In a way, Darrian Miller has one of his fellow running backs to thank for his MVP performance last weekend.
Gathered with some of the region's top football prospects at Next Level
Football's Midwest Elite Combine in Kansas City on Saturday, Miller was
already putting on a show in the one-on-one drills – running back
versus linebacker. Our of perhaps 20 pass routes run against
linebackers, the University of Kansas commit guesses he dropped maybe
But then another running back had some success after shifting over to
run with the wide receivers against the defensive backs, and started
letting everyone in attendance know all about it.
That's what really got Miller's competitive juices flowing.
"I wouldn't have really said anything if the guy was just over at WR
just beating them and being humble about it," the Blue Springs (MO)
High School product said, laughing. "He was making a lot of noise."
So Miller – one of the top running backs not only in Kansas City, but
the entire Midwest – excused himself momentarily, and informed the
defensive backs coach that he was going to "lock him real quick."
"He told me to man up on him," he explained. "So I man up on him, and
batted down the first one. I told him he could get a redemption and
locked him the second time."
But the competition didn't end there. One of the cornerbacks watched
Miller's performance, and told the 2009 Missouri Gatorade Player of the
Year that he was going to return the favor – assuming he was game.
Never one to walk away from a challenge, Miller lined up at wide
receiver after working out a route with the drill's quarterback –
Bishop Miege (KS) High School junior Max Shortell.
"I just told him I was going to run a 'dig,'" Miller said. "The
cornerback thought he was going to bump me up front, and I told him
'Man, that would be a bad idea.'"
His statement proving prophetic, Shortell and Miller hooked up as he
easily gained separation from the defensive back. The reception capped
an afternoon of performances that earned Miller the camp's overall MVP
award, a significant achievement.
Camps like the Midwest Elite Combine are administered throughout the
country, as a way to give high school football players a chance to
display their skills to coaches and talent scouts alike in the hopes of
earning a scholarship offer.
Miller, however, not only owns an impressive offer list – one which
includes the likes of Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kansas and Kansas State – but earlier this year became the first commitment to Head Coach
Turner Gill and the Kansas Jayhawks for the Class of 2011.
It's not uncommon for committed players to attend the camps and
combines, but what drives Miller to do so?
There are two reasons he continues to compete, Miller said, one of
which is the opportunity to meet other top prospects from throughout
the country. The other is borne in a desire to prove himself against
the best of the best.
"I mean, it's not really to get my name out to coaches, but to
players," he explained. "I kind of want to solidify a top spot in the
Next up for the talented running back from Kansas City? Likely a date
with the Super Jayhawk Camp later this summer in Lawrence, Kan.
Also at the combine, the prospects also participated in several NFL
Scouting Combine style tests. Miller reported an electronic 4.23-second
shuttle drill, a 32-inch vertical leap and 14 repetitions of bench
press at 185 pounds.
Future Jayhawk Miller Represents
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