The prolific passing Miller left Louisville following the GMAC Bowl and came back to Southern California, and earlier this week got the news he was waiting for: he had been accepted to UCLA, and his opportunity to wear the blue and gold is now going to be real.
"I always wanted to play for UCLA, even back in high school when I committed, I wanted to go there. But I just didn't get recruited by the old staff," said Miller.
Miller, who will walk on in the hope of earning a scholarship, has been down a windy road in his recruiting experience, but it has finally come full circle, and he is back where he wanted to be all along.
Originally a commit to Michigan State along with high school teammates B.J. Vickers and Antuwan Giddens, the firing of Bobby Williams caused Miller to eventually sign with Louisville and new coach Bobby Petrino. Ironically, former Louisville coach John L. Smith took over the Spartans. In the interim, Miller nearly committed to Mississippi State before eventually signing with the Cardinals.
But a glut of quarterbacks at Louisville made Miller the odd-man out.
"They already had Stefan LeFors, plus Michael Bush and then they were going to sign Brian Brohm, and his brother (former Cardinals quarterback) Jeff was the quarterback coach, and they had a long family history at Louisville. I just didn't know if I would play that much," said Miller.
So now, Miller returns to his old stomping grounds, knowing a scholarship and playing time is guaranteed.
"I was told if I compete and my performance makes me worthy of one, I could get a scholarship, but nothing was guaranteed. I was intrigued by the playing time, and the possibility of playing in two years. I want to help out this team as much as I can this year, in spring practice, during the fall on the scout team. I want to get UCLA back to where I know they can be," said Miller.
Gaudy stats at Venice still weren't enough to get Miller any attention from the Bob Toledo-led staff. In his senior season, Miller threw for 3,884 yards and 33 touchdowns. In his two years as a starter, he amassed 7,423 yards and 72 touchdowns. But the fallout of the J.P. Losman fiasco still lingered at Venice. Even when Toledo was fired, Miller had already made his commitment to Michigan State, before changing it.
"There was just too much turmoil going on, so Louisville offered the best chance for me," said Miller.
Ultimately, the yearning to be close to home also was too much to overcome.
"It was hard being away from home. It was a real cultural change for me, coming from Southern California and moving to Kentucky. I really learned a lot at Louisville. Coach Petrino is a great coach, and I learned a lot about the passing game. I got to go live there, leading the scout team, playing against the starters. It was a lot of contact in practice, and a good environment for me to work out in. But I just wanted to come and try and get a shot here," said Miller.
Knowing he has a year to sit out, when going to a junior college could have allowed him a year to play, was still not enough to keep him from coming to UCLA.
"It'll be good to be able to have a year to learn the offense, work hard and prepare for the next year (2005) when I can play. I like the new staff at UCLA. I think they are going to turn it around. My parents were real supportive of my decision. Even though I gave up a scholarship and have to pay my own way, they wanted me to do what makes me happy. They'll get to see me play now, get to come watch me at the Rose Bowl. It's great."
Miller is familiar with several of the players on the Bruins squad from his times in Southern California.
"I know Maurice Drew well. I was supposed to play in CaliFlorida (in 2003) but during that week of practice, I separated my shoulder and didn't get to play."
Miller, who graduated from high school with a 3.6 GPA, will enroll in April, in time for spring practice.