Beavers first to offer home grown talent

EVERY SCHOOL LOVES the big guys who can flat-out run. And there's a world of possibilities with Gabe Miller, arguably the state of Oregon's top prep prospect in the 2006 recruiting class. The Beavs were the first to offer the player his prep coach says could excel in a variety of positions at the next level, including linebacker, tight end, defensive end or fullback. But he's not a hidden gem, and other schools are very much aware of the standout athlete from Lake Oswego.

Miller thoroughly enjoyed a recent trip to Corvallis a couple weeks ago, and not just because coach Mike Riley offered the 6-4, 230-pound phenom a scholarship during OSU's spring game.

Among the many highlights were watching Lake Oswego High graduate and current Beaver linebacker Andy Darkins put on a show, and getting a prime spot on the sidelines to take in all the action.

"It was awesome," Miller told BeaverFootball.com. "I had a real good time."

Visiting with the Oregon State coaches was also a big plus for Miller, including spending some time with linebackers coach Robin Ross.

"He seems like a real nice guy," said Miller. "All their coaches were. I liked them a lot...I've talked with the Oregon State coaches a few times, pretty much all of them. I went down there one time to see a basketball game and met some of the coaches then, mostly the defensive coaches."

Miller said Oregon State is recruiting him at linebacker, as are most schools. His prep coach points out he has the talent to play a number of different spots at the next level, and when schools get a closer look at Miller, they'll likely become more aware of his growth potential. Miller could make one heck of a tight end.

"He's very athletic, runs very well for a big guy," said Lake Oswego High coach Steve Coury. "He's a kid that's big and physical enough, and he could maybe get a lot bigger so it's, 'Is he going to be a linebacker or a defensive end?' Which is a good problem to have. He plays fullback for us. And he has great, soft hands -- so maybe he's a tight end. There's just so many things with that size -- and that ability to run -- that he may be able to do at the next level."

THAT ABILITY TO RUN is currently on display this track season at Lake Oswego. Miller holds the state's ninth fastest time this year in the high hurdles with a 15.5 mark. Coury said Miller is the whole package -- he's everything you want off the field and in the locker room in a player -- with leadership qualities and a top notch work ethic.

"He's a hard worker, a big time weightlifter with a 300-plus pound bench press kid and those kinds of things," said Coury. "He's started for us since his sophomore year."

Miller comes across as low key off the field, but he's anything but when he straps on the helmet, and figures to be a highly sought prospect over the course of this recruiting season. Besides Oregon State, virtually all the Pac-10 plus the likes of Michigan, Colorado, Georgia Tech, Nebraska and Utah are very interested -- additional offers appear likely to be coming sooner rather than later.

Some of the coaches he's talked with most recently include those from Oregon State, Colorado, Boise State and Michigan.

Miller hasn't finalized his travel schedule but his plans call for attending the Oregon State summer camp June 24-28, the NIKE camp in Eugene and possibly the camp at Colorado. He has no favorites at this time.

"I'd say everyone is pretty much even right now," said Miller. "I haven't given it too much thought, it still seems a little early in my mind."

ACADEMICS WILL PLAY a crucial part in Miller's decision -- he is considering a major in Business. The general atmosphere and how comfortable he feels at a school is also important. Location could also play a big part, although its also too early for him to say for sure.

"I kind of want to stay close to home," said Miller.

Regardless of where he makes his mark at the next level, Miller hopes to tutor under a position coach who is down to earth, and at the same time, will be a good teacher who will work him hard and help him reach his potential.

Gabe Miller profile


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