Patrick Miller Declaring For The Draft

Auburn junior offensive tackle Patrick Miller will skip his final college football season and enter the NFL Draft.

Auburn, Ala.--Despite three inconsistent seasons as a part-time starter for the Auburn Tigers, junior offensive tackle Patrick Miller has decided to give the NFL a shot as he will bypass his final college football season and make himself eligible for the 2015 NFL Draft.

It comes as very surprising news for a player who has shown flashes of ability during his three seasons, but never displayed the ability to become a fixture in the lineup. As a freshmen he took over for an injured Avery Young at right tackle and started the final nine games to give him the edge heading into the 2013 season. He was in the lineup the first five games of the season before giving way to Young for the remainder of the year when Young was healthy enough to regain first team status.

"Pat Miller has decided to make himself eligible for the NFL Draft and pursue his goals to become an NFL player," Coach Gus Malzahn said. "I want to thank Pat for his contributions to the Auburn football program during his three years. I'm excited for Pat and wish him the best."

His junior season followed a similar path as Miller was the starting right tackle the first four games of the season before Young made the move back to tackle once again. That is the way things remained until the final game of the regular season when Miller got the start in the Iron Bowl against Alabama . True freshman Braden Smith started at right tackle in the Outback Bowl against Wisconsin, but Miller replaced him early in the first quarter and played the rest of the way for the Tigers in the loss to the Badgers.

Patrick Miller is shown at practice during the 2014 season.

"I just went with my heart," Miller said in explaining his decision. "I went back and forth, but my heart was set on it, and I went for it. I just decided to move on to the next part of my life. My body feels very good right now, and this just felt like the right time to do it."

The lineman said he plans to train at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. "I'm just glad to be healthy. I'm ready to give it a shot with 100 percent of my body."

Miller was expected to have a good opportunity to be a full-time starter as a senior for the Tigers, but his absence makes three players gone from Auburn's offensive line including 2014 seniors Reese Dismukes and Chad Slade.

The good news for Coach J.B. Grimes is Young is back along with starting left tackle Shon Coleman. Also returning is part-time starter Devonte Danzey. Throw transfer Austin Golson into the mix along with Smith, Robert Leff, Deon Mix, Will Adams, Xavier Dampeer and Jordan Diamond and it should be a competitive spring on the offensive line for the Tigers. The Tigers are also hoping to get 2013 Freshman All-SEC guard Alex Kozan back for the 2015 season after he redshirted in 2014 to recover from a back injury suffered last summer.

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