Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller is out for the season after requiring surgery for a torn labrum he attained in practice. The Heisman hopeful was coming off surgery in the spring. He is planning on returning next year for his last year of eligibility.
This news comes two weeks from the start of the season. Ohio State were one of the favorites to make it to the first College Football Playoff. They have already lost key offensive players in Carlos Hyde and Corey Brown to the draft. Kenny Guiton would have been a very adept starting quarterback, but he has graduated and plays in the Arena Football League. The two main candidates to take over for Braxton are JT Barrett and Cardale Jones.
JT Barrett the favorite
JT Barrett is many people's favorite to start week one against Navy. Barrett is a 6'1" redshirt freshman from Wichita Falls, Texas. He was highly touted coming out of high school and was one of the finest dual threat quarterbacks in the class of 2013. He had 12 touchdowns, seven rushing and five passing in five games his senior year. He is an athletic quarterback that has a very good ability for reading defenses. His arm strength is not as good as Cardale or Braxton's but that can improve over time. Before Miller's injury he was expected to be the third string quarterback, but he has impressed Coach Meyer and offensive coordinator Tom Herman. They believe that the offense moves better and is smoother when Barrett is in.
What about Cardale Jones?
Cardale Jones is a redshirt sophomore that was the presumed starter if Miller was to go down in the spring. He went under the radar in high school, and was a consensus three star athlete on most recruiting sites. He is much bigger than Barrett, at 6'5" and 250 lbs. He has a rocket arm and is an impressive runner for his size. He is also a little bit more experienced than JT and played in three games last year. He gained 128 yards rushing on 17 carries (7.5 yards per carry) and had one touchdown. It seems that he has become the second string quarterback because he is not as consistent as JT at reading defenses and passing during practice.
Ohio State can still go far
Even though Braxton's injury is a huge loss for the team, they could end the season as conference champions. They always have a relatively easy schedule, in my opinion. The hardest teams they play this year seem to be Michigan, Michigan State, and Virginia Tech.
I predict them going 9-3 without their star quarterback. That would be another successful season for Urban Meyer. It is also good for the future of the Buckeyes football team because if Braxton changes his mind and goes to the NFL, they will already have a starting quarterback ready and able to perform at a high level.