Canton McKinley junior defensive end Steve Miller established himself as a national recruit following a sparkling sophomore season. Miller led McKinley with 116 tackles and registered six sacks in helping the Bulldogs into the playoffs.
Miller led the defense in a powerful performance against defending state champion Cleveland St. Ignatius last Friday in a scrimmage in Canton, a showing that carried over to the regular season as McKinley beat Cleveland East Tech 81-0 to open the year.
"I feel like I played alright against Ignatius," Miller stated. "I was pretty happy with how the defense played overall, and I think we can be pretty good this year. I think I'm a better player than I was last year. I'm stronger and I think I'm a lot smarter of a player. I'm better at making contact at the snap with the offensive tackle. I need to be more fundamentally sound this year."
Miller, who played last year at 200 pounds, also has become more of a student of the game, whereas last year he had success by relying on his talent alone.
"I'm a lot more comfortable on the field now," he admitted. "I have a better idea of what the defense is trying to do to me, and I now have some different moves to try to beat my man. I have learned what to look for when I watch film and how to use it to my advantage. I was actually a little nervous last year on the field and sometimes I would get away from what I needed to do. Things are a lot better for me now."
Miller, 6-4 and 220 pounds, is also lining up at tight end for Canton McKinley in certain offensive sets.
"I like playing offense a lot and I think I will be out there at tight end a lot," Miller said. "I just want to do anything to help our team win. I have pretty good hands and I try to do a good job blocking in the running game."
In recruiting circles, September 1st is the earliest date that juniors can receive written offers. Miller is expecting to see his mail box filled going forward.
"I'm trying to concentrate on my season right now, not the recruiting stuff," he admitted. "But I know that the written offers will be coming pretty soon. I have a good idea what schools will be offering me and I hope everybody does. I want to have a lot of options to choose from. I've heard that a lot of schools will be offering but you never know until they do in writing."
Miller admits to favoring the in-state powerhouse Ohio State and he admitted he expected a written offer from the Buckeyes as September dawned.
"I like Ohio State a lot but I want to see some other schools to have something to compare it to," Miller said. "The Ohio State coaches told me I would have the offer, and they will be tough to beat."
Miller knows he won't sign a letter of intent until February of 2011, so he's not feeling any pressure to make a quick commitment.
"I think I'm going to wait until after my season ends to even look at recruiting seriously," Miller stated. "My mom just wants me to pick the school that will give me the best education, and she's not worried about me going far away from home. I doubt I would make a commitment in the few months, but you never know. I would like to visit a few schools and see what it's like for their games. Right now, the only visit I know I'm going to take is to Ohio State to watch the USC game. I'm really looking forward to seeing the atmosphere that night."