Christen Miller: All-American DT talks ‘Dawgs, his top 5 and a faithful decision date
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Christen Miller will make sure Christ is a big part of his commitment day. That’s why he will make his college decision known on April 4.
That’s Easter. The charismatic and exuberant rising senior at Cedar Grove High School wants to use that day to show his connection to a strong Christian faith.
“I did it on the perfect day which is Easter,” Miller said. “I feel like it was a good day. It was the Resurrection day and a God day. I feel like that was the perfect day to commit on April 4. I did trust this process to my best ability. But I felt like now was the time to go again and trust it as much as I trust God. I am going to trust God to just lead on with my process and take a big step forward. A huge step.”
Others still need visits. They need to go through the process as a priority recruit. The 6-foot-5, 285-pound defensive line prospect was just ready. He is still just ready.
“It was just me and my family sitting down and going off of God,” he said. “It was like ‘Okay, we know that we’re ready to go with this process’ so why are we waiting to take visits, we might as well make a decision.”
He knows. The school where he is planning to commit to? It does not.
“I’m going to kind of make it a little surprise,” he said. “I’m going to call them the day of my commitment. I’m going to call them before I am committed to just let them know I’m locked in.”
How hard was it making that decision?
“I wouldn’t say it was too hard,” Miller said. “Nothing is too hard for my God when you trust in him. If I was lying about it being hard, then I would be flying. It wasn’t hard but it had some stressful times. Some very stressful times. Knowing and wondering when were we going to have visits again? It was kind of like ‘Okay, God. Are you sure I’m ready for this?’ and it was like ‘Okay’ and so now I’m all for it.”
Miller described it as doing a “full background check” on what he was thinking. He had to see how other players at each school liked it.
“It took months to kind of get a feel and to see if I liked it and if it was the best fit for me,” he said. “… It was like I wanted to be at a lot of places, but I needed to let my heart and my God lead me to where I needed to be. When that happened, I was locked in and I have no regrets.”
The decision was made in his parent’s room. He always wanted to commit on Sunday. Is that because he is such a spiritual and faith-based young man?
“That’s a perfect read,” Miller said. “I wanted to commit on a Sunday just because I will wake up and go to church and have a good Sunday with family and go eat Sunday dinner. Then I get around the house and let everybody else know in the family and then post it all on Instagram. Then let the whole world know what I am doing.”
Then it will be real, he says.
“I am going to get a little touchy on it,” Miller continued. “Growing up in a Christian home I wasn’t always packed in with God. I had to find him for myself. Growing up my Dad was a pastor. Growing up in a Christian home a lot of people think that Christian kids are wild. A lot of people think God is forced on you.”
“But then you have to find God yourself. You had to find that love for God and God’s love yourself. Not because your Dad is a pastor. So I felt like when I found that love for myself it was dangerous. Because now I know my God. That’s how I look at it. That’s the main thing for me.”
“When it is your God, you understand him a lot more. You learn how to listen to him first. You learn how to talk to him and how to move with him guiding your life. We’re not perfect as people. We all make mistakes, but when my God is my God, he is always going to be there for me.”
If it seems like this is more pulpit than pulling for this team or that team, then that is how this story just has to be. His name is Christen Miller and he professes to seek out Christ in his life in all things.
That will include his college football decision.
A big Ohio State offer evolves Christen Miller’s top 4 to a top 5
Christen Miller has always held Ohio State in high esteem. Part of that has to do with the national allure and reputation of the program. Part of it has to do with the undeniable first-round pick pipeline for DLs under longtime Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson.
Former Cedar Grove All-American Antwauan Jackson is also now at Ohio State. He’s been talking up the program to him and they are close. Miller wears the No. 52 at Cedar Grove. That number has to go to a player that upholds everything the team wants to see both on and off the field.
Jackson did. Miller does.
He dissected the way he breaks down his top 5 for DawgNation.
“I have always been giving Florida their respect. Because they deserve it. Coach [Dan] Mullen, the one thing I love about him is he always wants to get better. Every year. They are always hunting to get better. [Defensive line] Coach [David] Turner always wants to get better. They have got a lot of dark horses in their defensive line room. Zachary Carter. You’ve got Brenton Cox.”
“You’ve got a lot of those guys who are going to be draft prospects. Coach Turner does a lot of good stuff up there. [Director of Recruiting Relations] coach [David] Cooper has been showing me love. ‘Coach Coop’ and the whole Florida staff just shows me love. I will always give Florida their respect. That is somewhere you can go and you can go to the draft as well just like at Ohio State, too.”
“UGA is always just an hour away. It is my hometown school. The vibe is always immaculate when it comes to UGA and the Bulldogs.
The energy that they bring and I have got a lot of love for coach [Tray] Scott and everybody up there in Athens is why Georgia is in my top five.”
“Georgia Tech is about branding and being able to build a brand. They are all about it.”
“It really is the darkhorse. People were very surprised when I put them in my top four originally. They always show love low-key. I always felt like I never gave them the respect I should have given them in the first place. As I started doing research my [former Cedar Grove] teammate Jordan Grier committed there and signed there. He was putting a lot of good stuff in my ear and they always have done a good job reaching out to me and talking to me.”
