Buckeyes commit Jack Miller bouncing back, Brenton Cox situation

On3 imageby:Jeremy Birmingham08/06/19


Stay in touch or be left out because Ohio State recruiting is a 24-hour, seven-day-per-week obsession. What’s the latest news as the Buckeyes build for the future? Get that and more Sunday through Thursday on Lettermen Row. Tuesday’s notebook has an update on Jack Miller’s health and attitude heading into his senior season as well as thoughts on Georgia transfer Brenton Cox.

Jack Miller bouncing back, healthy and focused

It’s been a frustrating handful of months for Ohio State commitment Jack Miller.

The Buckeyes brought the 6-foot-4, 210-pound Arizona quarterback into their 2020 recruiting class last summer, and he has been a steady force since, helping the Ohio State staff as a behind-the-scenes, peer-to-peer recruiter. Miller’s efforts for the Buckeyes notwithstanding, the last year has tested him physically after a pair of injuries limited him during his junior season and again this summer.

The most recent injury, a nagging back issue that stopped him from fully participating at the Elite 11 in Dallas, was particularly difficult. As a young quarterback, there are few events that mean more than the Elite 11, and Miller felt he was capable of winning the event in a field loaded with the country’s best quarterbacks.

Now healthy, Miller has turned his focus toward a big final high school season and is doing it with a chip on his shoulder after seeing his national ranking tumble a bit. He’s now the country’s sixth-ranked pro-style quarterback after spending most of the spring checking in at No. 2. The truth is that the rankings don’t matter — but the perception that Miller isn’t an elite quarterback does.

“I motivate myself by wanting to win a state championship,” Miller told Ricard Obert of AZCentral.com. “I’m really not too concerned about the rankings or what some dude puts on me. I’m just worried about coming out here, competing with my boys and winning a state championship.”

Ohio State is still kicking around the idea of a second quarterback in the Class of 2020, and that’s fine with Miller. He’s had discussions with the coaching staff about it, and if that’s the avenue Ryan Day thinks Ohio State needs to go down, it won’t change the plan for Miller this fall.

It’s about winning a state title and getting himself to Ohio State as soon as possible so he can put himself in a position to compete for playing time in 2020 and a starting role in 2021. The first step to doing that for Miller is getting healthy — and staying that way.

Will Ohio State pursue Georgia transfer Brenton Cox?

On Monday, news broke that Georgia linebacker Brenton Cox had entered the transfer portal and would be leaving the program.

Cox, a former Buckeyes commitment in the Class of 2018, struggled in Athens on and off the field. He transitioned to linebacker at Georgia, a move that was a major piece of his decision to flip away from Ohio State. But he never adapted to the new position and was inconsistent during his appearances as a freshman. According to a source in Georgia, Cox never regained his footing throughout the spring and was falling behind on the depth chart for Kirby Smart.

He also had some legal issues that exacerbated his struggles, including an arrest for a misdemeanor drug charge. In short, Cox never “really seemed to fit in,” according to the same source close to the Bulldogs.

Naturally, when the news hit the wire on Monday that Cox was going to be leaving Georgia, speculation about his next destination began and included Ohio State.

larry johnson buckeyes-larry johnson football coach-larry johnson ohio state-larry johnson defensive line

Larry Johnson remains close to players he’s recruited whether they sign with Ohio State or not. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

At first blush, it would seem that the Buckeyes would pass on Cox given his decision to spurn the program at the last minute in the winter of 2017 and the aforementioned struggles he’s faced since. That said, Larry Johnson’s relationship with him was very strong. And similar to former Auburn and current Ohio State defensive tackle Antwuan Jackson, those relationships made in recruiting don’t just end when a kid signs elsewhere.

Adding to the intrigue here is that the Buckeyes are obviously searching for a talented edge rusher in the Class of 2020. Maybe if Cox played his natural position and for the coach he believed would make him a first-round NFL Draft pick, he could regain his old form.

I don’t think there will be any rapid reaction here from Ohio State. But after revisiting this interesting turn-of-events in my mind, I will concede that there’s at least a good chance the Buckeyes discuss Cox and debate if or how could be rehabilitated in Columbus to become a contributor for the Ohio State program.

Ohio State offers recent linebacker visitor

Ohio State offered linebacker Chief Borders on Monday night after the currently unranked Georgia athlete recently visited Columbus for the first time.

“I just got the news right after practice,” Borders told Lettermen Row on Monday night. “They offered me a full-ride scholarship to the Ohio State University. I am thankful and blessed for it.”

The offer from the Buckeyes is the 24th for the 6-foot-3, 211-pound McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.) High School star.

Clark Phillips, Jack Sawyer named All-Americans

On Monday we highlighted the USA Today All-Americans on offense, a list that included three current Buckeyes commitments. Early Tuesday, the nationwide publication released their picks for the defensive side of the ball, and a pair of Ohio State commitments were honored.

2020 cornerback verbal Clark Phillips III, a standout for La Habra (Calif.) High School, and 2021 Pickerington (Ohio) North 5-star defensive end Jack Sawyer were tabbed by USA Today. Sawyer, the country’s top-ranked rising-junior prospect, was one of just six non-seniors selected.

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