (the OSU coaches) about it. We would have to work some things out, but hey, I understand where they're coming from and they understand where I'm coming from, so we'll try."

No matter what happens, Guiton's ascent from three-star quarterback out of Houston who picked up an Ohio State offer just says before signing day in 2009 to potential NFL quarterback – not to mention beloved Buckeye – has made for quite a road to this point.

"I could have never imagined that journey," he said. "That journey was crazy. There were definitely a lot of ups and downs, but I'm here. God brought me through it all, so I feel positive."

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