Two weeks ago, Christian Miller watched as Spring Valley teammate Joey Maxberry signed a National Letter of Intent to play college football and imagined himself sitting in the same seat in a year.
Now, he’s imagining himself seated at that table pulling on a baseball cap of Florida orange.
Miller committed to Florida on Saturday, choosing the Gators over nearly a dozen other programs, including South Carolina and Clemson.
Spring Valley’s junior linebacker is one of the state’s top 2014 prospects and one of the first to announce a commitment to an out-of-state school.
“Everything fit really well, academically and athletically, and I can see myself playing there for four or five years,” said Miller, a four-star prospect on SCVarsity.com.
“It’s one of the top schools in the SEC and the nation, and my dream is to win the national championship and I believe I have a chance to do that there,” he said.
Miller elected not to attended South Carolina, where his father, Corey Miller, was a star linebacker.
“It’s not about where your family played, it’s about where you fit in, and I honestly like the opportunity of going somewhere where I can make my own path, not have as big a shadow to fall on me,” Miller said.
Corey Miller feels that decision will help his son avoid some of the stress of unfair comparisons and heavy expectations that come with his legacy.
“It would have been so awesome to see my son put on the garnet and black and run out to ‘2001,’ but it’s probably best for him to do it on his own somewhere else,” the father said. “The schools that were recruiting him were the best in the country, so he had good options.”
Christian Miller said he is looking forward to spending time working out with his Vikings teammates this summer instead of on college visits.
Vikings coach Miles Aldridge praised Miller as a leader for the Vikings on the field, in the weightroom and in the classroom. But, Aldridge said, “he is a long ways from a finished product, and he’s so young, so there’s a maturation process that’s going to carry over to all aspects of the game for him.”
As a junior, Miller led the Vikings with 156 tackles and 14 sacks.
Corey Miller said he got a kick out of listening to college coaches assess his youngest son — the boy he put to bed bedside his oversized helmet as an infant and put in Pop Warner pads and helmet at 5-years old.
“I knew when I saw the growth that this kid was a tremendous athlete, and I know what they see in him — his best days are ahead of him,” Corey Miller said.
And now that Christian Miller is blazing his own path, it is his father who will be following along.
“I told him wherever he went, that’s where Dad was going to go,” the father said. “I’ll wear his colors and, as hard as it will be, I’ll do the Gator chomp. I’m a Gamecock, but that’s my son.”