Christopher Smith

Report: Shazier To NFL, Miller To Return For Buckeyes

Created on Jan. 05, 2014 2:20 AM EST

Linebacker Ryan Shazier is headed to the NFL, but quarterback Braxton Miller will return to Ohio State for his senior season, Sports Illustrated reported Saturday.

That's terrific news for Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes, which won 24 consecutive games before losing to Michigan State and Clemson to end the season.

Shazier (6-2, 222) entered the Orange Bowl with a team-best 134 tackles and 22.5 tackles for loss. Even with Shazier, the linebackers played poorly at times this season and the defense allowed 74 points in two postseason games.'s David Seigerman has hinted the Buckeyes stud could be a first-round pick.

The loss stings, but if Ohio State could retain one or the other, they're happy to have Miller. The quarterback threw just two passes in the first three weeks of September due to a knee injury, but still threw one more pass than he did in 2012, posting slight improvements in completions and yards.

Miller also accounted for a career-best 36 touchdowns and improved his rushing average to 6.2 yards per carry, a career best.

With senior running back Carlos Hyde headed for the NFL, Ohio State's offense welcomes Miller back with open arms. Backup Kenny Guiton played fantastic when Miller was out, but he was a senior in 2013 as well.

As expected, tight end Jeff Heuerman will return as well rather than enter the draft, SI reported.

Along with Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota and current winner Jameis Winston at Florida State, Miller will enter the 2014 season as a strong Heisman Trophy contender.

Ohio State will play in the Big Ten's East Division in 2014 after the new realignment along with Michigan State, the team that beat the Buckeyes in this season's conference championship. Michigan, Maryland and Rutgers, all bowl teams in 2013, also will play in the East Division.

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