When Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller arrived on campus in Columbus as a freshman in 2011, he was a shy kid who felt extremely uncomfortable under the major college football spotlight.
After being thrown into battle because of the sudden departure of then starting-quarterback Terrelle Pryor — as well as being mentored by a positional coach and coordinator who really had no clue how to nurture his abilities — Miller's head was spinning like an F-5 tornado.
Two years later, he is still that same shy, humble person, but his mannerisms show a man who is in control and ready to be a leader of a national contender.
Second-year head coach Urban Meyer deserves all of the credit for Miller's growth as a leader.
Meyer recognized immediately that Miller's abilities as a football player and athlete were superior to most. However, the two-time national championship winning coach understands that talent may get you victories, but leadership will get you rings.
"That's going to be the difference," Meyer said. "The older I get and the better teams I've been around over this last decade of football, it wasn't the style of offense, it wasn't the style of defense, it wasn't the height, weight, size, how high you jump, how fast you run, it's the leadership within the program (that makes the difference)."
Knowing the importance of leadership to championship-winning teams, Meyer has implemented classes into his program's curriculum about that very topic.
"I think it's been about nine, ten weeks we've had leadership class for 19 players on our team, and we've had an outside group come in and work with us, our strength coach and myself," Meyer said. "Has been one of the most profound experiences I've been around as far as teaching these guys a systematic approach to teaching leadership, which we've always tried to teach it. It's never been this systematic."
Miller, more than anyone, has taken advantage.
"We watch videos," Miller said of the classes. "We hear people talk. Different people on the team talk. It helps a lot. I feel like I'm growing into the leader I should be."
Senior offensive tackle Jack Mewhort stated he has seen a huge difference in the Buckeyes' star quarterback since his freshman campaign two years ago.
"He's grown into an incredible leader," Mewhort said. "I knew him when he first got here and he was quiet. Never said a word. You'll catch him these days grabbing guys by the collar. Imposing his will on them, if you will.
"It's been really cool to see him grow up. I'm really proud of him. He's working harder than I've ever seen him work."
That should make every Buckeye fan giddy.