Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller enters his third season as one of the best players in all of college football. After a strong 2012 campaign in which he led the Buckeyes to a 12-0 record, he has to be an early favorite for the Heisman Trophy.
Last season, Miller finished with an Ohio State record 3,310 yards of total offense. He proved his ability as both a passer and a runner, throwing for 2,039 yards and rushing for 1,271. He totaled 28 touchdowns.
That strong-season performance landed him several honors, including the Big Ten’s Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year and the Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year awards. Miller was a finalist for the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award and also finished fifth in the Heisman voting.
Heading into this season, there’s no reason to doubt that Miller will regress. He’ll be the leader on a team loaded with talent that will likely start the year at or near the top of every poll. The fact that he’ll be in the national spotlight each week, coupled with strong performances, will put him securely in the minds of the Heisman voters.
Of course, there will be competition from another dual-threat quarterback. Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, who took the nation by storm as a freshman, won the Heisman last year and will try to repeat in 2013.
Both teams will no doubt be strong, though some would argue that the Aggies play a tougher schedule in the SEC. That could help Manziel if the race is close.
Regardless of who ends up winning the award, as there’s always a surprise that sneaks up, Miller has to be one of the top three candidates at the start of the season. Fresh off his solid season a year ago, he’ll be a favorite to continue to impress with his style and huge offensive numbers.