Five years ago Braxton Miller captivated the football in his debut at wide receiver.
Where were you on September 7, 2015?
I can remember everything about that day just as if it happened yesterday. I remember doing everything I needed to do to be glued to the TV for a prime-time kickoff to see Ohio State play Virginia Tech.
This just was not a regular-season opener. The Buckeyes were headed to Blacksburg to avenge defeat from the season before and there were storylines aplenty leading into the game. On top of that, it was a Monday kickoff, which was odd, because this was the first time in a long time where Ohio State opened their season playing on Labor Day. Like myself, football fans around the world were waiting to see the Buckeyes gear up for a back-to-back National Title run (Damn you, Ed Warriner).
Despite winning the inaugural College Football Playoff Championship there was a lot of speculation surrounding arguably the most talented Ohio State football team in school history.
Who would be the starting quarterback?
Cardale Jones led the team to the title, but J.T. Barrett was one of the top quarterbacks in the country before suffering a season-ending injury against the team up north. The quarterback conundrum was on the mind of Buckeye fans, but that was not the only quarterback that many were curious to see.
Once upon a time, there was a guy named Braxton Miller who rocked the No.5 and was one of the best players in the country. He played quarterback like no other. He threw rockets down the field and he was a highlight waiting to happen. He was a two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the year and was on pace to be the best quarterback in school history.
After suffering a shoulder injury in the 2013 Orange Bowl, Miller injured that shoulder again in training camp and missed the 2013-2014 season. While he was rehabbing his shoulder, he was secretly learning how to play Wide Receiver receiving tutelage from the M2S Boss himself, Zach Smith. Alongside Smith, Michael Thomas, and others, Miller fine-tuned his game enough to make one of the most exciting debuts at a new position that the game has ever seen.
Miller started the game with a bang. In the 1st quarter on 1st and 5, Miller hauled in a low grab as he laid out to make the play showing off his hands. From there, Miller changed the landscape of the game. As the Buckeyes were down 17-14 to Virginia Tech until Miller caught a 54-yard touchdown streaking down the sideline making Virginia Tech’s safety Desmond Frye look as if he was in quicksand.
With the Buckeyes up 21-17, Miller put the nail in the coffin on the next drive. While in familiar territory, Miller took a snap at quarterback and the rest is history.
Miller zoomed for a 53-yard touchdown, highlighted by the spin move heard ‘round the world. With some blocking help from Ezekiel Elliott, Miller hit the “B” button on Deon Clarke and Corey Marshall and Miller scampered to the end zone and secured his spot in the NFL as a wide receiver after his memorable performance. After a year away from the game, Miller accounted for 140 total yards, 2 touchdowns in his debut, and more importantly, he was back on the field donning the Scarlet & Gray.
In an interview with Bleacher Report in 2016, Miller stated, “For two months straight all I heard about was that spin. I did not hear anything about the catch I dove for to make my first career reception, or the other pass I caught for my first receiving touchdown. It was just the spin move.”
“I feel like that changed my life.”
September 7, 2015, is just a regular day to some, but for Miller, it hallmarked a rebirth for him as a football player and for football fans, it is a day where we saw one of the most exciting players in College Football history make his return. As Miller stated, it was a day and move that changed his life. Even five years later, a grown ass man like myself may pull off a spin move in aisle 3 at Kroger all because of Braxton Miller.
Thanks for the Memories.