Up Close: Jarrell Miller, Part II

HIGHLAND SPRINGS, Va. – Some prospects look much different from the time they're first profiled and when they show up for fall practice. In many cases, college coaches are happy to settle for potential in a recruits' physical and mental maturation. However, that's not the case with 2006 North Carolina verbal commitment Jarrell Miller.

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    "They like me where I am; they want me to keep my speed," Miller said.

    He's already proven his durability at 6-foot-3, 235 pounds, but Highland Springs defensive coordinator Jason Meade seems to believe, "Getting three meals a day and getting in that weight room…I think he can get a lot bigger. I think his body can hold a lot more weight and we'll see what happens.

    "He's going to be a heck of a middle linebacker in the ACC in a couple of years."

    Obviously, former high school teammate and current UNC offensive lineman Wyatt Hicks was a solid liaison between the Tar Heel coaches and Miller. But with countless offers from some of the nation's most recognizable programs, Carolina was no slam dunk.

    "I got excited about all the offers when they started rolling in…like each one was the first," Miller said. "When I got my UNC scholarship offer in the mail, I was so excited. I was jumping up and down that day Coach gave it to me."

    Miller said he was first contacted last spring by UNC assistant Andre' Powell, and by the summer he had his Carolina offer – it was not his first, however. But in October he started narrowing down his list which still included the Tar Heels.

    "It was just everything about Carolina," Miller said. "I started going to football games in Chapel Hill during my junior and senior seasons. It was just something I wanted to be a part of down there. My friend Wyatt Hicks was down there and I really liked the coaches. It was the best place I visited."

    But it wasn't until shortly before the Army All-American Bowl when he knew he was going to UNC. It was the Tar Heel coaches -- specifically former NFL linebackers Tommy Thigpen and John Bunting -- who helped to close the deal for Miller and the Tar Heels.

    "Every school has good linebackers coaches, but when you have a former NFL linebacker you can play under, that's special to you."

    With his size and 4.7 speed over 40 yards, all of the coaches who have seen Miller play believe his strength is his lateral speed and how he is able to use it to plug holes. His skills and his character, coupled with the Tar Heels needs at his position, appear to make Miller a perfect fit in Chapel Hill.

    "The thing that stands out about Jarrell is he's not just a good football player, he's just such a good kid in general," said Highland Springs offensive coordinator Sidney Chappell. "And he always wants to get better."

    Jarrell Miller

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