A key member of Alabama’s latest national championship team comes from deep in the Garnet & Black heart of Gamecocks Country.
Columbia native Christian Miller stepped up with clutch play and veteran wisdom in the Crimson Tide’s come-from-behind win in overtime against the Georgia Bulldogs Monday.
It was the second national championship team Miller has been a part of, also winning it all after the 2015 season when Alabama beat the Clemson Tigers.
Although Miller was expected to play much more this season, this was just the fourth game of the season for the Spring Valley High School product. Miller missed significant time after he suffered a torn biceps in Alabama’s opener against Florida State and missed nearly three months before returning for the regular-season finale against Auburn.
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After recording a tackle in the Iron Bowl loss, Miller added another against Clemson in the Sugar Bowl, a College Football Playoff semifinal.
The redshirt junior saved his best play for the last contest, the CFP championship game played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Miller had one sack, one tackle for loss in the 26-23 win.
As important as his play was, Miller’s experience and calm under pressure might have been more important. He and his fellow veterans helped so many of the Tide’s young contributors after they fell behind the Bulldogs by 13 points in the third quarter.
“There were some guys that hadn’t been in a position like this before,” Miller said, according to Ben Jones, a writer for Tuscaloosa News. “Us older guys know how it is to be in a position like this. We had to tell everybody we had a whole ’nother half to play.”
This has been a special season for Miller, son of former South Carolina Gamecocks and NFL linebacker Corey Miller. In addition to Monday’s championship game victory, and the comeback from what was once considered a season-ending injury, Miller also graduated from Alabama.
Miller graduated earlier this month with a degree in kinesiology.
“That was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I just looked forward to graduating and getting that degree after all those years of school,” Miller said prior to the Sugar Bowl. “I just was so proud. And then to see my parents so proud, it meant a lot. It’s something that can’t be taken away from me. Now I’m pursuing a master’s degree, and I’m excited to just continue with that.”
He has another year of eligibility left and, potentially, a pro career after that.