Ten things you might not know about Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller as the Buckeyes begin practice for the 2014 season on Monday:
1. He started playing organized football when he was 5 years old and living in Springfield. His team was so good that some opposing coaches demanded to see birth certificates.
“Every time we traveled to play a game coaches thought we were older than we were. They wanted to see our birth certificates. We were so big, so fast and so talented everybody was like these guys are not 5 or 6 years old, they’re like 12 years old,” he said at the Big Ten football media days last week.
2. He didn’t expect to start at quarterback as a freshman at Ohio State.
“I was planning on redshirting. I was like, ‘Wow, I guess I’m the starting quarterback now.’ It probably would have been a good idea to redshirt me but I was thrown into the fire and I played,” Miller said.
3. His escape from the pressure that comes from playing big-time college football with the national spotlight on him is to do outdoors things.
“I like to go fishing, I like to go the reservoir that’s in my hometown. I like to go four-wheeling. The outdoors is where I get away from being Ohio State quarterback,” he said.
4. The quarterback who runs without any apparent fear is kind of afraid heights.
Miller admitted he is not a fan of heights but when offensive coordinator Tom Herman took some of the Buckeyes zip lining as a team building experience he went along.
“I showed up. It turned out pretty good,” he said.
5. When he first saw Herman’s playbook in 2012, he found it a little bit intimidating.
“It was like a Harry Potter book. It kept going and going and going,” Miller said.
6. Miller and Ohio State defensive lineman Michael Bennett played against each other twice during their senior year in high school.
Miller’s Huber Heights Wayne team beat Centerville and Bennett 34-10 during the regular season, then won 36-33 in double overtime in a regional semifinal in the playoffs. Miller threw for 225 yards and two TDs during the regular season and had 223 yards and two TDs passing and ran for the game-winning touchdown in the playoff game.
7. Miller has met his share of famous people but don’t expect to see pictures on social media.
“I don’t take pictures of guys I meet. Social media gets you in a lot of trouble,” he said.
8. Ohio State set up a version of ESPN’s Gruden Quarterback Camp this summer for Miller. Former NFL general manager Bill Polian and Herman fired questions at him.
“It worked out pretty good. It simulated what was going to happen when I go to (NFL training) camp, the NFL combine, the draft. They put me through a lot of situations. It really surprised me — how fast they want you to answer questions, how intimidating you’ve got to be. You can’t be distracted,” he said.
9. He’s not a hermit but he likes to have a sense of security off the field, just like on the field.
“I try to stay out of the limelight, I try to stay out of trouble,” Miller said.
“I go out sometimes. People probably don’t recognize I go out because I don’t get into trouble. I bring guys that are in my circle who take care of situations. If I go to a bar or something like that, I don’t interact with any nonsense. ”
10. He likes to watch the reactions of high school recruits when LeBron James shows up for an Ohio State game.
“They’re like, ‘Really? LeBron is here?’ They’re so shocked they forget about us playing at night,” he said.