COLUMBUS, Ohio - The worst-case scenario has happened for Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller. A Tuesday MRI has revealed that Miller has reinjured his right shoulder and will require surgery and will miss the entire 2014 season for the Buckeyes. Miller suffered a partially torn labrum on the same shoulder less than nine months ago.
Ohio State University made the announcement by way of press release on Tuesday evening.
"My thoughts and prayers are with Braxton and his family," Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said. "This is an unfortunate injury to a young man who means so much to this program and to Buckeye nation."
The injury reportedly occurred during a non-contact portion of Monday's practice while Miller was throwing a routine short pass in the flat when his shoulder gave out. Miller has dealt with injuries throughout his football-playing career but none as serious as this one. Miller has seen a pair of Heisman Trophy campaigns derailed by injuries and now his 2014 season is over before it ever gets a chance to start.
"I love Ohio State and Buckeye nation, and my goal is to come back from this injury stronger and better than ever," Miller said in the press release. "I am on course to graduate in December and I want to attend graduate school, and then return to lead the Buckeyes next season. In the meantime, I want to give all the support I can to my coaches and teammates as they chase a championship this season."
The Ohio State quarterback underwent off-season surgery after the Orange Bowl loss to Clemson on his throwing shoulder and was in a sling for all of spring practice and was unable to throw a ball until the summer. J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones got the first team reps in his place and were seeing a good amount of the physical reps through fall camp as Miller was being brought along slowly for what was being called "volume reasons" by Meyer and Tom Herman.
Miller passed for 2,094 yards and 24 touchdowns during the 2013 season and has rushed for more than 1,000 yards each of the past two seasons. Miller has accounted for 84 touchdowns during his three-year Ohio State career (52 pass, 32 rush) and had seen a steady increase in his passing numbers with each progressing season.
The Buckeyes will be without backup Kenny Guiton who graduated after the 2013 season and is now a member of the Los Angeles KISS of the Arena Football League. Guiton stepped in for Miller in the 2013 season for nearly three full games (San Diego State, California and Florida A&M) and led Ohio State to three wins during that absence.
The loss of Miller will put the ball in the hands of Barrett who recently moved up to No. 2 on the quarterback depth chart. The Ohio State coaches stated that they felt that the offense worked better with Barrett under center but likely had no idea that Barrett was going to be thrust into the fire this rapidly.
"The offense moves better when (Barrett) is in there," Herman added. "You can throw all the completion percentages, he is probably completing more balls and making more of the right reads and more of the right reads in the run game but at the end of the day the offense moves when he is in and sometime it doesn't as much (with Cardale), not that Cardale is doing a bad job, but the offense moves more frequently when J.T. is the quarterback and that is the sign of a good one."
Barrett was rated as a 4-star recruit coming out of high school and was the No. 152 player in the nation according to Rivals.com. Barrett picked Ohio State over offers from schools like Arizona, Baylor, Ole Miss, Nebraska and Texas Tech to name a few.
Between Barrett and Jones, the Buckeyes quarterback corps has a combined two pass attempts (one completed) between them. It is a steep drop-off replacing the two-time Chicago Tribune Silver Football winner, presented to the Big Ten's MVP.
The Buckeyes won't have time to feel sorry for themselves with the season opener barreling down upon them with Navy waiting in the wings on August 30th in Baltimore (Md.).
We will have more on this breaking news as it develops. Keep it locked in here at BuckeyeGrove.com for all the latest news on the Buckeyes.