Moving Up

Defensive end Julian Miller had some thoughts about his future when the fourth quarter of the Big 33 All-Star Classic in Hershey, Pa., go underway on Saturday evening.

"When I hit the fourth quarter I was thinking, 'There won't be any more 12 minute quarters for me. I'm getting ready to hit the big time, and it's going to be 15 minute quarters from now on when I go down to WVU."

Miller, who played for Ohio in the game, showed the potential which lead WVU to offer a scholarship. He displayed an impressive speed rush, and also showcased his quickness with a pair of tackles on special teams. That a defensive end has the agility and quickness to get downfield in coverage, and the ability to make tackles in the open field, is something of a rarity, but those building blocks will certainly be put to use when he arrives at West Virginia in just a couple of weeks.

The well-spoken Miller isn't solely depending on those talents, however. He knows he needs to put on weight and increase his skill set if he is going to become a complete college player.

"I need to use my hands more," he said when asked to identify his primary areas for improvement. "My feet and speed are good, but I need to learn to use my hands more to get off blocks. And then, I need to get my weight up so that when I get moving I can be unstoppable."

Hand work is an often-overlooked aspect of defensive line play, but it is crucial for a defensive lineman, who has to disengage from blocks in order to make tackles. It's an area that WVU defensive line coach Bill Kirelawich has always emphasized, and the fact that Miller has already picked up on that certainly bodes well for his future.

In his thoughts about his last high school game, Miller also gave consideration to the fact that he will be back at the bottom of the heap -- a fact of life for most every player coming out of high school.

"That did give me some motivation when I came here for the game," Miller said. "You come here from your school where you are an all-star, but there are all-stars from all the other schools too. You're just another player, and now I'm going to WVU and I'll be starting out at the bottom. I just have to do what I have to do [to work my way up], and try to make it on the field."

Miller certainly seems to have the right attitude and approach in mind to begin his college career. Before he does so, however (most players are set to report on July 1), he will get in some time with his family.

"These two weeks I'm going to spend some time with my family and friends and get everything ready so I can work hard when I go down to WVU."

BlueGoldNews Top Stories