The SEC comes in, but Vandy still his first

It was his first offer in his freshman season at Madison (Ala.) Academy and it's not one Malik Miller is soon forgetting despite his recruiting taking off in a big way. The 6-foot, 220-pound running back/linebacker first heard from Coach James Franklin at Vanderbilt after a highly successful freshman season in 2012.

The majority of the SEC has come in with offers since, but Miller tells that his first offer is special and is intrigued by the new coaching staff lead by Derek Mason.

"I was a shocked and humbled when Vanderbilt offered me," Miller said. "I knew then I'd get to play college ball. I thought to myself, 'somebody wants me'. It was Coach Franklin's staff [at Vanderbilt] but I have heard from Coach Mason. He's a great guy. I've heard nothing but the best about him and the coaching staff. Jordan Matthews, who went to my high school but is now with the Philadelphia Eagles keeps saying, 'you need to go talk to those guys'."

Since the offer Miller received offers from the two in-state powerhouse programs, Alabama and Auburn, plus Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Arkansas, and North Carolina with heavy interest from Florida State and Georgia.

"During my sophomore season, I have 865 yards in five games during a playoff run and my offers really took off," he explained. "I think I ended up with 1,500 yards and 28 touchdowns and 85 tackles.

"In our first three games this season I've done pretty well. We had a nationally televised game on ESPN with Leeds. I didn't get that many carries, not sure why, but I had 11 tackles on defense. I did score two touchdowns in that one. Next game with Maplewood, I had a real good game with two more touchdowns. We blew out West Morgan in our third game but I had three touchdowns on seven carries before I left the game.

"I got my weight down in the off-season so my lateral speed, my breakaway speed with acceleration has improved. Being lighter has allowed me to be more versatile and able to put some moves on the corners and the linebackers, get behind the defense. On defense, I'm able to get up there faster to make a play on the ball."

Miller knows he has some great SEC offers, but wants to get as much information as possible on each school to be sure about making a college decision.

"I would love to have my decision made by the end of the season," he said. "I'd like to make all of my visits though because this is a decision that will affect the rest of my life. The biggest questions I ask is does the college have an at-home feel to it? Will my parents be comfortable with me being there? If something happens will I be taken care of? Academics are certainly important because there's so much more than just being on the field. If I don't make it to the next level, the NFL, then I want a degree that will help get me far in life.

"Living in Alabama it's hard not to know about the SEC and their programs. Obviously I know a lot about Alabama and Auburn, but with the SEC Network I'm getting very familiar with all of the schools. I watch it every chance I get."

Madison Academy has one of the top teams in the state in Alabama 3A. They'll take on Sheffield this Friday in a regional matchup. Top Stories