Sep 7, 2013

America’s Most Famous Backup Quarterback (K. Guiton)

The most famous backup quarterback in America may be Ohio State fifth-year senior Kenny Guiton.

Guiton became a hero to many Scarlet and Gray-clad fans after leading a come-from-behind overtime win against Purdue last season to preserve the Buckeyes’ undefeated season.  After starting quarterback Braxton Miller left the game with an injury late in the third quarter, Guiton engineered a touchdown drive and successful two-point conversion attempt in the final minute of the game. He followed it up with a game-winning march to the end zone in overtime.

The comeback has been the defining moment of Guiton’s Buckeye legacy so far, a career that has seen its share of ups and downs. A last-minute addition to Ohio State’s 2009 recruiting class, Guiton, a native of Houston, Texas, struggled to climb the depth chart during his first three seasons and his future with the Buckeyes was uncertain entering the 2012 campaign. The arrival of a new staff, however, brought new life to his OSU career.

“I really made a connection with the staff when they got here and I rededicated myself to getting better,” Guiton said. “Everything seemed to click last season. I learned a lot from the coaches and really developed my game.”

Guiton’s improvements during the past year have been so recognizable, Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman stressed his potential to be “the best backup quarterback in America” during spring practice. Affectionately known as “Coach Guiton” in the locker room, he is admired for his leadership and work ethic – coaches and players have confidence in his ability to be an effective field general if the occasion presents itself.

“It is huge motivation knowing my team and coaches have my back,” he said. “It gives me the confidence to know I can enter a game and be successful. I really have a great support system.”

Guiton enjoys a close-knit relationship with Miller, whom he calls his “brother.” The two share a room on road trips, socialize off the field and spend countless hours studying film and working together on the practice field. Guiton believes the opportunity to share ideas and learn together has been an asset for both players.

“We’ve learned a lot about being quarterbacks and leaders from each other,” Guiton said. “It is great having someone like Braxton to share information with and bounce ideas off of. We make each other better.”

As the second-string quarterback for the Buckeyes, Guiton is in a unique position – he must be prepared to play at a moments’ notice, and yet, he realistically expects to do most of his gameday work on the sideline. It is a challenging role and responsibility, but one he embraces.

“I prep for every game like I’m a starter,” he said. “I try to know everything about the opposing defense, their tendencies and what we are trying to accomplish. I work hard so I’m prepared if and when I’m needed.”

This team-first attitude is what has made Guiton one of the most respected players on the Ohio State roster. As his final collegiate season enters its second weekend, Guiton is anxious for what the future holds for the 2013 Buckeyes.

“I want this team to finish on top,” he said. “And if I get the chance to lead a couple of scoring drives, I’ll be ready.”

By Ryan Zimmerman, Athletics Communications