Coming out of Trinity High School in Washington, Penn., senior Andrew Miller committed to Ohio State as a tight end prospect ranked 41st overall by rivals.com.
By his junior year, Miller was starting at left tackle instead.
“The coaches sat me down and said that the best position for my future, and the future of this team, was on the offensive line,” Miller said. “And it’s hard to say no to that.”
Growing up in Pennsylvania, Miller’s mother Lynne Miller was leery of allowing her son to play football.
In fact, it wasn’t until he was roughly 12 years old that he began to play football for the first time.
“When he signed up for baseball, his baseball coach was the one who told him that he wanted Andrew to play on the football team,” Lynne said. “The football coach in our area, he used to go from door to door and recruit just like the big guys do. And Andrew wanted to play badly.”
While Miller currently stands at 6-feet-6-inches tall and weighs in at almost 300 pounds, Lynne stressed that he’s always been bigger than most.
“He was a lineman even back then,” Lynne said. “He was always much bigger than the average kid his age.”
As a senior playing for Trinity High School, Miller was named to the all-Pennsylvania team. He caught 11 passes for 270 yards and four touchdowns.
College football programs from all over the country were recruiting Miller. Offers were coming in from Penn State, Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Indiana, just to name a few.
But when Miller finally had to make a decision about where he wanted to play, it was the last school that made a pitch to him that he decided to sign with.
“I understood that OSU was a good football program, and I knew that I could be successful here with football,” Miller said. “Once I found out all of the other things like academics and how good the people are around here, there just wasn’t another choice for me.”
“We went to see it, and it’s hard to turn your back on OSU,” Lynne said. “Not just the facilities but the people and the coaches. Every time we went to a campus we thought that it would be the one, but when we saw OSU, it was just above and beyond.”
After working hard for two years, Miller was finally given the opportunity to start at left tackle in his junior year. Then, four games into the season, he came down with the flu and had to sit out games against Indiana and Wisconsin.
Coming into this season, Miller had every intention of competing for a starting position on the line. Unfortunately, a left elbow injury kept him from displaying his full potential.
“My elbow injury has been going on for so long that I can’t really sit here and dwell on it,” Miller said. “I don’t want to get it fixed and be out for a long time.”
Injury or not, Miller has every intention of cracking the starting lineup before the season ends.
“The goal is always to be a starter and I compete every single day,” Miller said. “I’m never going to submit. Everyone has their role on the team, but I don’t want to see myself as a role player who only comes in on jumbo packages.
“But at the end of the day, I have however many games left here at OSU and I’m going to make the most of them.”
Miller, who was a National Honor Society member in high school with a 3.99 grade point average, still dreams of playing professionally when he’s finished with school. But if it doesn’t work out, he has other career opportunities in mind.
“If that (professional football) doesn’t work out, I’m going to pursue a career in sales,” Miller said. “And so I have a few leads in some medical fields, selling orthopedic and medical equipment, things of that nature.”
Lynne believes that the key to her son’s success is a constant dedication to bettering himself.
“Andrew is very disciplined,” Lynne said. “He always got his work done and he always planned ahead. I was always amazed. I would say ‘where did you get that from?’ I don’t know where he got it from because it wasn’t from me.”