Gerard Miller Still High on NC State

The favorites list for West Craven defensive lineman Gerard Miller has been cut down to NC State, North Carolina and Florida State; but he has had some rather positive things to say about the Wolfpack lately. In fact, the 6'4", 270-pound prospect was especially high on Chuck Amato and his staff.

"I really like their coaching staff," he said. "Over there, everybody gets the same level of respect. It's a real family-oriented program. You feel really at-home when you're there. At other places, they go out of their way to make you feel good. But at State, the coaches are real cool and they talk to you almost like you're their age, and you're more than just a player."

Miller said that Coach Manny Diaz has been keeping in touch with him, and that he is planning to visit NC State soon. He is also in the process of setting up his official visits, and added that Florida State will probably get the first one because they are the furthest from home. Tennessee, East Carolina, Duke and South Carolina are also in the picture with Miller, and the Vols are also expected to get a visit. "I'll probably take a trip to Tennessee this fall," he said. "They're losing six starting linemen in two years. You've got to look at early playing time."

Miller is also aware of the opportunities opening up at NC State, but while he admits that immediate playing time would be a factor in his college decision, he said that it wouldn't be the biggest factor. He explained that he would also take things like a good coaching staff and distance from home into account when choosing a school.

"I can go anywhere and adapt fast," he said. "Distance isn't a big factor, unless I would go somewhere like Colorado. I would at least try to stay close to the East Coast so that my mom could come to some of the games. It would be even better for her if I went somewhere like State or Carolina, which are right down the road."

He added that even if he were coming to a school with a whole group of defensive linemen coming in, it still would not affect his decision. "I think competition is great," he said. "That's where you find if people crack under pressure. But I won't crack – I love competition. I think if you come in with a great defensive line class, it's going to make you a better player by the time you're a senior because you've been able to compete with them all those years."

West Craven head coach Clay Jordan said that what makes Miller more appealing to college coaches is his speed. And despite the fact that Gerard has added nearly 30 pounds since the start of his junior year, he has been able to maintain the kind of speed that would make him a valuable contributor on any defensive line.

"I've never had a defensive line prospect like him," said Jordan. "It's difficult to make any kind of comparison with any other players I've had. At 270 pounds, he ran some times this summer that were ungodly! He ran a 4.67-second 40 at one combine, and runs pretty consistently at 4.7 seconds."

Jordan, who recently celebrated his 200th win, has had a chance to compare his star lineman with other top prospects in the state, however. After being selected as one of the assistant coaches for the 2003 Shrine Bowl, Jordan was able to watch other defensive line prospects like Greensboro Dudley's Demario Pressley, Marshville Forest Hills' Marque Hall and Roxboro Person's Lemarte McGhee. "Out of the kids we've seen that can run," he said, "Gerard and Pressley compare. Athletically, they're pretty similar."

Jordan thinks that Miller could grow to weigh 290 pounds by the time he reaches college, which is why several schools are looking at him as a future defensive tackle. But Gerard also has the pass catching skills to play tight end, and some recruiters have even mentioned the fact that his speed makes him a possible linebacker at the next level.

Where he will play will depend on which school wins out for his signature, and Miller was reluctant to give any hints as to where he will end up. "After I take my visits, then I should already have my decision made up in my head," he said. "But I can't tell for sure right now."


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