The Big Ten Conference hasn’t seen a Heisman Trophy winner come out of their league since Troy Smith took it home in 2006. That, however, is set to change in the upcoming season.
Braxton Miller is the Big Ten’s prime candidate to fix the recent Heisman drought occurring in the Midwest. Miller put up solid stats a season ago, throwing for 2,039 yards and running for another 1,271. His total touchdown count reached 28, and Miller led Ohio State to an impressive 12-0 season. The stat sheet will continue to explode for Miller as he enters his junior campaign with OSU.
Miller has an experienced o-line led by first team All-Big Ten Andrew Norwell and second team All-Big Ten Jack Newhort. On top of that, wide receivers Chris Brown and Devin Smith give Miller one of the best receiving units in the Big Ten. Bruising running back Carlos Hyde will take some of the pressure off Miller with a 1,000+ yard season.
After a successful first year in Urban Meyer’s system, Miller has matured and is ready to take the offense to new heights. Admittedly, Miller struggled throughout the 2012 season with his touch and poise in the pocket; however, another summer working one-on-one with Urban Meyer has prepared him for his 2013 Heisman Trophy run.
Looking at the competition, Miller is obviously facing off against the 2012 winner, Johnny Manziel. The Texas A&M gunslinger is attempting to do what only OSU great Archie Griffin has done, win back-to-back Heisman trophies. Undoubtedly, Manziel will put up quality numbers in his sophomore season, but in no way possible will he match what he did in his freshman season. The constant comparison to last season will hurt Manziel with the Heisman voters. Other Heisman candidates include Teddy Bridgewater, AJ McCarron, Jadeveon Clowney, among others.
Miller has all the tools necessary for a magical Heisman quest, but only time will tell if he utilizes them on the gridiron.