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Debate: Which Ohio State player has best shot at Heisman?


Cardale Jones, Ezekiel Elliott and Braxton Miller each had highlight-reel moments in Ohio State's convincing opening weekend win over Virginia Tech. Of all of the Buckeyes' electrifying talents, which Ohio State player has the best chance to win the Heisman Trophy this season?

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  • Gil Brandt
  • Miller's dynamic talents make him prohibitive favorite

It has to be Braxton Miller. He's already been a two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year (2012-13). He missed the 2014 season with a shoulder situation, and renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews did the repair. In doing the repair, Dr. Andrews suggested to Miller that he find a different position. He didn't, however, suggest four different positions.

Miller was very impressive Monday night against a good Virginia Tech team in front of a national-television audience. Miller has great size (6-foot-2) and speed, and can catch the ball and has great skills as a runner after the catch. He also did a great job running out of the Wildcat formation. Ohio State might even eventually use Miller as a kick returner. Despite all of the talent on Ohio State's roster, this is a one-horse race with Miller as the winner.

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  • Charles Davis
  • Too many worthy candidates might prevent one from winning

None. I know, what a dumb answer about a program that has numerous, legitimate candidates. If anything happens to quarterback Cardale Jones early in the season, then J.T. Barrett becomes the candidate he was last year (top-five finish in the Heisman voting). Defensive end Joey Bosa might very well be the best player in the country, and his one-game suspension will not take him out of the running (remember Tyrann Mathieu of LSU went to New York City as a Heisman finalist despite being suspended for a game). Running back Ezekiel Elliott added punt returns to his repertoire at Virginia Tech, and if he keeps the job, it's another way for him to beef up his highlight reel. And, most people felt that he didn't get enough touches against the Hokies. Finally, Braxton Miller gave us big production on limited touches, and a "Heisman moment" play with the "Madden game-esque" spin move on his way to the end zone.

So, how do I get none from so many candidates? They might all be so good that they split too many votes, and allow other worthy contenders to amass a bigger block, and win the award. Taken individually, though, and you can make a case for each ... will their group efforts prevent one of them from carrying the hardware back to Columbus? Only time will tell.

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  • Daniel Jeremiah
  • Miller launched own Heisman campaign vs. Hokies

Prior to the opening game, Zeke Elliott would've been the obvious answer to this question. However, Braxton Miller stole the show against the Hokies and launched his own Heisman campaign in the process.

Miller compiled several "wow" moments as both a runner and receiver. His combination of skills is astounding, and he is going to be heavily featured in Urban Meyer's offense going forward.

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  • Lance Zierlein
  • Elliott has special ability to stand out among peers

Despite the tremendous start for Braxton Miller, I still believe that Ezekiel Elliott has the best shot of all the Buckeyes to win the Heisman. Elliott will get many more carries than he did against the Hokies moving forward, and he also showed why he's special when he did have his hands on the ball vs. Va. Tech. He has special ability to break tackles, create for himself and run away from defenders. Cardale Jones will always have J.T. Barrett breathing down his neck, and Miller will have to share touches with a variety of talented targets.

Although quarterbacks have come to dominate the Heisman Trophy voting, give the Buckeyes' best chance for a winner to running back Ezekiel Elliott. Cardale Jones and Braxton Miller could challenge if they both continue to play the way they did against Virginia Tech on Monday night. Over the course of the season, however, Elliott will get more touches than Miller and could once again approach the 1,800-yard season he had a year ago. Jones, though extremely effective, won't get enough pass attempts in the OSU offense to pile up numbers on par with some of the nation's other top passers.

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