You have to feel for 2009 Northwestern LB Jerel Miller, at least we do. The youngster we've dubbed "The Tackling Machine" still awaits his first scholarship offer. He had a strong showing at the Under Armour/Scout.com combine in Charlotte and has dedicated each offseason to improving his stock. We caught up with Miller for an update on the very latest and he talked at length about just where things stand for him.
We told you that we feel for Miller and we feel that way because he's being considered a tweener. He checks in at 5'10 220 pounds. He's a monstrous linebacker on the high school level but college coaches have apparently been on the fence as to whether he's a backer or safety on the next level. What they shouldn't have any questions about is his ability to seek out the ball and make a sure tackle. Miller went out and topped his sophomore statistics with an unbelievable 187 tackles, 3 pass breakups, and 3 sacks last year as a junior.
He talked about his recent combine performance in Charlotte and how he felt he did while in the Queen City. "I think I did good but not great. I pulled my musle the week before and wasn't full speed. I think my 40 time could have been at least a 4.5 or better if I was 100%. I still did well in the 1 on 1's though because nobody caught a pass on me." Miller posted a 4.66 second 40 on what was a very slow surface during the day of testing. We've taken that into account and he's probably correct that he probably would've been in the 4.5 range had the surface been faster and traction wasn't such an issue.
Regardless Miller remains upbeat about things heading into the summer before his senior season. There's plenty of schools that will be visited by the 2009 prospect in the near future. "I know that I'm going to Tennessee, South Carolina, Clemson, Alabama, and North Carolina State but there might be a few more that I get to as well."
Going back to the aforementioned subject we mentioned above about coaches being somewhat uncertain as to where Miller could end up playing positionally on the college level we asked him what kind of feedback he's been getting from recruiters so far. "Some are saying for me to play strong safety and some are for linebacker but I think I can play both. I want to play linebacker. I think I'm big enough. I'm about 220 pounds now but I'm also faster." Miller says he has a ton of phone numbers for college coaches that are recruiting him but he said he keeps in touch most often with the coaches at Tennessee, South Carolina, Clemson, North Carolina State, and Alabama.
His school list is still quite broad as he's hearing from a number of schools throughout the southeast and beyond. "I'm hearing from USC, Tennessee, Alabama, Clemson, North Carolina, NC State, Duke, Vanderbilt, Georgia, Florida, Notre Dame, Purdue, Rutgers, Auburn, Georgia Tech, and Virginia." He also stated his current top 5 as of today as well. "Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama, Clemson, and NC State are my top 5 right now. Tennessee is my clear favorite right now. If they were to offer me today I would commit on the spot."
We talked about the sheer quality of schools he's hearing from and he feels it's a matter of time before that precious first scholarship offer is extended. "I really think Tennessee and Bama are close to offering. They both say that when I come to their camp and play well that I most likely will get an offer. South Carolina is still coming hard too, I can't forget about them."
For now he's dialed in and will continue his daily workouts to try and improve each and every day. "I may not have that first offer yet but I'm getting close, it should happen this summer."
SCPrepNation.com will continue to bring you the very latest regarding Jerel Miller's recruitment as he patiently awaits his first scholarship offer. Stay tuned!