Ohio State isn’t going to have to worry about quarterback for at least two recruiting cycles. After landing Dwan Mathis one week ago, locking up their 2019 QB spot, they found their man in 2020 just minutes ago, as Jack Miller announced his commitment on Twitter. The fact that Miller, a longtime Buckeye target, made his commitment official and public more than a year before he will have the opportunity to officially sign with Ohio State is a huge deal.
One of the most important things to do in college football recruiting is to find class leaders, or guys that can help recruit their peers to their schools. They can be any position, but generally, you’ll find them a lot of them at quarterback. Miller fits that role perfectly, and he will serve as the member of a movement in Ohio State’s 2020 class that already has a ton of hype.
Urban wants to land his first top-ranked class at Ohio State in 2020, and Miller will be a huge part of that. In addition to being an excellent leader off the field, Jack has quite a bit of talent on it. Let’s take a look at everything Ohio State is getting in the Arizona signal-caller.
On the field
Jack Miller is exactly the kind of quarterback that Ohio State has been looking for since bringing Ryan Day and Kevin Wilson in. He’s a pass first quarterback, with a lot of arm talent and natural touch. He is capable of running, but he’s never going to light the world on fire with his legs, he’s not Braxton Miller or J.T. Barrett by any means.
He has a pretty impressive distance ceiling hovering right around 50 yards, which is about as good as you’ll find in a 16-year-old quarterback. His arm strength will only get better with age, and seeing him understand how to get distance on his throws at a young age is super encouraging. Add on the fact that his deep balls rarely wobble or hang in the air, and it’s pretty easy to see why Day loves his game.
On top of a good ability on deep passes, Miller shows a ton of zip on his shorter and intermediate passes. I don’t think he has elite zip, like you’d see in the NFL, or even on the level of someone like Dwayne Haskins, but like with his strength, the zip on his shorter passes will come in time. For now, he’s able to complete passes in fairly tight spaces, and doesn’t give the defense much of a chance to make plays on underneath routes. That’s a great thing.
However, Miller’s arm talent or strength isn’t his greatest attribute. I don’t think he’ll ever be an elite thrower, and I don’t think he has extremely rare arm talent. That’s the kind of thing that someone is born with, and I just don’t think Miller has it. What he does have is excellent touch, accuracy, and football IQ.
His forte is intermediate passes, either across the middle or on the sidelines, because he’s fantastic at dropping passes into the only place a receiver can get it. He’s a quick processor, which means he’s able to read defenses and make decisions at a great rate, which compensates for more mistakes in his actual passes. He’s very smart with the ball, and can make just about any throw within 25 yards.
Like every young quarterback, Miller does have some strange quirks and a few issues. The most glaring one— and the only one I’m actually worried about— is his throwing motion. He gets great arm extension, but he does it in a way that you really don’t like to see in a college or pro quarterback. He, like every other quarterback, has a windup. Unfortunately, it’s much longer than most.
That’s an issue. A quick windup vs. a long windup can be the difference between a sack and a completion, or even between a completion and an interception. The extra milliseconds it takes for Miller to drop his shoulder and load up will absolutely hurt him against great defensive lines or cornerbacks.
The biggest issue with a long windup is that it’s not really a quirk, or a bad habit. It’s a mechanical issue, and no matter what quarterback gurus that live near a beach and own pool floaties say, mechanical issues are extremely difficult to fix. Often, trying to repair or shorten a long windup can completely break a quarterback. It’s a risky, time consuming process, and generally, college teams don’t bother with it. I don’t think it’ll be any different here.
Now, I don’t want to give out the wrong idea here. Long windups aren’t good by any means, but this isn’t the end of the world. Plenty of quarterbacks have long windups and turn out just fine in college football. The most famous example is Tim Tebow (Miller’s is nowhere near that bad), but I’d say that the majority of college quarterbacks struggle with it. Tebow was one of the best college quarterbacks of all time, and while I’m not ready to predict that for Miller, his extended windup will not make or break his college career. He should be just fine.
In the class
Miller is the fourth member of the 2020 class. He joins Jake Wray, Lejond Cavazos, and Paris Johnson Jr, with the latter two both committing in the past week. As I mentioned, there is a ton of excitement— both at Ohio State and amongst recruits— about what the Buckeyes are building in 2020. I mentioned it in Paris Johnson Jr’s impact piece as well, but Ohio State really does think that they could have an all-time class on their hands here.
And, the Buckeyes might be in for two more big commitments sooner rather than later. There have been plenty of rumblings about Cavazos’ teammate at St. Thomas Aquinas, linebacker Derek Wingo, joining the class, and that could reasonably happen at just about any time in the coming weeks. Miller’s commitment could bring on the second potential commitment, as I expect that his high school running back, Darvon Hubbard, will be a Buckeye before summer is over.
Miller’s pledge puts Ohio State behind just Miami in the 2020 class rankings. Admittedly, that means absolutely nothing right now, but to be that high up with just four commits is extremely impressive. With some of the targets left in this class that are considering Ohio State, it’s easy to see why excitement is high.
You can watch Miller’s highlights below, and read more about this commitment here.