Miller getting ready

Incoming linebacker DeAndre Miller is getting prepared to head to Tucson in just a few weeks. Read on to find out what he is doing to prepare, which team he looks forward to playing the most, and more.

The Arizona Wildcats' defense ranked dead last in the Pac-12 in 2012. Arizona was adjusting to a new 3-3-5 defense run by Defensive Coordinator Jeff Casteel, but the scheme called for players that the Wildcats just didn't have.

To remedy the situation, the coaching staff focused on bringing in multiple defensive recruits with an eye on the future of the program.

One of those was Buckeye (Az.) Union linebacker DeAndre Miller.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound high school senior has been preparing for college all year, making sure to keep his grades high enough that there wouldn't be any worries about being admitted to the University of Arizona.

"School has been pretty good," Miller said. "I've been working hard in the classroom so I can graduate. I'm ready for college.

"My grades are all pretty high. I have a GPA between a 3.5 and 4.0. I've worked pretty hard at it."

Since signing in February with Arizona, Miller has been participating in the shot-put event for his high school track and field team. In his spare time, the linebacker has been working on bulking up for the years ahead of him in Tucson.

"At the beginning, the Arizona workouts were really difficult," Miller said. "It took me some time to adjust, but every day there was improvement and now I'm right there with it. It's working and I feel pretty good about it."

Miller admits that the workouts were difficult to get into at first, but that was only because the lifts and repetitions are so much different from what he has done the last four years.

"It's a lot different from what we have in high school," he said. "Here, we would just focus on maximum strength. The Arizona workout is difficult because it builds as you go along. You can start out at a high point already, but it just adds more and more to push your body."

The linebacker also received a conditioning workbook from the coaches. The running isn't as difficult as the weight lifting, but the speed of the drills has Miller intrigued.

"I've been doing the conditioning packet that they sent me," Miller said. "I'm excited to get down and play with the speed they have down there. It's definitely interesting to me."

Once he signed his letter of intent, Miller didn't remain is as much contact with the coaches as he had before hand. He understands that they have to turn their attention to the next class, but still communicates with them as much as possible.

"I still talk to the coaches now and then," he said. "We talk about what I'm doing in school and what is going to happen when I get to the U of A.

"They like me to stay at the linebacker position, but they don't know which one yet. I don't really have a preference. I just want to help the team out."

He isn't headed to Tucson with very many expectations about his role. Miller knows that nothing will be given to him and, while the coaches would like to see him on the field, he still has to work hard in practice and earn it.

"They have told me that they want me to come down and compete for playing time right away, but I have to go down and perform," Miller said. "I have to show them that I'm capable. I have to show them that I can play."

In just under two weeks, the linebacker will enroll in his first college course as a member of the team. He still isn't sure who he will be sharing his room with, but he has a good idea of who he would prefer.

"I report to campus June 2nd," Miller said. "I haven't got my roommate assignment yet. I have been talking to Scooby Wright about it the past few weeks. That may end up panning out for us."

Once on campus, Miller wants to get situated and comfortable with himself and the team. He believes the best way to do that is to jump right in and workout with his teammates.

"I'm just really excited to get down there and train with the team," he said. "I want to see what the college atmosphere is really like. I want to see how it's like to workout with the guys and what it's like to get out and run with them."

Looking forward to the 2013-2014 football season, the linebacker has one specific school in mind that he would like to play against in person. He will get his chance on November 23rd, when the Oregon Ducks travel to Tucson.

"Oregon is the one school I am looking forward to playing this season," Miller said. "Growing up, they were always my favorite. I want to see if they are really capable of doing what they're doing, first hand."

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