- Austin Ward, ESPN Staff Writer
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- There is no uncertainty about Ohio State's depth chart at quarterback this fall.
Assuming Braxton Miller returns next fall for his senior season as expected at this point, the Buckeyes won't be dealing with much doubt other than who will back him up in 2014 as well.
That race figured to be plenty heated after Kenny Guiton's graduation even without adding another passer to the mix, but Urban Meyer picked one up anyway on Friday when Stephen Collier (Leesburg, Ga./Lee County) snapped up an offer and effectively put his name in the ring as an option to take the keys to the spread offense from Miller whenever he moves on from the program.
Collier, an Elite 11 finalist with an invite to The Opening, will offer something of a different dynamic in the potential future quarterback derby, with both redshirt freshman Cardale Jones and true freshman J.T. Barrett more in the dual-threat mold that has come to be freely associated with Meyer's system. But the Ohio State coach doesn't necessarily need a burner taking the snaps if there is enough speed around his quarterback, with Alex Smith readily available as Exhibit A to prove that point.
At 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, Collier would at least provide some variety as the Buckeyes weighed their options down the road. But the competition is likely to be intense early in his career with Jones getting an extensive look during spring practice and showing how dangerous he can be as a tough-to-tackle rushing threat, and Barrett has already drawn rave reviews after just one spring camp for his ability to absorb the playbook and set a leadership example befitting a more experienced player.
Obviously both Jones and Barrett are already in the fold, and with good health ahead of them, will have the benefit of sitting and learning behind Miller and the highly-regarded Guiton this fall.
But even if Miller's professional stock takes off this fall and he rides that wave into the NFL a year earlier than anticipated, the Buckeyes are loading up on options to take his place.
Collier didn't waste any time taking a number and jumping in line.
4dDan Murphy and Austin Ward