Yesterday it was announced that one Buckeye player is staying, while one Buckeye coach is leaving.
First, the good news.
With Spring Semester classes that started on Thursday, quarterback Braxton Miller announced he will return for his senior season.
While it was expected that Miller would return, it wasn’t confirmed until yesterday. Ohio State has only two scholarship quarterbacks at this time, third-year sophomore Cardale Jones and redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett.
This past season, Miller was 162-of-255 passing (63.5%) for 2,094 yards with 24 touchdowns and seven interceptions after missing two full games and most of a third due to a knee injury.
“We look forward to having Braxton Miller return to this team for his senior season,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. “He has been an extremely valuable member of our team and he is also a fine student. His desire to lead our team to a championship, to earn his degree from The Ohio State University next spring and to continue to improve as a quarterback are his motivation.”
Though he was named the Big Ten Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year for a second-straight season, Miller struggled in the last three contests at the end of the 2013 campaign.
Against Michigan, Michigan State and Clemson where the Buckeyes lost two out of the last three, Miller completed just 50.0 percent of his throws for 468 yards with five TDs and three INTs.
With Miller staying on for his senior season, there are several school records that are attainable. Most notably, Miller needs 2,256 passing yards to top Art Schlichter’s school-record total of 7,547, six more touchdown passes to surpass Bobby Hoying’s record total of 57, and is 505 yards away from Ohio State’s total offense mark of 8,850 yards, also held by Schlichter.
“I want to help this team win a Big Ten championship next year,” Miller said in a statement issued through the university. “Plus, I want to improve as a quarterback in all aspects of my game. I’m looking forward to working for another year with (coach Urban) Meyer and (quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator Tom) Herman. And I want to graduate, so this will help get me closer to my academic goal.”
And the bad news?
Via Twitter, Ohio State’s defensive line coach Mike Vrabel is leaving for the National Football League to join Bill O’Brien’s staff and take over as linebackers coach for the Houston Texans.
Vrabel retired as a player from the Kansas City Chiefs after 14 seasons in the NFL on July 10, 2011, and became linebackers coach at Ohio State, joining his longtime friend and former college teammate, Luke Fickell, who was named interim head coach following the dismissal of Jim Tressel.
After Urban Meyer was hired as head coach in November of 2011, Vrabel was one of the assistants he retained, though Vrabel went from coaching the linebackers to the defensive line.
Something that will sorely be missed is Vrabel’s talents as a recruiter, which earned him a national Top 25 recruiter honor in 2013 from Rivals.com, and in 2012, Vrabel was named the ESPN.com Big Ten Recruiter of the Year.
Vrabel was a dominant performer for the Buckeyes while earning back-to-back All-American honors and twice being named Big Ten Conference Defensive Lineman of the Year (1995 and 1996). He was the first to win the lineman award two times.
Vrabel twice set the Ohio State single season record for sacks and tackles for loss (TFL) and he still holds school records for career sacks (36) and single season and career TFLs (26 in 1995 and 66). He ranks third all-time in the Big Ten in sacks and sixth in TFLs.