BALTIMORE, Md. -- In an MIAA A-Conference matchup, Gilman (Baltimore, Md.) hosted St. Frances (Baltimore, Md.) Oct. 7. Terrapin Times was on hand to scout St. Frances defensive lineman and Maryland commit B'Ahmad Miller, a 6-foot-2, 258-pounder who pledged Oct. 1.
Our take on his game and an interview are below:
Miller may not be the most physically imposing defensive linemen in the area, but he’s tough, athletic and plays with a motor. He projects as a depth piece initially, and could work his way up the depth chart later during his college career.
Physically, Miller has average size and arm length, although he has active hands and a sturdy base. He has to shore up his frame a bit (there’s a little bad weight), but he could easily pack on the pounds and add muscle in order to move inside, which is where he’s best suited. (Miller mainly plays 3-tech for St. Frances).
At the snap, Miller comes off the ball low, flashes a fast first step and quickly engages the offensive lineman. He typically strikes hard, inside the pads and does a good job keeping his feet moving after contact.
Miller also understands leverage and knows how to drop his shoulder to get underneath blockers. He is deft enough to slide by his man inside, slicing through and getting skinny in the gaps.
Miller, who does a good job diagnosing plays, ably locates backs in the hole too, actively working to wrap them up. He’s a scrapper inside, and he fights through the whistle.
Furthermore, the St. Frances defender is quite agile, evidenced by his lateral movement. He’s able to run down the line, make a bee-line to the ball and track down backs in space. Miller is also fairly adept at readjusting to quick-twitch runners, flashing loose hips and solid change-of-direction. He possesses decent closing speed as well, showing the ability to pursue backside and make plays downfield.
Finally, Miller is a sound form tackler. He allows little to no leaky yardage, as he typically wraps up and drives through his man.
The main concern with Miller is, as aforementioned, his size. Since he isn’t especially big, nor does he possess long arms, he could have trouble keeping linemen out of his body in college. Even in high school, he can be neutralized from time to time, as blockers with longer arms can stalemate him.
Also, Miller doesn’t always generate maximum power at the point of attack. We'd like to see him consistently drive from his base, strike underneath the pads and develop even more all-around strength. We'd like to see Miller finish and become more of a thumper too.
And while Miller typically plays with a low pad level, sometimes he comes off the ball high, limiting his effectiveness. He has to play with better knee bend and make sure he uses his stout lower body to his advantage.
Another issue Miller may have is the ability to pick through the trash, particularly when moving laterally. At times he’ll fail to quickly disengage when pursuing in space. He also has issues when long-armed interior linemen get into him, Miller unable to slip the block.
When rushing, Miller needs to develop a couple more moves and learn how to set up offensive linemen. Currently, like most high school trenchmen, he relies on his speed and initial quicks to beat his man, rather than refined skills.
Finally, Miller has to keep working on his conditioning and building up his body. His technique and form tend to wane during the latter parts of games when he tires.