“Every kid’s dream is to go D-1,” said Arizona’s newest linebacker DeAndre Miller. So it made sense that on National Signing Day he had a big smile on his face, after all he had just accomplished one of the biggest goals he had set for himself. DeAndre’s dream is not all about football like most kids in his shoes. In fact what most impressed me most about Miller is that after asking him about signing, he talked about education before football.
Most kids will talk about everything but education. “Arizona is a great school and a great fit for me… You know every kid wants to be in the NFL and I hope that works out for me but education is first and I am just happy to be there” Miller said.
The reason why he will be getting such a great opportunity is because the linebacker from Buckeye High School is a beast. Physically he is a big guy but the thing I noticed immediately is the respect the other players at the press conference gave him. We are talking about the best football players in the state. They are Alpha males who always want to be “tough” and “hard” but everyone there was giving Miller his respect.
Yet being such a tough player at a tough position, Miller remains incredibly humble and maintains a realistic approach. When asked why he chose to play for the Wildcats versus other schools the first thing he mentioned was the fans and the city of Tucson, “It’s a college town. They (Tucson) don’t have any NFL teams or basketball, its just University of Arizona, so everybody goes there and its lights out man!”
The next thing he mentions is education again. This seems to be a reoccurring theme for Miller. Finally his third reason was football oriented, he said that the coaches were a big factor as well “They didn’t try to sell me on anything like an ad, they told what they had and if I wanted it, then I wanted it, if I didn’t I didn’t.”
For Miller and his family they appreciated the coaching staff’s honest approach, “Obviously they did a good job because…” as he smiles proudly, “…as you can see I signed with the University of Arizona.”
Miller is a linebacker who likes to lay the hat. He played middle linebacker at Buckeye because he was so good at stopping the run. “My coach gave me the option of playing outside or middle, I chose middle because I like to hit the running-back as hard as possible.”
That being said Miller knows that he will have to improve at defending the passing game because he was so good at stopping the run. “I am so focused on hitting whoever has the ball, that sometimes it takes me a few seconds to get back (in coverage).”
As far as at Arizona goes Miller is not sure where the coaches will have him “I think the coaches will have me playing outside, that is why I want to work on my coverage.”
There is a lot of promise as far as his coverage ability goes. Miller prefers man coverage to zone. Players, especially linebackers, rarely like to play man because of how difficult it can be. So for the coaches, that has to be a good sign.
Well weather the coaches have him playing outside or middle linebacker, DeAndre is ready and focused on making the most of his college career. He is the type of kid who will succeed both on the field and in the classroom, not to mention he has an incredible outlook. He should be a valuable asset to the Wildcat coaching staff over his years at Arizona.