The Georgia senior, who enrolled in 2004 with as much hype as any recruit in the last decade, is now a defensive end, and that’s OK with him.
“I’m happy with how (my career) played out,” Miller said.
Miller’s first game as a defensive end came last week against Kentucky, when he had one tackle while playing 10 snaps at the position. Miller’s first three years at Georgia were spent at outside linebacker. The Bulldogs tried to make him a middle linebacker during the offseason but moved him back outside after that experiment failed.
The plan is for Miller to play at both linebacker and defensive end the remainder of the season, defensive coordinator Willie Martinez said, but Miller is practicing and meeting exclusively with the defensive ends.
“It’s just a new experience for me,” said Miller, who has 31 tackles and no sacks this season. “I feel like I have to prove to some people that I can actually play it because I don’t think many people think I can actually play it.”
Georgia has been toying with the idea of moving Miller all season, Martinez said, and now that the team’s younger linebackers like Rennie Curran and Akeem Dent are developing, it’s the perfect time.
“I like playing both,” Miller said. “I’d rather play both if I could.”
Miller played particularly well against the run last week, which is the hardest part of the position for new players to learn, Martinez said.
“He gives us obviously versatility where we can do some things with him,” Martinez said. “He’s a very strong kid. He understands leverage. He has tremendous strength.”
Miller has 104 tackles in his career. He has yet to record his first collegiate sack.
Head coach Mark Richt thinks the move may boost whatever NFL stock Miller may have.
“I think people will want to see him at a defensive end position,” Richt said. “I think the NFL will look at his body type and say he might be an end. They’ll be able to see him play outside linebacker and able to see him play d-end. I think it gives him more marketability for the NFL.”
Miller was considered a defensive end coming out of high school but the Bulldogs thought he would be a better fit at linebacker.
“If (defensive end) ends up being the spot that he thrives at, it would be nicer to have gotten him over their quicker, but it’s hard sometimes to know the right thing to do and when to do it,” Richt said.