Ohio State's Braxton Miller throws during the first half of a Big Ten Conference championship NCAA college football game against Michigan State, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Indianapolis.
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Ohio State's outlook for next season improved considerably with a report from Sports Illustrated that star quarterback Braxton Miller will forgo the NFL draft to return for his senior year.
While the magazine said junior All-American linebacker Ryan Shazier will leave early, Miller’s return means Ohio State will enter the 2014 season as one of the nation’s top teams despite facing outsized questions. The two-time reigning Big Ten offensive player of the year would again be an early Heisman Trophy frontrunner.
An OSU spokesman said he was unaware of Miller’s decision and could not confirm the report, which cited a source inside the program.
If true, Miller’s return provides the Buckeyes with an upbeat ending to a gloomy week capped by their 40-35 loss to Clemson in the Orange Bowl.
Though Miller is projected as a potential mid-round selection in a deep class of quarterbacks, he dropped strong hints he was leaving early. He told reporters last month he believes he is ready for the NFL and is tired of enduring big hits. Miller, who passed for 2,094 yards and 24 touchdowns and added 1,068 yards and 12 scores on the ground, was sacked five times in an uneven performance Friday and later described his pain from a cracked rib and a bum right shoulder as a nine on a one-to-10 scale.