The Dallas native camped at LSU in June and performed so well that he landed an offer from Cam Cameron a few days later. He wasted no time committing and has since shown exactly why the Tigers were so excited about his potential.
McMillan threw for six touchdowns and ran for two more in the first two games of his season, though he and the rest of his team struggled last week against a very stingy defense. It’s still a promising start, and TSD caught up with the head coach at Cedar Hill, Joey McGuire, to discuss what’s made McMillan special:
Q: How would you grade McMillan’s season thus far?
“He’s done a really good job operating our offense. Two weeks ago, he was almost perfect. He was 11-for-12. The one miss he just overthrew [Texas A&M commit] DaMarkus Lodge. It would’ve been a touchdown and he had another called back.”
Q: What’s been the biggest difference between McMillan this year compared to where he was as a junior?
“The biggest difference is his running ability. He’s gotten so much stronger. Whenever you get stronger and keep your flexibility, you’re going to be faster. He rushed for 66 yards last week. He had one called back or he would’ve been closer to 100 yards. That’s the biggest difference this year is how well he’s running the football.”
Q: You made McMillan your starting quarterback last season when he was a junior. What did you see in him then that made you confident he could lead the team?
“He’s got an incredible arm, a great work ethic. That’s what you want in your quarterback. You want him to be the hardest working guy on the football field. He’s one of the guys that really takes it to heart, studies film, works hard, and he’s done a great job for us.”
Q: Going back to when McMillan got the LSU offer and committed, what was his excitement level?
“He was excited. LSU’s a dream place to go to school. It’s got incredible tradition. They’re going to do what it takes to be great year in and year out. Any kid would be excited to go to LSU.”
Q: What were your conversations like with Cam Cameron then, and what did he say about McMillan’s performance at that camp?
“Whenever I talked to Cam, he just reiterated how Justin had come down and was head and shoulders ahead of everybody. He really lit it up. He went down there and competed and did a great job for those guys. He didn’t surprise me. I’d been saying it for a year. All I know is that he’s a winner and a competitor. He’s got the most live arm I’ve ever coached. Whenever you have a guy that’s confident, like Cam is, in his ability, you’re not worried about anything. They did the best job evaluating him.”
Q: Have you noticed that McMillan is even more motivated now that he knows he has a future playing for LSU and in the SEC?
“Justin’s a competitor, so you don’t ever have to worry about him coming to compete. He’s just got that makeup about him. More than anything what you see is the ability to relax in a good way. There’s not as much pressure. It’s a pure form of playing football instead of trying to get a scholarship. He can take a deep breath and work on being a quarterback.”
Q: Cedar Hill is one of the most successful programs in Texas. Coming from a background of winning, how much will that benefit McMillan moving forward?
“You’re playing in the SEC, so you’re playing the best football athletically that you’re going to see day in and day out. The one good thing with him, he’s played in front of 50,000 people. Not a lot of high school players can say that. He’s played one of the toughest schedules you could possibly play in the nation…He’s not a small town kid that’s never been in a game like that. That’ll be a huge advantage for him.”
Q: What’s his personality like? What’s he like off the field?
“He smiles a lot. He likes to have a good time. He’s a kid that football comes 1A, 1B and 1C. He’s always focusing on football. He’s going to work hard in the classroom to make sure he’s ready…[LSU is] getting a kid that loves the game of football. He watches more film than any kid I’ve ever had in my program.
Q: Where does McMillan need to improve to take his game to the next level?
“Like a lot of high school kids, he’s got to continue to work on gaining weight and getting stronger. Nobody comes in day one ready strength-wise. Him getting stronger and getting ready to compete at that level is going to be huge.”
**Note: McMillan currently measures 6-foot-2.5, 185 pounds after growing almost an inch over the summer. McGuire said he could see McMillan being 6-foot-3 or 6-foot-4 by the time he's ready to play for LSU and weighing 210-220 pounds.