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SportAlabama's Christian Miller is somehow good at everything he tries; NFL is next

20:00  15 april  2019
20:00  15 april  2019 Source:   sportingnews.com

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Alabama linebacker Christian Miller suffered a hamstring injury against Oklahoma and his status is I can tell you they are doing everything they can to try and get him ready with treatment and rehab. “ He ’ s working hard,” Corey Miller said. " He ’ s encouraged and has a good attitude just like he did

Still playing only about half of Alabama ' s defensive snaps (I'm guessing based on tape), Miller was excellent in 2018, showing off a diverse pass rush plan, terrific hand usage and the physicality Miller may not be the most high ceiling edge defender in the class, but he looks like a solid rotational player

Alabama's Christian Miller is somehow good at everything he tries; NFL is next © Provided by Perform Media Channels Limited

For most his life, Christian Miller has been known as the son of Corey Miller, former NFL player.

While that is true, after starring at Alabama, Christian Miller is expected to be selected in this month's NFL Draft. And there is so much more to him than that simple sentence.

"I was probably a little ahead of my time," Miller told SN matter-of-factly.

In so many ways, he is right.

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When Miller was 4, he practiced with his older brother’s Pop Warner football team. When he was 11 or 12, he got a BB gun and tried his hand at making dinner. When he was 14, he bought his first car. Not long thereafter, he sold it and bought another. And another. And another. He has already earned his master’s degree.

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Amazingly, one of those players is Christian Miller of Alabama . How could it be that an EDGE with the potential to be an impact player at the next level He has all the traits that would suggest a future playmaker at EDGE. His size, athleticism, versatility, and length are everything NFL scouts look for in

"I was a jack of all trades," Miller said. "I was one of the better athletes in school growing up always, so I did get into a skateboarding phase and had fun doing that. I’d go fishing and I’d go hunting. I was pretty unique, I would say. I was artistic. I was really good with electronics and computers.

"I was blessed with multiple skills, I'd say."

Today, Miller’s No. 1 skill is sacking the quarterback. Corey Miller said his son shares some traits with his former NFL teammate, the menacing Pro Football Hall of Famer linebacker Lawrence Taylor.

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Miller, however, was not always ahead of his time. A four-star recruit out of Spring Valley High School in Columbia, S.C., Miller instead was a late bloomer in the world of big-time football.

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It’ s safe to say that Miller won’t be competing to be the Broncos’ kicker this season. Based on his track record at outside linebacker as well as his performance so far in training camp, letting Gary Kubiak even had to put an extra offensive lineman on the field to try and contain Miller in Sunday’ s practice.

Christian Miller NFL Prospect profile for Stats, videos, combine results, draft projections and expert analysis. Next Gen Stats. Ways to Watch. NFL Network. Christian Miller . Alabama . EDGE. LB31. Prospect Info. College. Alabama . Hometown. Class.

After redshirting at Alabama in 2014 and not recording any stats on defense in 2015, Miller was on track to start in 2017, but he missed most of the season with a biceps injury. While a key member of the Crimson Tide defense to start the 2018 season, he did not make his first career start until the fourth game of his fifth year. After recording three sacks from 2015 through 2017, Miller had 8.5 sacks in 2018 to put himself in position to follow in his father’s NFL footsteps.

Miller’s path to the draft started when the 4-year-old got his first taste of football on his dad’s Pop Warner team.

"I'd probably get scolded for that today,” said Corey Miller, who played for the Giants from 1991 through 1997 before finishing his career with the Vikings in 1999. “I had him doing drills. His mom was like, ‘I don’t know about that.’ But we were teaching tackling and he wanted to play. This little kid just ran over Christian and he was crying. I’m like, ‘Oh, Lord, what have I done? I’ve ruined this kid.’”

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The issue is Alabama ’ s outside linebacker pulled his hamstring during the semifinal game a week “ Christian Miller is questionable for the game,” Nick Saban said. “ He hasn’t been able to do a lot in But as far as me being able to go out there and play to the best of my ability and be strong enough to

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Said Christian: “I was 4 years old and I was going against 8-year-olds. I think it was pretty understandable. We were doing hitting drills and I got the wind knocked out of me. I had to go to the sideline for a little bit to catch my breath, but I was a trooper, and I got back in there.”

It took some pleading with his father to do it.

"I picked him up and said, 'Are you OK?'" Corey continued. "He said, 'I'm OK, Dad.’ I said, ‘You’re not doing any more of this. That’s it.’ He goes, ‘More, Dad. I want to do it again. I want to do it again. I want to do it again.’ I said, ‘What did Dad teach you when you’re tackling somebody that’s bigger than you? Where do you hit him?’ He said, ‘You hit him in the legs.'

"The next play, he hit that same kid right in the legs and wrapped him up perfectly. That became that bond for me coaching him."

Alabama's Christian Miller is somehow good at everything he tries; NFL is next © Provided by Perform Media Channels Limited Williams-Miller-041519-Getty-FTR.jpg

Alabama defensive linemen Quinnen Williams, left, and Christian Miller. (Getty Images)

Given his father’s history, football was the natural path for Christian. Before taking aim at quarterbacks, however, he took aim at squirrels.

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“Being born and raised down South, hunting and fishing is really big down here,” he said. “I’ve always had a passion for being outdoors, whether it was sports or nature. I’ve always enjoyed it and appreciated nature. Like any other kid, for gift ideas, I always wanted that BB gun. I wanted to test my survival skills a little bit. I liked to fish the little ponds that were near my apartment. I learned how to hunt a little bit with a Daisy BB gun.”

As seems to be the case with everything Miller tries, he was good at it. That meant squirrel for dinner, cooked by Chef Christian himself.

