Game Report: Gerard Miller

WASHINGTON, N.C. -- While Gerard Miller had a sub-par outing in West Craven's 21-0 romp over Washington, offers continue to roll in for the 6-4, 270-pound defensive end. UNC, FSU, and State make up Miller's top three, with offers from ECU and (recently) Duke rounding out the list. Tennessee and Colorado are also in the mix, but have yet to formally offer.

Miller, who runs a remarkable 4.67 in the forty, is a physical specimen. He is in great shape, and his speed is truly remarkable for a player his size. This fact was evident on Friday, as he consistently broke through Washington's offensive line to force errant passes down field, four of which landed in the arms of West Craven defensive backs. While his statistics for the game are mundane, a mere two tackles and a tackle for loss, his raw physical ability impacted the game consistently.

Miller and his family joined the legion of Carolina recruits at the Florida State game last Saturday, his fourth visit to the campus, and he was not soured on UNC by the lopsided score.

"It was a good game, I had a good time, both teams are young. You could see that Carolina's defensive line, it was their first game, but playing a top team like FSU is just going to make you better throughout the season," Miller said.

Miller's speed for his size has college coaches and recruiting analysts raving about his upside. While potential plays a large role in the recruiting process, what are the strengths and weaknesses of his game now?

According to West Craven head coach Clay Jordan, "The strength of Gerard's game is that he is a big kid who can run. We're working on his technique, especially his pass rushing technique. He's got such a great work ethic, he loves to play, and he gets excited about playing."

His excitement is often the largest single problem with his game. Miller drew multiple flags, including a late hit penalty after drilling the Washington quarterback after the ball was away (negating a fifth interception). False starts are also a problem (Miller had two in the game), but the quickness with which he gets off the line and into the backfield makes the occasional false start a natural corollary.

With a father who is a huge Carolina fan and a mother who "doesn't deal well with missing games," Miller's relationship with the UNC staff seems poised to play a central role in this recruiting battle.

"I've talked with Coach Lawing, he actually still has my earring, I've got to talk to him about that (laughs). I've also spoken with Coach Bunting, they have a great staff. I went to their camp, and I really felt at home at Carolina," Miller said.

Questions of depth and the impact of the recruits in the pipeline upon Miller's recruitment have been prevalent in the minds of UNC fans. How does he see incoming and returning depth on the defensive lines of the schools he is considering factor into his decision?

"I think if you have a lot of recruits on a team that are up and coming, that's just going to make a better foundation because young skilled players come together and you're going to do that for four years. If you come and work hard in practice you're going to earn your starting position," Miller said.

While Miller has soft hands and runs crisp routes as a tight end for West Craven, it is on the defensive side of the ball that he projects in college. With official visits after the season set to play a pivotal role in the decision-making process, and a conclusion to Miller's recruitment unlikely until near signing day, the real battle for his services is still in the future.

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