Toledo Connection Keeps UI Close With Miller

The Fighting Illini football team has one defensive end from Toledo St. Johns, Tim Kynard. It would like to add another in Matt Miller, an upcoming senior. Miller has scholarship offers from numerous schools, but he has enjoyed a long relationship with Illini coaches and will consider them strongly.

Matt Miller first met Illinois head coach Tim Beckman and his assistant Mike Ward when they coached in his hometown of Toledo, Ohio.

"Coach Ward and Coach Beckman have recruited me since they were at Toledo, and the offer and recruiting continued over to Illinois. I love those guys. They have been great to my family and I, and they're great coaches."

The St. Johns Jesuit High School product has four scholarship offers, with more on the way. He is willing to listen to most everyone.

"I've gotten a lot of attention from schools all around. I've gotten things from colleges throughout the MAC, Big 10, ACC, SEC, Big East, and Big 12. I'm keeping my options open at this point. Everywhere and anywhere sticks out to me."

What does he want from a college?

"There are an infinite amount of things that go into choosing a college. Obviously, academics is important, as well as the football program and coaching staff. And other little things like campus lifestyle and proximity to home go into it."

College scouts no doubt appreciate the qualities the 6'-5", 260 pounder possesses.

"My biggest strength is my state of mental toughness—getting in the right state of mind for a game such as football is very crucial. Also, my footwork and my strength really compliment my game."

Miller points to endurance as something that has limited his play in the past.

"I have some weaknesses that come with starting both ways, which is wearing down towards the end of a game or towards the end of the season."

Without being specific, Miller admits he enjoyed his junior season last fall, both for himself and his team.

"The season went well. We didn't achieve everything we wanted to, but we had great team chemistry. And personally, I thought it went really well."

He hopes for even more success this fall, although a few things need to fall into place.

"I think we are going to be good next year; we have a good core returning from last year. But we are going to need some of the younger guys to step up."

Miller plans to be a strong leader to help make sure his dreams come to fruition.

"It all starts with leadership in the weight room, to two-a-days, to the end of every game. I will have to perform and work to the fullest of my potential and continue to push the younger guys."

Miller planned to visit Illinois last Sunday for a Junior Day but couldn't when his mother's car had problems. He will reschedule, and he describes what he hopes to find when he arrives.

"I'm looking for an impressive campus and campus lifestyle with great football facilities so I can improve myself when I get there."

Illinois won't be his only spring visit, assuming he has transportation.

"Right now I'm planning to visit Michigan, Iowa, Ohio State, Cincinnati, and possibly more."

Miller's brother Jack plays at Michigan, and he admits he really enjoyed a recent visit to Michigan State. Could he see himself playing for Beckman at Illinois?

"Absolutely I could. I like the coach's coaching style and personality."


Illini Inquirer Top Stories