COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A different position won’t be the only new look for Braxton Miller when he returns to the practice field. One of the most decorated and most recognizable players in Ohio State history is switching up his jersey number as well.
Miller rewrote the record books for the Buckeyes at quarterback with his old No. 5, but after missing all of last season following two shoulder surgeries, both of those familiar things will be different when he makes his return at the start of training camp on Monday afternoon.
In what amounts to something of a fresh start, Miller, the wide receiver and H-back, is set to make his debut as No. 1 for the defending national champions.
“It’s a new beginning, a new start, and I felt like I needed to restart myself in the sense that I just needed a new change,” Miller told ESPN.com on Monday morning. “There’s a change in myself, I’m changing positions, changing what my future is and things like that.
“I just want a new beginning and a new era for myself.”
The previous one was among the most prolific both the Buckeyes and the Big Ten have ever seen, with Miller piling up gaudy statistics, dominating the awards circuit with a pair of Big Ten Player of the Year trophies and leading the program to an undefeated regular season in 2012.
Miller’s dazzling athleticism as a rusher and his skills as a passer helped make him one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in the country before his career was abruptly put on hold after he re-injured his shoulder during training camp a year ago. And with his shoulder still not yet fully healed in the offseason, his focus instead shifted to using his incredible speed, head-turning acceleration and uncanny juking ability to contribute to the Buckeyes elsewhere and perhaps set himself up for a smoother transition to the NFL down the line.
That process unofficially began nearly four months ago in near secrecy, but it will pick up some urgency now that camp has opened and Miller is once again back in a jersey -- albeit one with a new digit on it.
“Yeah, man, it’s going to be No. 1,” Miller said. “I changed my number because I feel like it’s a change for me, my family and Buckeye Nation. I just wanted a new start, restarting myself, and I don’t want to remember what happened a couple years ago with my shoulder situation. I’ve got some bad memories, so I just wanted something where I could move forward and look forward to with the excitement of a new beginning.
“Rocking No. 1, I feel like it’s me now. This is me, No. 1. One and only.”