COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State star quarterback Braxton Miller will miss the 2014 season, dealing a severe blow to the fifth-ranked Buckeyes’ national-title hopes.
Ohio State confirmed late Tuesday afternoon that Miller reinjured his throwing shoulder and will need surgery. The two-time Big Ten player of the year left practice in pain Monday after making a short throw and was not hit on the play.
“My goal is to come back from this injury stronger and better than ever,” Miller said in a statement.
It’s a huge blow to a team considered to be one of the best in the Big Ten and the country, one which already has several major holes to fill on offense.
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“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.”
The senior and three-year starter partially tore the labrum in his right shoulder in a loss to Clemson at the Orange Bowl. He had surgery, did not face contact in spring practice and was held out of several practices this month due to soreness.
Redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett is Miller’s top backup and will likely be the starter in the Aug. 30 opener against Navy in Baltimore.
Miller said he was on schedule to graduate with a degree in communications in December and that he also wanted to attend graduate school, “and then return to lead the Buckeyes next season.”
Miller’s options would include taking a medical redshirt and returning to Ohio State for one more season in 2015, or rehabbing the injury and making himself available for the NFL draft in the spring. He toyed with the idea of turning pro last spring but decided against it because the shoulder surgery might have hurt him with pro teams.
Kirk Herbstreit, the ESPN analyst and former Buckeyes quarterback, had picked his alma mater to win the national championship, apparently unconcerned about a green offensive line. Without Miller, Herbstreit said Ohio State is “probably a 10-2, 9-3 type of team.”
“This is as devastating an injury as any team in the country could have had to take,” Herbstreit said. “(Florida State’s) Jameis Winston, (UCLA’s) Brett Hundley, (Oregon’s) Marcus Mariota, Braxton Miller.”
With a schedule that includes games at defending Big Ten champion Michigan State on Nov. 8, at Penn State on Oct. 25 and a Sept. 6 date at home against Virginia Tech, the Buckeyes are suddenly confronted by a lot of question marks.
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