Thursday, February 3, 2011

BRAXTON MILLER IN '11, CARDALE JONES IN '12: OSU SEEMS SET AT QB

Braxton Miller
(The Buckeye Times/Joe Stueve)
COLUMBUS — When Huber Heights (OH) Wayne star quarterback Braxton Miller committed to Ohio State last June, he said one of the major reasons he declared to the Buckeyes so early was that the coaching staff told him he would be the only quarterback offered for the class of 2011.

Miller — who is already enrolled at Ohio State — has a great possibility of being the Buckeyes starting quarterback in the team's first five games this fall, while senior Terrelle Pryor serves a suspension handed down by the NCAA.

What seemed like sort of a retraction to the promise given to Miller — on National Signing Day Wednesday — the Buckeyes inked another outstanding quarterback prospect in Cardale Jones, a 6-foot-5, 230-pounder from Glenville High School in Cleveland.

Now before everyone starts piling on the Ohio State coaching staff for breaking their word to Miller by picking up another signal caller, Jones is actually going to gray-shirt in 2011, making him the Buckeyes top quarterback recruit for the class of 2012.

Cardale Jones
Ohio State quarterback coach Nick Siciliano said Wednesday that the Buckeyes just couldn't pass on picking up Jones, who they felt was the second-best signal caller in the country behind Miller.

"We were very fortunate here at Ohio State to be able to take two quarterbacks this year of which we're going to separate them by calendar year," Siciliano said Wednesday of Miller and Jones. "We thought that these were the two best quarterbacks in the country. They just happen to be both from our state, so we felt like we had to go out and get both of them."

Buckeyes head coach Jim Tressel said that separating Miller and Jones will allow each player to receive the proper repetitions they need to develop as passers.

"I think repetitions at that (quarterback) position are important," Tressel said. "We talked about separating Braxton and Cardale from a year stand point because how do you get good if a guy gets seven reps in a practice?"

Tressel stated that Miller being enrolled at Ohio State early will allow him every opportunity to compete for the starting job right away.

"Coming in early and getting those reps is huge," Tressel said of Miller. "Because you get not just scrimmage reps or spring game reps, which people will see at the outset, but I'm talking everyday in practice and every individual drill and every perimeter drill, every drill throwing one-on-one. You can't beat experience."

Siciliano loves what he has seen out of Miller thus far.

"Braxton is a very dynamic player," Siciliano said. "He has a very strong arm, great feet, has very quick hands from the quarterback position. Does a great job of keeping his eyes down field and getting the ball to the guy who needs to get the ball as quickly as possible. He's able to run the football, as well. He understands that he has to get north and south as quickly as he can.

"Most important thing we liked about Braxton was his leadership abilities. He's very calm and reserved as he's playing the game of football. He doesn't show a lot of emotion, good or bad, he's just out there trying to get the job done."

Siciliano also has nothing but great things to say about his top passer from the 2012 class.

"Cardale's a bigger guy, very strong arm, very athletic kid," Siciliano said. "He plays the game hard, plays the game fast."

What the Buckeyes quarterback coach loves the most, though, is the two passers are proven winners.

"The one thing about both (Miller and Jones) is they've won a lot of football games for their high school teams," Siciliano said. "They played a lot of football, won a lot of football games. One of the ways we judge quarterbacks here on the recruiting end is we need to make sure they can be a good leader and win some football games for their football team.

"If you have a great quarterback, you've got a great chance of winning a lot of football games."

With players like Miller and Jones at the helm, the Buckeyes look to have "a great chance of winning a lot of football games" for years to come.

Listed below is the Bio of each quarterback (issued by the university) ...

Braxton Miller (QB, Wayne HS, Huber Heights, Ohio): Highly-rated quarterback who led Wayne High to the Division I state title game ... passed for 2,167 yards, 17 TD, and rushed for 658 yards, 17 TD, as a senior for Coach Jay Minton ... career record of 31-7 over three seasons ... Ohio Mr. Football finalist and first team all-state ... Under Armour All-American ... basketball letterman ... son of Kelly Miller and Kevin Miller ... enrolled at Ohio State in January.

Cardale Jones (QB, Glenville HS, Cleveland, Ohio): Quarterback prospect from perennial power Glenville ... 24-3 as a starting quarterback for Coach Ted Ginn ... passed for 1,689 yards, 22 TD as a senior ... 14 career rushing TD ... MVP of the Offense-Defense Bowl ... Big 33 Game ... also a basketball letterman ... son of Florence Jones.