Neither labels nor positions can accurately define Ohio State’s Braxton Miller.
Miller was a Heisman contender in 2012 and 2013 at quarterback. Monday night in Ohio State’s 42-24 win over Virginia Tech, he looked every bit like a potential Heisman contender in 2015 at wide receiver.
Well, to be fair, that’s something of a misnomer. Braxton Miller lined up at wide receiver in the slot Monday, sure, helping clear the way for Cardale Jones to play quarterback. But Miller also lined up in the backfield, both as a running back and at quarterback in the single-wing formation.
In fact, Miller’s first time lining up behind center at quarterback — and it IS quarterback, not Wildcat, when run by Braxton Miller — came immediately after his first catch.
Braxton Miller’s position change wasn’t from quarterback to wide receiver. He moved from quarterback to all-around weapon.
He’ll almost assuredly finish 2015 with touchdowns in three phases. He’s already checked off two boxes, running in a score from behind center with a video-game spin move that led to pay dirt.
— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) September 8, 2015
He also beat a defensive back for a receiving touchdown, this time hitting the Hurdle button on his game controller.
— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) September 8, 2015
All that eludes him this season is a passing score. Make no mistake, it will happen. The real question: When will Braxton Miller score on a rush, reception and pass all in one game?
That’s the stuff of Reggie Bush’s 2005 Heisman campaign or LaDainian Tomlinson’s 2006 NFL MVP season. And, again, it’s more when than if.
It’s just one game, but Miller’s perhaps crafting a new blueprint for supplanted quarterbacks. The proliferation of quarterback transfers has created something of a free agent market in recent years.
Just look at this past offseason, when so much buzz emanated from Vernon Adams’ move to Oregon, Everett Golson going to Florida State and even Greyson Lambert heading to Georgia.
Braxton Miller was not immune to the chatter.
Should Monday’s performance be the first in a breakthrough season with Miller at his new position(s), there may be intrepid players at other programs willing and able to make the switch.
Of course, it’s that able part of the equation that dictates the likelihood of a similar move. Miller’s setting a high bar for any converted quarterback, because he’s a truly unique player.
It’s ironic it took a position change for me to truly appreciate just how special Miller is. Better late than never, and I suggest others do likewise — though I doubt folks who don scarlet and gray needed to read that from me.
For the rest of us, drink in Braxton Miller’s season. If he’s not the prototype for a new blueprint, he’s embarking on a historic season.