As a former football player and alum, Corey Miller’s allegiance always will be toward South Carolina.
But this week, Miller was beaming with pride as he sported an Alabama pullover walking around the studios at WACH Fox, where he is the station’s sports director. He has good reason to sport the Tide’s colors this week as his son, Christian, will play for Alabama in Monday’s national championship game against Clemson.
“You see me wearing my Alabama stuff and I take a lot of heat for it, but that is my son and I am a fan of Alabama,” Miller said. “I am always going to be a Gamecock alum, but right now I’m an Alabama fan and Christian’s No. 1 fan.”
Miller’s pride isn’t felt throughout his house. His two stepchildren and his wife are Clemson graduates. But Miller and his wife will be sitting in Alabama’s section for the game, so he said his wife will be pulling for the Crimson Tide.
All of the Miller family will be in Arizona for the championship game. Miller will have split duties as he is there for work, which included getting to interview his son during Saturday’s media day. But come Monday night, he will be a proud father sitting in the stands for the game.
“When I played, I never got anxious and didn’t feel that nervous feeling. I feel nervous because of him and the fact he has an opportunity to win a national championship,” Miller said. “I played football 20 years of my life and never won anything. So for me, my excitement that he has an opportunity to be part of a great football team and be a part of something many athletes never have a chance to do.”
As a player at USC, the elder Miller is no stranger to facing Clemson. The Tigers also have a history with his son. Clemson was the first school to offer Christian coming out of Spring Valley High, where Miller earned All-America honors in high school and was the state’s top recruit for the Class of 2014.
But Miller passed over Clemson and USC and initially committed to Florida before changing his mind to Alabama.
Miller, a linebacker, redshirted as a freshman and earned all-SEC academic honors for the Tide, which won an SEC championship before losing in the semifinals of the inaugural College Football Playoff. This season, he has played in 11 games and had a pass deflection in the 38-0 victory over Michigan State in the semifinals Dec. 31.
But Miller, 6-foot-4, 213 pounds, will have a good a shot to compete for a starting spot next season.
“He would love to be on the field and playing in 80 percent of the plays, but he is a freshman and has three more good years to play. He is patient with it,” his father said. “He has had a blessed career already and been a part of two SEC championship teams and getting to play for a national title. That was part of choosing Alabama, to develop from a young raw athlete to a mature football player and play on the biggest stages in college football. That is what Alabama sells.”
Midlands ties in title game
Christian Miller: Played at Spring Valley and is redshirt freshman linebacker for Crimson Tide. Has played in 11 games this season.
Marcus Edmond: Redshirt sophomore defensive back played at Lower Richland. Has appeared in all 14 games this season and has made two tackles.
Greg Huegel: Redshirt freshman kicker played at Blythewood. He is 25 of 29 on field goals and 52 of 57 on extra points this season.
Denzel Johnson: Freshman played at A.C. Flora and is redshirting this season.
Jeff Scott: Tigers’ co-offensive coordinator played high school football at Hammond, and was head coach of Blythewood’s 2006 Class 3A state title team.
Cannon Smith: Redshirt freshman tight end played at Hammond. Has appeared in all 14 games and has one tackle. His father, Bill Smith, was member of Clemson’s 1981 national title team.
Jalen Williams: Freshman linebacker played at Blythewood. He has appeared in all 14 games and made 14 tackles, including two sacks.