In this installment of the Recruit Notebook, we meet a player who might be the hidden gem of Miami’s 2018 class: DT Jordan Miller.
Many times, players who are lowly rated or under recruited play with a chip on their shoulders to earn the recognition they feel they deserve. Such was the case with 3-star DT Jordan Miller.
Miller started his HS career at Palatka (FL), a tiny town with a small and unsuccessful football team. For those wondering, Palatka is 11-19 in the last 3 years. That’s not great. Miller was there for 2 years of 8-11 football, and was an unknown player on the recruiting trail.
Beyond Palatka’s poor play, and the coaching staff not having had college level players before (so they didn’t have the knowledge or connections to push Miller to college coaches), Miller didn’t attend recruiting camps or combines. When you put that together, that’s the formula for a player being under the radar.
To raise his profile, and also have a chance at making the playoffs for the first time in his HSFB career, Miller moved to Jacksonville (FL) Sandalwood HS for his senior season. Not only does Sandalwood play 8A football, a clear step up from the 5A ball Palatka plays, but they’re a good team who has both made the playoffs and pushed players to colleges in recent years; 2017 Miami signee LB Bradley Jennings Jr. is a Sandalwood alum, for example.
Miller quickly made an impression with his strong play at Sandalwood, and helped them to a playoff appearance in 2017. Even with that, Miller didn’t really see his recruiting profile rise until after his senior season was over.
In the contact period before the Early Signing Period in December, Miller started to see increased attention and contact with FBS level teams. Virginia, Tennessee and Miami all offered, and Alabama inquired about the 6’4” 330lb DT.
Being a late riser, there was little time for Miller to decipher which teams were serious about him, and which were just kicking the tires. He visited Virginia, but Miller, a longtime Canes fan, committed to Miami and then took his Official Visit to Coral Gables just days before NSD.
Miami, having a desperate need for DTs, may have found a diamond in the rough with Miller. We’ll find out bout that in a year or two.
On the 247sports composite, Miller is a 3-star prospect, the #88 DT in this class, #189 in the State of Florida, and #1244 recruit overall.
Miller committed to Miami over Virginia, Georgia Tech, and Tennessee from a list of 6 other offers. But, it should be said that several other teams were contacting Miller after his senior season, and his offer list would have been bigger if there was more time between the end of his season and National Signing Day.
Miller as a Player
After toiling in obscurity at Palatka (FL) for years, Miller moved up in both team and competition faced when he transferred to Jacksonville (FL) Sandalwood for his senior season. If that school name sounds familiar, it should: 2017 LB signee Bradley Jennings Jr. attended Sandalwood. (No, they didn’t play together, since Miller just went there for 1 year).
The first thing you notice about Miller is his size. He’s a legit 6’4” 330lbs and you can see he’s massive the first time you turn on the film. He has a thick lower half, and a bit of a gut, but not a ton of bad weight (although he has some), which is impressive for a man of his size. Miller is quicker than you’d think for a man of his size, and very strong. He’s a developmental player (will probably take some time before being a consistent contributor), but he’s a prototypical nose guard/1 tech DT.
Obviously, speed is not going to be a big part of Miller’s game. Also, he needs development with his technique and conditioning. I think Miller is maybe closer to being a contributor than his ranking leads us to believe, and Coach Kool will enjoy working with a player of Miller’s physical talents.
Miller's "project" label is more of a result of his late recruitment than his actual ability. Needs to lose weight/get stronger/learn how to play DT, which is the same for almost every DT coming out of HS.— Daniel Gould (@dgould151) February 6, 2018
Miami needs DTs, and moreover, a replacement for Kendrick Norton at Nose Guard. Miller has the size to be that player, but it remains to be seen if he has the strength and consistent technique to be a high level contributor as a freshman.
Chance for a redshirt: 5/10
Miller could come in and be the backup NG behind Jonathan Ford, be Ford-level contributor (~100 snaps), or need a redshirt and none of those circumstances would surprise me. Miller has the physical tools to be successful at Miami, but his time as an impact/top level player may be a year (or more) away.
That’s it for this installment of the recruit notebook.