Back Andre Miller: “Edge Rusher Extraordinaire”

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Andre Miller: “Edge Rusher Extraordinaire”

By Barry Every
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Miller recorded 103 tackles, 19 TFL’s, nine sacks and 22 QBH’s in 2017.

One of the most smothering defensive units at the GHSA-A (Private) level last season belonged to Coach Dennis Coyle’s Savannah (Ga.) Country Day squad. In 13 games the Hornets racked up 58 QBH’s, 27 TO’s and 17 sacks, which is astonishing considering most of their opponents relied heavily on the run game.

The Hornets ended the season (10-3/4-1) making a trip to the quarterfinals, before bowing out to state runner-up Athens (Ga.) Athens Academy. It marked the first ten win season in more than a decade for Savannah Country day.

One of the key members of this dominate defense was 6-foot-3, 235-pound sophomore defensive end Andre Miller. The talented underclassmen recorded 103 tackles, 19 TFL’s, nine sacks and 22 QBH’s. His efforts garnered First Team All-Region honors as well as being named to the All-Greater Savannah Area First Team Defense by the Savannah Morning News.

His breakout performance shouldn’t have come as a surprise, as a freshman Miller recorded 52 tackles, four TFL’s, two sacks and four QBH’s in eight games as a freshman.

“This is a great kid and his classmates love him,” Coyle said. “He stops by my office almost every day just to talk. It’s hard to believe he is just a 15-year old even though he doesn’t physically look like one.”

As soon as the gridiron season was over Miller took his talents to the hardwood where he led the team in rebounding and was second in scoring from his center position. This spring he plans on taking part in the shot and discus while also working on increasing his top end speed.

Only in his fourth semester of high school Miller maintains a 2.8 GPA at one of the most academically stringent schools in the Peach State. His plans are to attack the ACT early during t.he first semester rof his junior year.

Miller’s lone college camp last spring was at Georgia State where he exclusively worked out at defensive end. Since that time he has added 20-pounds of muscle mass.  This coupled with his recent football accolades has attracted the attention from Boston College, Central Michigan, Georgia Tech, Mercer and South Carolina. The Yellow Jackets have recently invited Miller up for spring practice.

But there are four schools that are constantly on his mind and Miller would love to hear more from the following, Clemson, Florida State, South Carolina and UCLA.

“Clemson is just such a great team and not far from home,” Miller said. “Florida State, well my whole family is lifelong Seminole fans and I simply like what they are doing at South Carolina. I have never gone to California, and I would love to get the opportunity to visit sometime and that’s why UCLA is always on my mind.”

Last year at this time another sophomore defensive end, from the same region as Country Day, sat around wondering when his fist offer would come. That person was Curtis Fann of Twin City (Ga.) Emanuel County Institute. By the time the spring evaluation period was over the number of high-end suitors dropping offers turned Fann into a household name.

“I think he’ll blowup in the next year or so,” Coyle said. “He is currently working with our track coach on his get-offs. I really feel this is going to be a guy that will be hard to stop coming off the edge. The bigger question is whether he ends up a three-technique or that special pass rushing edge guy. He is still raw in the weight room being limited to how much time he can spend in there because of basketball. He could end being 265-pounds by the time he leaves high school or he may end up that Sam-linebacker in a 3-4 defense.”

Though getting the opportunity to play college football at the highest level while receiving a free education is paramount for Miller, having success this upcoming season is even more pressing.

“The biggest difference from my freshman year to my sophomore year is the fact that everyone finally bought into what the coaching staff was teaching,” Miller said. “The weight room has become our second home and at practice we have learned to give 110% on every practice rep.”

It’s important for Miller and his teammates to finally take down archrival Savannah (Ga.) Calvary Day, who they haven’t beaten since 2009. A win in this parochial heavyweight battle will surely give one team the upper hand come GHSA playoff time.

“We have to stay on our path and not settle for just making it to the Elite-Eight this coming year,” Miller said. “The young guys will have to step up in order to fill some big shoes, especially at the running back position. I have let them know they have the ability to be good.”

Barring a rash catastrophic injuries you can expect the Hornets to continue their winning ways in 2018. You can also count on college recruiters finding their way to Savannah, like never seen before. Miller is just one of many in the Savannah area on the verge of becoming household name.