Chargers send scout east

The San Diego Chargers scouts have been viewing many players for the past few seasons. Their notebooks are filled with little tidbits about this player and that. Those binders eventually get formed into reports and they make their money on day two of the NFL Draft when prospects aren't such a sure thing. Over the past few years, the team has done well in the undrafted market, perhaps better than any other team, and this year already they have their eyes on one such player.

Since 2001, and the arrival of John Butler and AJ Smith, the Chargers have been proactive in undrafted free agency and unearthed several gems. In 2002, it was Eric Parker and Jason Ball who burst on the scene. In 2003, the names Phil Bogle, Stephen Cooper, Kassim Osgood and Antonio Gates all made a positive impact.

Now they seek their third year of similar success and fittingly it starts with an offensive lineman. Similar to the last two years where they found starters out of the ranks of the undrafted, the Chargers are looking to strike gold again with a Division III player from Louisiana College.

His stats:

-Started every game in his four year career at Louisiana College, mostly at Right Tackle
-Was redshirted during his first year at LC because the football team was still in a developmental stage (Louisiana College restarted football in 1998, with 98-99 being building years, and 2000 was the first year of competition since 1967)
-3.00 cumulative GPA
-Allowed only 1 sack this year
-32 repetitions on the bench press

Scouts from the San Diego Chargers have visited little known Louisiana College for an up-close look at the Wildcats' mammoth star offensive tackle.

Matt Miller, a former Lafayette High starter, stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 325 pounds. He is strong, agile and has dominated opponents for Division III Louisiana College.

"From listening to them talk," said LC coach Marty Secord, "I believe he's got a shot.

"Some are going to label him a developmental player," Secord said. "They're going to say he dominated our league (the American Southwest Conference), but he hasn't faced good competition."

Miller, coincidentally, earned second team All-Louisiana, with Louisiana College the only Division III football school in the state and the rest Division I football playing schools. He also earned American Southwest Conference tri-offensive lineman of the year, 1st team All-American Southwest Conference, Named to d3football.com's All-American team (2nd team), and Don Hansen's football Gazette All-Southern Regional team.

He also helped pave the way for the Conferences regular season leading rusher, Wayne Davis (1381 yards), including Wayne's record breaking game in which he gained 322 yards against McMurry this year.

Once the dust settles, likely sometime after the Senior Bowl, Hudson Houck will head to the bayou to see if he will put his seal of approval on the behemoth.

Miller has already shown impressive strength, pounding 32 reps of 225 and by the next time the scouts swing his way that should go up even more.

Gustavus Adolphus receiver Ryan Hoag was the only Division III player drafted last year and he went with the last overall pick.

Miller currently figures to be another gem plucked from the ranks of the undrafted; the question remains what team will grab him.

The Chargers, by sending scouts to the Division III School, have heard the news spreading about Miller. The key is Coach Houck. Ask the Bogle's and Ball's of the world if there could have been a better choice. The answer will be no.

Come April, Miller could be saying yes to come to San Diego.

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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