Report: QB Miller returning to Ohio State for senior season
Jan 5, 2014 at 5:47a ET
Ohio State's season ended with a loss in the Big Ten Championship Game to Michigan State and a defeat to Clemson in Friday's Orange Bowl, but the Buckeyes should once again be a top team in 2014 because their starting quarterback reportedly is coming back for his senior season.
"Ohio State will be keeping two of its top players on the offensive side of the ball, however. Quarterback Braxton Miller and tight end Jeff Heuerman will both be returning for their senior seasons, a source said," Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel wrote.
Miller has enjoyed an impressive career in Columbus with a 22-2 record as the starting quarterback.
He's a tough matchup for defenses because of his ability to make big plays with his arm and in the running game. Miller threw for 2,094 yards with 24 touchdowns and seven interceptions this season, in addition to 1,068 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns.
Unfortunately for Ohio State, the junior quarterback didn't play well in the Orange Bowl. He threw for just 234 yards with two interceptions, one of which came on the Buckeyes' final drive and sealed the victory for Clemson.
Ohio State junior linebacker Ryan Shazier, however, has decided to give up his senior season to make himself available for the draft.
In a statement released by Ohio State, the first-team All-American said he just felt the timing was right.
''Playing in the NFL is something that I have been dreaming about since my days in pee-wee football,'' said Shazier, a 29-game starter for the Buckeyes. ''I just feel that now is the perfect time for me.''
A 6-foot-2, 230-pounder from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., he led the Buckeyes in tackles each of the past two seasons. His 143 tackles this season rank sixth nationally and in a tie for 13th on the Ohio State single-season charts.
His 22.5 tackles for a loss this year rank third nationally.
The Buckeyes won 24 games in a row the past two seasons before losing to Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game and to Clemson in the Orange Bowl on Friday night.
''I feel like my three years at Ohio State were about great relationships with coaches, my teammates and Buckeye Nation,'' Shazier said. ''Playing here was an amazing experience. It is really hard to explain the brotherhood I have with my teammates. They took care of me and were always there for me and I feel like we will be brothers for the rest of our lives.''
Shazier was named a first-team Associated Press All-American this past season, all-Big Ten (coaches and media), a Butkus Award finalist and Bednarik and Lott award semifinalist. USA Today, ESPN.com and Sports Illustrated also named him a first-team All-American after a campaign in which he tied Big Ten records with three conference defensive player of the week honors and with five for his career. He was twice named the Lott IMPACT Trophy national player of the week.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.