Tanner Miller's recruitment ride started out slow.
The 6'2", 200-pound basketball, track, and football athlete out of Mid Prairie High School (Wellman, Iowa) was holding on to preferred walk-on offers from Iowa State and Nebraska, an 80 percent scholarship offer from Northern Iowa, and full ride offers from South Dakota and South Dakota State.
He also received attention from smaller basketball programs and an offer to continue his track success at Missouri.
Miller, who grew up in a Hawkeye black and gold community, had accepted the football offer from Northern Iowa.
But then a phone call came on the bus ride home from a basketball game on Feb. 1. Iowa Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz was on the other end with a full ride scholarship offer.
Miller pounced on the offer. His basketball teammates celebrated.
The Hawkeyes rounded out their 2010 recruiting class with Miller's commitment. Miller will take a shot at safety for the Hawkeyes this season.
In the past, the last guy on board for the Hawkeyes has been prone to success.
Miller Could Follow Suit
He's got the head to succeed at Iowa; no need to worry there. Miller was a member of the prep honor roll with a 3.56 GPA. Also, kids coming out of small Iowa communities tend to have that motivation and work ethic Ferentz wants out of his athletes prepackaged.
As a multi-sport standout, he's got the versatility and athleticism to succeed at the U of I. Miller earned four letters in track as a hurdler and sprinter. He won the 400-meter hurdles state title as a junior. His time of 53 seconds was one of the top 25 times in the nation.
Miller, however, excelled in football.
In his senior season, Miller racked up 68 tackles as a free safety and totaled 1,846 yards and 23 touchdowns as a running back. Miller was also a punter, averaging 38 yards per boot.
Miller holds multiple school records including career points (513), single season points (266), touchdowns in a game (six), touchdowns in a season (32 his junior year), career rushing yards (4,004), and rushing yards in a single season (2,034).
But what stands out the most is Miller's resemblance to current Iowa safety Tyler Sash.
Miller vs. Sash
Miller's size is similar to Sash (6'1", 210 pounds) and they were both known for their excellent running abilities in high school—perhaps more so in Miller's case. Both played defensive back and running back.
Both were two-time first-team all-state selections. While Sash's sophomore season was a bit more impressive with a third-team all-state selection, Miller didn't lag far in comparison with his first-team all-district selection in his sophomore year.
As far as recruiting goes, well, nobody can honestly say they saw Sash's success coming. He held offers from just Iowa and Iowa State, while Kansas and Northern Iowa also took notice.
Miller's recruiting experience was similar, if not just a bit more under the radar. I'll bet not too many people will be able to say they saw him coming if he succeeds at Iowa.
I guess we'll see what happens.
It's probably unlikely that Miller will see much playing time at safety with Sash and second-team All-Big Ten media selection Brett Greenwood. With the transfer of David Cato, however, Miller may have an opportunity to move up on the depth chart.
Miller might also be the next big-play guy on special teams for the Hawkeyes. He might also need a year or two to develop.
Only time will tell, but I'd set your sights on Miller as a player to watch come fall.
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