The moment of truth for former Ohio State star quarterback turned receiver Braxton Miller is nearing as he prepares to showcase his skills at the NFL Scouting Combine this weekend. The one-time Heisman hopeful will be under a microscope as he tries to prove himself to pro scouts.
“I’m coming to the combine to show that everything isn’t hype, it’s real,” Miller said. “I put the time, effort and dedication in on one thing, and that’s being the best receiver in this year’s draft. This is not a one-time thing for me. This is an opportunity for me to showcase my skills and athleticism without the ball in my hand. I’m going out there and be myself and just have fun.”
The Wayne High School graduate’s dream of playing quarterback in the NFL was derailed by an injury to his throwing shoulder during the 2013 season. He missed the 2014 season, which cost him his starting job. With his position uncertain when he returned to the field in 2015, the All-American struggled with his identity as a player.
“There were some mixed emotions about not playing quarterback heading into spring camp,” Miller said. “I questioned myself in the beginning. Am I a quarterback or receiver, what am I? I was all over the place. Right now, I’m good. Quarterback is out of the picture and a distant memory. I’m a receiver.”
Making the transition paid off for Miller in his final season with the Buckeyes. He finished the year with 26 catches for 341 yards and three touchdowns, and added 260 yards and a touchdown on 42 carries. He is Ohio State’s record holder with 88 career touchdowns.
NFL teams are intrigued by Miller’s athleticism and versatility, which he displayed at the Senior Bowl last month. The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder impressed scouts during the week of practice by taking advantage of some of the best defensive backs in the country in one-on-one drills.
After the Senior Bowl, Miller spent time in Florida training with Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter, a former Buckeye from Middletown, in preparation for the combine.
“I learned many nuances about playing receiver working with Cris,” Miller said. “Just to understand how to control your body and do certain things that I never realized would help me in the game. I believe learning those things will help me during drills.
“I was also able to pick Cris’ brain not only about football but life. We were able to talk about a lot of things. I took every bit of advice he gave me to heart because he overcame a lot. To be great you must learn from the great and he is the greatest. I have the secret recipe now and will never take my foot of the gas proving myself. It’s my time to shine.”