Introducing the 2004 Class: Zach Miller

Keeping with the tradition of past years, DevilsDigest will spend the off-season profiling the newest members of the Sun Devil football team. What better way to kick off this series of articles with ASU's most prized signee – tight end Zach Miller. In this exclusive interview, Miller shares his thoughts on the recruiting process that had him stay close to home, how he dealt with success in the past, and how he plans to manage the inevitable pressure that awaits him in Tempe.

With Zach Miller honing his skills in ASU's backyard, his recruitment by the hometown team naturally took place quite early in his career. "My first contact with the ASU coaches was my at the team (summer) camp my sophomore year," said the tight end. "That was the first time I met all the coaches. I got to see how the coaches coach differently, how professional they were…how they evaluate talent."

Hard to say if that specific encounter planted the seeds for his eventual commitment. After all, Miller admitted that it may have been hard to comprehend a school pursuing your talents this early in one's career. "When I talked to them (ASU coaches) they said they wanted me ever since I was a sophomore," said the Desert Vista standout. "When you're that young, you're just not sure about the recruiting process. They offered me my third week of my junior year. They were the first ones to offer me. U of A, USC, Miami, and a whole bunch schools offered me after ASU."

One memorable image of the Miller's recruiting was a picture of him surrounded by mountains of recruiting mail from tens of colleges across the nation. ESPN's top-ranked tight end said that reading all that correspondence eventually became tedious. "I opened mail during the summer," stated Miller. "But once my season started, I only opened mail that was hand-written or if it was a big package. I haven't opened mail in a while (smile)."

"Some schools sent me about two letters a day," Miller continued. "ASU didn't send me that much mail, but they did send me hand written notes once in a while. After every time I saw them, they would send me a note saying ‘good to see you' and stuff like that. It didn't really matter how many letters a school sent, it was about what was in the letter."

Miller was the unanimous selection as the No. 1 tight end prospect in the nation. His list of awards, both locally and nationally, is endless. Out of all his recognitions, which one does he hold the dearest to his heart? "Arizona Republic Player of the Year," he remarked. "I remember seeing that award when I was young, and I didn't think I could be that playing tight end. I'm happy it came through (smile)."

Some athletes let success get the best of them. Arrogance and destructive overconfidence can easily take over when one is consistently performing at a high level. The tight end acknowledges that fighting those counterproductive forces was anything but an easy task. "It can be hard sometimes," he said. "When everybody pumps you up and tells you how great you are, it's easy to get a big head and act cocky. But I tried hard not to." He added that in light of his achievements outside the classroom, a few of his teachers may have been over-demanding of him. "Some teachers will do that," stated Miller. "Some teachers for whatever reason don't like football players, and give you a hard time. But most people were good and treated me like any other kid." With a perfect 4.0 GPA suffice to say that this Sun Devil was unfazed by whatever treatment he may have received.

If there's any boasting concerning his numerous accolades, it comes in a form of good nature ribbing with brother and current ASU player Brent Miller. The younger Miller said that his older brother (who he portrays as "a great athlete.") may have been less vocal than some would believe in Zach's recruitment to ASU. "He just let things happen and let me make my own decision," said the USA Today first-team All-American tight end. "If I had any questions or wanted to know some things, he would always tell me. He didn't really recruit me or say a lot of stuff. He pretty much left me alone."

Brent Miller was forced to redshirt after tearing his ACL in pre-season camp. Some ASU fans feared that this was bad omen for the tight end's recruiting. Zach Miller exclaimed that he took that injury on its own merit. "I knew it was just an accident," he said. "And I felt bad for him. But it didn't affect anything with me."

In actuality, the tight end didn't deny that the injury may have helped him settle on the Sun Devils. "Definitely," stated the incoming ASU freshman. "When I was on the ASU visit, I was thinking about what would happen if I got hurt. I knew that at ASU I could come home. When something difficult like that happens, it's good to be with your family."

It goes without saying that no newcomer is counted on more to produce in his first year than Zach Miller. The tight end said that expectations are the fuel that keeps him going. "I think there's pressure," Miller said. "And some people will probably put even more pressure on me than others. But that's good. I'm sure it will be tough being under the microscope, but it will be good pressure. I think I do well at big games when's there's more at stake."

Miller says that his anticipation to start his ASU career is overcoming any potential nervousness, which is very natural for any first year player in the Pac-10. This attitude will even help him cope with the hazing lurking ahead at Camp Tontozona. "I can't wait to practice and play with these guys," exclaimed Miller. "I think it will be a lot of fun. I feel comfortable. I know a lot of the freshmen. I know the guys are gonna do whatever they're gonna do (smile), but it will be fun. And it will be fun when I'm an upper classman too (smile). Brent already told me what to expect at Camp T…"

Zach Miler wasn't only the biggest blue chipper to sign with Arizona State, but also the best local high school prospect. The tight end puts much value in being the hometown kid that signed with the hometown team "I think it's important for the most talented guys in the state to stay in-state and play at ASU," he said. "This is where I grew up, and I always rooted for ASU. Now I get to play for them."

In less than seven months, the wait will be over and eager ASU fans will get to witness Zach Miller's talents on display at Sun Devil stadium. Does Miller actually dream of that first official game in the maroon and gold? "I definitely do," he said with a smile. "I can't wait to go out and compete and be myself. It will be fun playing on Saturdays…I don't have any predictions when I'll get my first catch or touchdown. But it will be fun (when it happens)." If all goes as planned, those sweet dreams in the winter will turn into exciting and memorable reality come fall…

Recruit Profile


Zach Miller

High School

Desert Vista (Phoenix, AZ)







Date of Birth



Phoenix, AZ


"Miller Time", "All-American"

Favorite TV Show


Favorite Movie

"The Matrix"

Favorite Singer/Band

"I don't have a favorite. I listen to Rock and Classical Rock."

Favorite Food


Favorite Drink


Favorite Athlete

"Jeremy Shockey"

Favorite Pro Team

"San Francisco 49ers"

Person you most admire

"My dad. He's a great guy, and not to discredit my mom (smile), he has done a great job raising me. He's been a great influence in my life."

First Football Memory

"My first year in flag football. I was six or seven. I was the running back, and I scored an 80-yard touchdown or however long the field was…it got called back for holding. I was so mad I kicked one of the cones on the field. But I didn't get a 15-yard penalty (smile)."

One Thing most people don't know about me

"I have a 4.0 GPA."

Why did you choose ASU?

"Playing with my brother."

Where do you want to be in ten years?

"Ideally I want to be in the NFL. I want to have my degree and still play ball. If that doesn't work out, I'd like to own a small business."

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