“Then the coach from Georgia [Charlton Warren] has gone up there to Indiana and I was like they are definitely going to be another top team like they were this year. I watched them play in every game this year and against Ohio State, they just played with pure heart. Even though they lost to the Buckeyes.”
“It is just coach [defensive line coach Larry Johnson] and ‘coach J’ doesn’t really have to do too much. If you know ‘Coach J’ he is going to show love always, but it is just the stain he has on his name. It is pure amazing anyway. The things he does every year. You see he has done put Chase Young in the league. He is the Defensive Rookie of the Year.”
“He just puts talent out there every year. You see what he has with Antwaun [Jackson] for next year. Antwaun has a chance to get drafted next year. Antwaun is always putting stuff in my ear about Ohio State. Good stuff. I know what Ohio State does. They were in the national championship game this year. They are always going to be up there and always going to have a chance to win.”
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How hard is UGA recruiting Christen Miller?
Miller is feeling the love from the hometown school at this time.
“Coach [Tray] Scott sends me voice memos,” Miller said. “If you know coach Scott at all, he is funny. He is always showing love. The main thing with coach Scott is he sends me these messages that say something. He is not just staying in touch. It will be motivational messages like ‘Christian keep fighting for all your dreams’ and I remember when I got the All-American Bowl and committed to play there. He was happy for me, but was like ‘Christian it doesn’t mean anything you still have to keep working’ and it meant a lot to me.”
“But it shows me that coach [Scott] sees a lot in me. He told me to not get caught up in that All-American Bowl honor and stuff. He wanted to let me know I still have to keep working every day to get better. That was the main thing to me. Like this coach is not getting caught up in the hype for me. He’s for me. He wants to see the very best come out of me. That’s what I really love about coach Scott. He does send me a lot of motivational messages. He is always there. He is family.”
Miller did say there was some communication with All-American DT Mykel Williams about their decision timing, too. Williams will make his college decision known on March 15.
“I had already tapped in with Mykell about a lot of stuff,” Miller said. “That’s like my brother. That’s my boy.”
“They all know about everything and what we are all going to do,” he said. “They all know everything.”
Check out the back-and-forth between Miller and Williams at a recent workout with pass rush training expert Chuck Smith.
EXTRA: The @chucksmithnfl Late Night Get Off Challenge bracket 🔥🔥🔥 everyone came to see. @Trenchking2 vs. @MykelW_50 and it was a 🎪🍿. Saw a pair of quick 260+ pound DLs getting better. 😎 futures for both of these young men. pic.twitter.com/IgCL9qsiVd
— Jeff Sentell (@jeffsentell) February 15, 2021
The moving parts of the Christen Miller decision
Miller said his decision was set for one school for the longest time. Then it changed. And then it changed again. It went back and forth about four times.
“I finally was like was it one school or the other,” he said. “It was really like that.”
He was “shocked” that Gunner Stockton chose Georgia earlier this year.
“Everybody thought Gunner was going somewhere else,” Miller said. “I call him ‘Young Gunna’ and everything was he’s going to South Carolina and then Auburn. But when he chose Georgia, that was one of the most shocking commitments that I have ever seen.”
Miller was able to take a self-guided visit to Ohio State during this past season. He did so in late October. That was the only school he went to check out independently during the 2020 season.
Before the pandemic halted everything, he was able to visit Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech and Tennessee.
What was the biggest reason why he chose the school he will reveal on April 4? He said it was “the fit” with everything.
“Being an athlete is cool but that is for right now,” Miller said. “My brain, though, is going to need to benefit from this decision 40 years from now. It is a 40-year decision and not a four-year decision. That’s what it all came down to.”
He has done virtual visits with Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech and Ohio State. He was impressed by the sneak preview he got at the new massive UGA team and workout facilities. Those will open up after G-Day.
“Did I?” he pretty much blurted out. “Uh, that was sick. That was sick.”
He gave a quick tour guide appraisal.
“What stood out to me was the space and everything,” Miller said. “Everything at Georgia before was so crowded. Like when we went to the film room for the visit. I feel like it is needed more space. Everywhere. Everywhere you go to and will go to at Georgia now, there’s more space. There’s more space everywhere. A lot of space.”
“I feel like space is very needed in the times we are in right now. It makes it more fun when you go to practice and you want to be with your teammates and be cool and hang out around the facility and be fun. I feel like that and everything now that they are building at Georgia is legit.”
He believes that $80 million spent on that facility will be worth it. He predicts it will be a big recruiting tool when the recruits get the chance to see it all live again.
“I feel like it is probably going to be one of the top two facilities in the country when everybody sees that,” Miller said. “Everybody is going to want to be there. I would put ‘Bama and Oregon and Georgia in there now with the country’s top football facilities.”
Miller plans a major when he gets to college in Drama and Theatre. He certainly has the personality for it.
Check out what he did at the Chuck Smith Pass Rush Get-Off Challenge. He won that event.
— Jeff Sentell (@jeffsentell) February 15, 2021
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