Ohio State junior quarterback Braxton Miller said Thursday that he will decide on whether he will return for his senior season after the Jan. 3 Orange Bowl against Clemson.
"I've really got to sit down and go through the pros and cons," Miller told the Chicago Tribune on Thursday. "I'll talk to my parents, take it slow, hopefully ball out on January 3rd and see what the scouts are looking at."
Miller won the Tribune Silver Football award, given annually to the Big Ten's best player in a vote of league coaches.
The Tribune quoted Miller as saying he was "getting tired" of the pounding and knows Ohio State will lose four senior starters on its offensive line.
One anonymous NFL scout told the Tribune that Miller "made a big jump from a season ago; his footwork is better. Coming back would certainly benefit him."
Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman also told the Tribune that Miller would benefit from staying in school.
"If he can make the same improvement as he did from last year to this," Herman said, "then the sky is the limit. We're talking about the first or second round. He has all the physical tools."
NFL Media draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah has written that Miller's throwing skills need significant refinement. Miller is an excellent athlete who is both quick and physical as a runner, but he never has shown much consistency as a passer.
If Miller does decide to leave early, there is no clear-cut heir apparent. Backup Kenny Guiton is a senior. Redshirt freshman Cardale Jones, who is 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, has seen mop-up duty in three games, throwing two passes and rushing 17 times. J.T. Barrett is redshirting this fall as a true freshman; some schools thought him a better cornerback prospect. The Buckeyes have one recruiting commitment from a high school quarterback, consensus three-star prospect Stephen Collier of Leesburg, Ga.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at email@example.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.