"I would never waste it," he said. "I respected and appreciated the outdoors, so I wouldn’t waste anything, whether it was cooking it or trying to make stuff out of the little squirrel pelts. I thought I was a little Davy Crockett."

While “Little Davy” continued to hunt and fish — bass and crappie are his current favorite targets — he then picked up a wrench.

“I’ve always been a saver, and I’m real business-minded,” he said. “Before I was old enough to drive, I would buy and sell dirt bikes and scooters and cars. At 14, I had saved up enough money and got my first car. I wasn’t old enough to operate it, but I was excited to get it and work on it. I used every dollar that I had saved — I bought it myself. From there, I started buying and trading and selling on Craigslist, because I learned how to get a car more value.”

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Amazingly, Miller said he had close to 10 vehicles while in high school, each better than the last.

“I made sure they definitely ran well, but I would do a good job of adding little things to increase their value and just simple things like cleaning it up,” he explained. “I’d have it for a little while and enjoy it and sell them or trade them. I got really good with the advertisements I was making and which sort of cars do better during different times of the year. I learned the tricks of the trade. I went from a $3,000 car to, two years later, I think I had a car that was worth $18,000 by buying and selling and trading them.”

Alabama's Christian Miller is somehow good at everything he tries; NFL is next © Provided by Perform Media Channels Limited Christian-Miller-041519-Getty-FTR.jpg

Christian Miller sacks quarterback Kyler Murray during Alabama's win over Oklahoma in the 2018 Orange Bowl. (Getty Images)

While Miller’s story can’t be told without his father, it also can’t be told without his mother, Lisa. While Corey provided the athletic DNA and football insights, Lisa provided the drive to succeed academically, too. In five years, Miller earned a degree in human performance and exercise science and a master’s in sports business management.

“Honestly, she’s my rock,” he said. “From a young age, after my parents split, mostly in terms of raising us and financially providing for me and my brother, it was her doing the heavy-duty stuff. She was working two jobs. She’d stay up for hours at night after working a 9- or 10-hour day. I saw that, and it’s been vital to my development and my growth as a person, just seeing how hard she worked.

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“It was knowing there’s going to be trials and tribulations, but you’ve just got to keep pressing forward and keep your faith, because she always found a way. No matter how difficult the situation was, she always found a way. She’s the most caring person I know. She’d take the shirt off your back to give it to anybody, whether she knows you or not, because that’s who she is. She’s the most special human being I know. She was in the shadow a little bit, just because my dad played in the NFL and that’s kind of the main focus sometimes with me playing football, but she definitely deserves a ton of credit. I could never repay her for everything she’s done.”

Even while dominating at Spring Valley High School — he was a semifinalist for the high school Butkus Award, which goes to the nation’s best prep linebacker — Miller was not an immediate star at Alabama. Not even close. He was about 205 pounds when he arrived on campus for his first practice.

For one of the first times in his life, the kid that was ahead of his time would have to bide his time. First and foremost, that meant eating.

A lot.

That meant SpaghettiOs for breakfast, taking seconds (and thirds) at dinnertime and chugging blenders of protein shakes at night. It wasn’t easy on his stomach, but he was up to 247 pounds at the Scouting Combine.

"I knew it was going to be a process," he said. “I knew I was going to have to add weight and add strength. I knew it was going to be a waiting game. That’s why I put my attention to learning the playbook and going in the weight room extra. At a place like Alabama, I knew I’d be practicing against All-Americans every day, so I’d be getting better and better. When it was my time to shine, I just knew that I’d be ready for the moment.”

Miller’s moment was supposed to come in 2017, his redshirt junior season. However, in the season-opening game against Florida State, he suffered a torn biceps. Coach Nick Saban proclaimed him out for the season.

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Less than four months later, Miller was back on the field. To mark his return, Miller, who also has a passion for photo and video editing, put together a comeback video that has received more than 140,000 views on Twitter.

“It was an Undertaker-themed video, and a lot of fans liked it,” Miller said.

All of Miller’s hard work — all of his dad’s wisdom and all of his mom’s inspiration — paid off with a breakout final season with the Crimson Tide.

"He is the model of what a student-athlete should be," Corey Miller said. "A five-year senior, graduated with his master’s, waited his turn behind all these great players and now he’s a captain and his hands' imprint will forever be at the University of Alabama.

"If that’s not a great story of what a student-athlete should look like, I don’t know what is."

Corey, an ordained minister who goes by the name @PastorOfPain on Twitter, recalls going to church one day with Christian when his son was 8 or 9.

“This is a true testimony,” Corey recalled. “The preacher said, ‘This young man will play in the National Football League.’ I’ll never forget it.”

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That prediction is about to come true. At the end of April, Christian will get a phone call from an NFL team’s general manager that will change his life forever.

"I’ve always liked to take one day at a time, one step a time, but now that I realize that it's almost here, I’m not too sure how it’s going to be,” he said. “I’m obviously going to be filled with excitement and pure joy and happiness, knowing all the work that I’ve put in since I was that 4-year-old boy that was on the football field with all those 8-year-olds getting knocked around. I’m going to be overwhelmed in a good way.

"Now, I might shed a tear and, if I do, it’s because of my mom. We’re one and the same. It might as well be her getting drafted. She’s seen everything that I’ve gone through. It hasn’t been easy. It’s been a long journey. I just know that he’s going to be so happy for him. I can see her shedding a tear. Once I see her doing that, I might have to join her."

2019 NFL Draft picks by college: Ohio State, Alabama lead with 5 players after Day 2.
The Buckeyes and Tide have the most players selected in the 2019 NFL Draft through three rounds. Track the draft results by school here.

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