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December 3, 2012

Miller left out of Heisman presentation

Follow Noon | Givler | Axelrod | Birmingham

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- We weren't sure of it at the time, but the highlights from Ohio State's perfect season in 2012 stopped on the field two weeks ago, with the Buckeyes' 26-21 win over Michigan.

That's because, as it turns out, Braxton Miller will not be making the trip to New York for the presentation of the Heisman Trophy.

The Big Ten's Offensive Player of the Year did not make the cut of the three players selected to travel to the 'Big Apple' for the announcement of college football's most prestigious award, which is presented annually to the country's most outstanding player. Instead, it will be Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, and Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein sitting inside of the Best Buy Theater in Times Square when the 77th Heisman Trophy is presented.

Miller missed out on the trip to New York after breaking Ohio State's single season total offense record, amassing 3,310 yards and 28 touchdowns (15 passing, 13 rushing) while leading the Buckeyes to a 12-0 record. The sophomore quarterback's passing numbers were not as impressive, however, as first-year OSU coach Urban Meyer would have liked them to be, with Miller completing just 58.3 percent of his pass attempts.

Comparatively, Manziel gained a combined total of 4,600 yards passing and rushing with a completion percentage of 68.3, accounting for 43 touchdowns (24 passing, 19 rushing) en route to a 10-2 record for the Aggies. Meanwhile, Klein posted 3,380 total yards, a 66.2 completion percentage, and scored 37 touchdowns (15 passing, 22 rushing), while leading the Wildcats to an 11-1 record and a Big 12 Championship.

Miller appeared to be on track for an invite to the Heisman Trophy ceremony midway through the season, but struggled statistically in games against Purdue and Wisconsin. The Big Ten's Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year made a plethora of Heisman-worthy plays throughout his sophomore campaign, and even earned a late-season endorsement from Meyer, who coached 2007's Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow at Florida.

"Do I believe he's a Heisman candidate? I do. I didn't say that before," Meyer said following the Buckeyes' win over Penn State on Oct. 27. "From just sheer production of a team that's 9-0, it puts him in that category, and that's without knowing the other candidates."

Manziel is the frontrunner to win the award, after posting historic numbers as a redshirt freshman in Texas A&M's first season in the SEC. That's okay with Miller, who has admired from afar what the player nicknamed "Johnny Football" has been able to accomplish this season in College Station.

"He's the real deal," Miller said of Manziel. "He had a heck of a season."

With three years of eligibility remaining, Maziel appears to be the most serious threat to become the first player to win two Heisman trophies since Ohio State running back Archie Griffin won the award in 1974 and 1975. But should Miller improve in the offseason and reach the potential that both he and Meyer think he has, he could very well be in New York in 2013 to stop that from happening.

"I just gotta keep working hard," Miller said. "You never know what to expect at the end of the season."



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