De’Andre Miller is a former linebacker at Buckeye Union High School. Miller looks up to Ray Lewis, former linebacker for the world champion Baltimore Ravens.
Miller says he could never be like Lewis, but one day, he says he hopes to be the kind of leader Lewis was when he led the Ravens to two world championships.
Miller has a long and winding road to travel to get there, but he’s started his journey off quite well, with his next stop being the University of Arizona.
Miller had 79 tackles, two sacks and an interception for head coach Bobby Barnes and the Hawks last season. He also rushed the ball 18 times for 215 yards and a touchdown. He also caught three passes for 76 yards and another touchdown.
Talk about an all-purpose player…
Miller says Coach Rich Rodriguez and his staff haven’t mentioned anything to him about playing on offense just yet. He says he’s fine with that because he wants to play linebacker badly.
“Linebacker’s my thing,” Miller said.
Miller got looks from Arizona State, Boise State, the University of Washington and the University of Minnesota. In the end, Miller went with the Wildcats because they were the first to offer.
“I felt they were the one who had faith in me first,” Miller said. “The coaches, Coach Rich Rod has a great background and I believe his 33 Stack could fit for me.”
Miller did his homework on Coach Rodriguez before this offer was even laid out for him. He says he went back and watched some West Virginia tape when Rodriguez was head coach there, and he was impressed by what he saw out of Rodriguez’s defenses.
“The way his defenses [were] just running downhill,” Miller said. “He had good athletic guys that I could see myself playing as, going to the ball, running to the ball, making tackles, so I feel it’s a great fit for me.”
Miller thinks he could play the WILL position, depending on how well he does once he gets down there in June.
The move from high school football to college football takes preparation on the part of the athlete in question. For Miller, he started getting prepared as soon as the Hawks season ended.
“The day after the season, actually, I went in the weight room, started working,” Miller said. “I have a big goal to start as a freshman, so I’m lifting weights, I’m doing track so I can get faster [and] go back in the weight room after track practice to get stronger again.”
The secret to getting bigger? Miller says it’s chocolate milk, which he says he’s downing like it’s running out of style.
“It’s good for you man, that’s what I’ve been told,” Miller said.
The level of competition will also be raised exponentially from what Miller’s used to in high school, which he’s good with.
“College is a whole bunch of kids that made it there that are trying to get to somewhere else, trying to prove a point,” Miller said. “I think it’ll be very competitive, but I’m a competitive person so I think it’ll be a great fit for me.”