When junior safety Grayson Miller first showed up in East Lansing, he was expecting to redshirt and sit out that season. Now, Miller finds himself as one of the leaders of the team, especially for the defensive backs as he is the eldest of them all.
“I didn’t really expect to play when I got here, but I was able to play that first season,” Miller told Spartan Nation. “Guys are looking to me to lead especially in the defensive back room as I’m the oldest one.”
Miller has been thrust into a major leadership role earlier than most players on the team since he is the most experienced defensive back on the roster and he is not even a senior. It has been quite a quick transition for him, but one he believes he’s capable of handling. It is a unique situation for the coaches and younger players as well, but one Miller believes will work out.
“My transition here has been a very quick one,” Miller told Spartan Nation. “It felt like a flash and now were in the off season going into the off season of my junior year. We don’t have any seniors in the defensive backs room. It’s a unique situation but I think we have the right guys, including myself, to embrace it.”
While Miller might not look it at first glance, he is quite athletic and has a surprising quickness to him. He has always come off as deceptively athletic to the normal eye and is alright with that evaluation. He does not want his speed to be surprising, he wants others to already know how fast he is and his goal to make that fact known.
“I feel like that has been something people have been saying to me my whole life,” Miller told Spartan Nation. “In some ways you want people to know, but it’s my job to make people know and I can roll with that. I’m ok with people saying that. I’ll do what I do.”
Moving forward, Miller plans to focus on his confidence during games and making sure he plays at a high level consistently. Miller has gained extensive knowledge and experience since he has been playing since his freshman year. He understands nearly every detail of the playbook and has played in some of the biggest games. It is all about trusting his gut and playing as fast as possible going forward now.
“It’s all about playing confident, fast, and trusting my reads,” Miller told Spartan Nation. “I know the defense in and out at all levels. I know what every player on the field is supposed to do and I’ve been in the big moment. It’s all just about playing confident 100 percent of the time and not letting anything get me down. I want to play as fast as I possibly can because I know how to do it, I’ve done it before and the coaches trust me to do it.”
As a leader, Miller will only be taking a week or two break after the spring off season so he can come back and make sure the younger students are all inline and not doing anything that could get them in trouble. Some of these guys come from troubled areas, so being in East Lansing can help keep them on track with football and their education as they are taking summer classes as well.
“I’ll only be gone for a week or two. Part of being a leader is being up here and making sure the younger guys are doing the right things up here,” Miller told Spartan Nation. “For a lot of guys being home isn’t a good place to be since there are many ways to get in trouble and many friends who aren’t doing anything, myself included. I think being up here is a good thing for us.”
Spartan Nation also discussed some of the younger defensive backs that Miller will be leading going forward.
One of the first names discussed was freshman cornerback Josiah Scott who enrolled early in January and already participated in the spring game and spring practice. Miller noted Scott’s good attitude, hard work and how well he played so early on. He also added that while Scott does have a more reserved personality, it is refreshing because it allows him to listen and comprehend all the coaching and advice he is given.
“It can’t go without saying how hard [Scott] works and how great his character is from the first time I met him,” Miller told Spartan Nation. “I was impressed with the way he was able to hold a conversation. He’s a little bit of a quiet guy, but sometimes those are the best kind of guys. Those that stand off to the side and listen and take everything in and that’s not even mentioning how good of a football player he is.”
Miller also added how impressed he was with Scott’s ability to pick up the defense so quickly. He thought he learned the defense swiftly, but Scott blew him away.
“I like to think that I was a freshman who learned the defense early, but I’ve never been around a freshman who has learned the defense as fast as he has.
One of the other players Miller discussed was wide receiver Hunter Rison, son of former Michigan State wide out Andre Rison. In fact, Miller’s father, John, played with Andre Rison during the 1980s.
Miller said that the young Rison has a high character, he’s a hard worker and a good teammate. He could tell right away that Rison was a good guy and he was impressed with his natural football skills. Miller added that he has quite the electric and charismatic personality and is someone that lights up the room.
“The first time I met [Rison] I knew he was a good guy, just like my dad says how good of a guy Andre was. He’s a natural football player and smooth with everything he does,” Miller told Spartan Nation. “He’s charismatic and lights up the room. He’s a guy you want to talk to.”
The last player Miller discussed was freshman tight end Jack Camper. Already at 6-foot-4 and weighing 229 pounds, Miller was impressed with his physicality and his play. He is already quite a specimen as an athlete and with a good spring, Miller thinks he might have earned some reps in the fall.
“What is there to say about [Camper], the kid can dunk a ball with ease. He’s quick twitch and he’s learning,” Miller told Spartan Nation. “I thought he did very well this spring and put himself in a position to see some playing time.”
Stay tuned to Spartan Nation for more updates on the Michigan State football team.