Ohio State QB Braxton Miller returning in 2014 as strong Heisman contender

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Ohio State may be losing their defensive line coach but they will have their starting quarterback leading the offense again in 2014. Braxton Miller will return to the Buckeyes for the 2014 season, according to Columbus Dispatch Ohio State beat reporter Bill Rabinowitz (via Twitter). this is absolutely the right decision given the way the 2013 season unfolded for Miller.

Had Ohio State run the table with a Big Ten championship and a bowl victory, perhaps things would have been different for Miller. With Ohio State dropping the final two games of the season, with a Big Ten championship game loss to Michigan State and a loss to Clemson in the Orange Bowl, the odds Miller would be back for the Buckeyes increased. Despite missing two games and most of a third last season due to injury, Miller finished eighth in the Big Ten in rushing with 1,068 yards and 12 touchdowns. there is no question what Miller can do with the football when he has to run, but potential NFL teams with interest will want to see how Miller does in improving his passing game.

Last season Miller was the Big Ten’s ninth highest rated passer but he did complete 63.5 percent of his passes for 2,094 yards and 24 touchdowns to seven interceptions. Coming back for another season could help Miller’s overall draft potential rise. Had he come out this season he would have been likely to be a mid-round draft pick at best and there would have been little chance he would be one of the first quarterbacks drafted in a seaosn that sees Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel leave early and Blake Botrles seeing his stock rise.

As for the college game, if healthy, Miller should start the 2014 season as a strong Heisman candidate. Miller’s Heisman chances were sidelined with his injury problems early on, but the two-time Big Ten offensive player of the year, but returning with as much experience behind him as he has and the potential for Ohio State to make another run for a Big Ten title will keep him in the early mix.