Thursday, June 28, 2012
Matt Miller looking to make an impact
Offensive lineman Matt Miller, who gave an oral commitment to the University of Wisconsin on Wednesday, is often described as having a nasty disposition on the football field.
"Absolutely," Miller said in a phone interview, without apology. "I'm best known for that."
It's not hard to figure out where he got that approach. His brother, Jack Miller, who is two years older, is a freshman center at Michigan. Needless to say, the back yard battles at their house in Toledo, Ohio, got rather spirited.
"I think that's a big part of it," Matt Miller said. "I think a lot of it's family stuff. That's the way my family is and just the way I've been.
"It's just a big understanding, when you're playing football, which is a very violent and physical sport, you've got to bring the tenacity to the field."
Miller, 6-foot-5, 260 pounds, is from St. John's Jesuit and is viewed by some recruiting analysts as one of the best interior line prospects in the Midwest. He projects to be a guard at UW. Among his other offers were Michigan State, Miami (Fla.) and Georgia Tech.
St. John's football coach Doug Pearson confirmed Miller's nasty streak, but added it falls just short of his brother's.
"Not quite as nasty as his older brother, but he's pretty darn close," Pearson said. "But he's two years younger, too. He's still got time to develop that.
"The thing I like about the Miller boys, both of them, is the fact they're great kids here in school, everybody likes them and all of that. But when they lace up their football cleats, they kind of transform personalities on the field. It's just the way you want it as a coach."
Matt Miller was recruited by Michigan, although it filled up quickly on offensive line prospects and hasn't offered. The Wolverines have 22 commitments, including five offensive linemen.
"It was one of those things where, if it happened, it happened," Matt Miller said of playing with his brother. "If Michigan would have offered me and if I would have felt Michigan was my best choice, then maybe I would have gone there.
"But it wouldn't have been because of my brother or anything like that. Obviously, I was recruited by Michigan and everything. It was definitely brought up, but it didn't happen, so it'll definitely be interesting going against him."
Miller attended a funeral on Wednesday morning for a friend who died in a boating accident, so it was a painful day for him. He had a hard time picking out the thing he liked most about UW.
"I think Madison is such a cool town, great campus," he said. "Obviously, a prestigious school. The football program and the coaching staff, it all speaks for itself, the tradition and the recent winning. It's just fantastic there. It's really tough to say what was the most impressive."
In the end, it might have been UW's tradition of producing great linemen that spoke the loudest to him.
"I think everyone knows, when you think Wisconsin, you think O-line," Miller said. "When you think O-line, you think Wisconsin. That was a big part of my decision."
While the back yard tussels with his brother are over, Matt envisions lively discussions around the dinner table about which football program is better, while fighting to get relatives aligned on each side.
"It's going to be weird," Matt Miller said of playing in the Big Ten Conference with his brother. "My sophomore year, his senior year, we played on the same (high school) team. Obviously, we grew up in the same house together.
"I'm really used to being on his team, although in the backyard football games as little kids, we were always put on separate teams. There's been a lot of fights, so it kind of takes me back to the old days. We'll see how the dinner table goes when we see each other over Christmas. Which sides of the family are picking which school. Let's hope Matt Miller takes the badgers to a whole nother level. GO BUCKY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!