Lamar Miller is one of the most explosive running backs for the 2009 recruiting class. The Miami Killian standout has elite speed to go with his 5'11" 203 pound frame. His ability to be a game-changing player has lead to colleges from all over the nation to extend Miller an offer, as his total is at 40. Miami is one of the 40 programs that have offered Lamar. Up until this week they were the prohibitive favorite to land Miller when Signing Day came around, but now that looks like it won't happen. NoleDigest spoke to Lamar about his recruitment to get the latest details as summer is half-way over.
"Really I've been busy working on summer school," said Miller. I'm retaking classes from my 9th and 10th grade year because I didn't so too well. Right now I am taking a geometry class. I haven't been focusing too much on recruiting and I haven't been calling too many coaches."
Over the past week the details about Miami taking Mike James as their second running back for 2009 (Bryce Brown committed in February) caused people who follow recruiting to raise their eyebrow. By taking James Miami took themselves out of the picture for Miller. He now has a top 6, saying the schools he's looking at are LSU, Florida State, Florida, South Florida, Tennessee and West Virginia. He broke down what he liked about each program, and as well as addressing the rumor that West Virginia is now the favorite to land his commitment.
LSU: "I like how they play. They are the champs and I like how they use more than one running back."
Florida State: "Same as LSU. They use more than one back and they have great tradition at the running back position."
Florida: "When I went to their camp I liked it. I was comfortable there and I had a chance to talk to the players."
South Florida: "I watched a few games last year but I don't know too much about them. They are up and coming so I want to learn more about them as a school."
Tennessee: "I saw a couple of games from them last year. I like how they run out of the I-formation and use a lot of 1-back stuff."
West Virginia: "I like how they use their running backs in the spread and get them involved. I am going to take a visit there soon. I don't know if they are the favorite or not but they have been showing the most interest in me and they like me a lot. There is a chance that if I feel comfortable there I'd commit, but I'm probably going to take some visits."
Florida State fans have been one of the groups that are surprised to be in contention to land Lamar. He told NoleDigest that Florida State has a legitimate shot and that he's been in contact with the coaches pretty frequently.
"FSU has a shot at me. I talk to Coach Dexter Carter and Coach Amato. They were asking me about if I was coming to Seminole Showtime. I told them I couldn't because of summer school. As of now I plan on heading down there later this summer. Coach Fisher was also asking me if they had a shot at me and about how he wants me to come up to see the campus to see if I like it. I've never been there. I do like how Coach Fisher plays a lot of guys and that he turns them into pros."
This year is an exceptionally deep year at the running back position in Florida, and the consensus is that Lamar is the best. He has a sense of accomplishment being rated so highly, but he feels he's got more to prove.
"I have great vision and I see the whole field well. I'm fast too and am a hard runner. I can run around or through you. I compare myself to Clinton Portis and LaDanian Tomlinson. They can break tackles and get away from guys well and that's what I do. I can also catch the ball well. I like the wheel route and like to like up at receiver because I am a good route runner. It feels good to be rated high, but I feel I am the best in the country. This year I plan on working hard to show that."
Athletic ability has never been the question with Lamar. Recruiting fanatics have long thought that Miller is a long-shot to qualify. With the summer classes he's taking and the renewed focus on the scholastic side of things, Lamar feels that he'll be able to qualify and prove the nay-sayers wrong.
"I think I'm going to qualify. To be honest my 9th and 10th grade year I slacked in the classroom and thought that since I was a good player, colleges would take me anyways. Now I am working harder to my grades up and I think I will be able to make it. I'm taking the ACT in September so I will be ready for that. It gives me extra motivation knowing that people don't think I can make my grades. I am going to study and work hard to prove that I can get it done."
With a trimmed list of schools Lamar knows what he is looking for and knows when he plans on making a decision.
"I'm looking for a school that runs the ball and where I am comfortable at. I want to be able to get along with the team and I want to go to a school that has good graduation rates. Basically it's going to come down to where I am most comfortable. I want to make my decision during the season. I'll take some official visits and make my decision when it feels right."
At this time it looks as though any of the 6 final schools have a shot at Lamar. Once he makes a visit to FSU it should become clearer as to what role the Seminoles will play in Lamar's recruitment. Stay tuned to NoleDigest for further updates with Lamar, as well as the rest of the 2009 recruiting class.