Friday, June 28, 2013
ESPN 300 OLB sees fit in Athens
By Radi Nabulsi
ATHENS, Ga. -- Christian Miller (Columbia, S.C./Spring Valley), the nation’s No. 2 outside linebacker, was in Athens on Wednesday, talking with Mark Richt and Kirk Olivadotti. Miller liked what he heard. In fact, he left campus thinking he could easily see himself suiting up for the Bulldogs.
“There are a lot of things that I fit in with there,” Miller said. “To start with, I am definitely interested in the defensive scheme. I fit well in their 3-4. Actually, I fit better than well -- I fit perfect. Also, Athens is a really nice campus and is not too far from where I am at. It was a three-hour drive that went by fast. I could still come back home every now and then. I felt comfortable down there and the coaches are really nice. I really like Coach Richt. And Coach Olivadotti and Coach [Todd] Grantham have all the NFL experience. So I could definitely see myself down there; they have a lot of things to offer and things that attract me.”
The visit was Miller’s first trip to the Georgia campus. The No. 1 player in South Carolina said that Georgia measured up to its reputation.
“It was phenomenal,” Miller said. “I got to hang out with the coaching staff and see all the facilities. I had heard a lot about the campus and the facilities there and about how nice they were and they definitely lived up to my expectations. Everything is really nice there. I got to hang out with Coach Olivadotti a good bit. I also go to sit down with Mark Richt for a one-on-one and my mother and brother were there with me, though. It was nice for all of us to spend time with him. I have spoken to him before, but sitting down, in person, you learn more about a person that way.”
Miller’s mother talked about him playing at Georgia as well.
“She really liked it,” Miller said. “I know she liked Coach Richt. He gives the occasional Facebook message to her. He is respectful and always interested in what she has to say. I think that she liked it was not too far from home. She thought the town of Athens was a really nice place. She said the town was really cute and could imagine bringing my grandparents down, maybe on a game day, and that all the little stores and restaurants were neat. She could see bringing some family down if I ever played there.
Speaking of family, Miller’s older brother, C.J. Miller, made the vote unanimous as he too was impressed with the Bulldogs.
“He liked it, too,” Christian Miller said. “He got to try all the uniforms and stuff on and he thought that was awesome. He was playing around with Coach Olivadotti and told him that if we need an extra person on the kickoff team that he was more than ready to take that job. He liked the gear and thought the facilities were state of the art as well.”
The ESPN 300 outside linebacker was joined on his campus tour by Georgia tight end commitment Jeb Blazevich (Charlotte, N.C./ Charlotte Christian).
“Jeb is the man; he is awesome,” Miller said. “He is a good person and an overall good player, too. He is the type of guy I want as a teammate, to be honest with you. Jeb is funny and we always have a good laugh when we are around each other. It was definitely nice hanging out with him. Those are the types of guys you want on your team. We hung out together, laughing, and he was helping out with the tour. We were both in the bookstore afterwards, joking around and shopping. I’ll be hanging out with him again at The Opening next week as well. He didn’t try to throw too much of a sales pitch on me because he didn’t want to pressure me, but I asked him why he chose Georgia and what he liked about them and he answered honestly.”
The visit to Athens obviously went well for the coaching staff, but where do the Bulldogs now stand with the one-time Florida commitment?
“I am kind of back at square one,” Miller said. “I have taken a step back and am not focusing on recruiting but now I am focusing on myself and my team and getting ready for the season. So I have had limited contact and am just talking to the same group of coaches really: Coach [Chris] Rumph at Alabama, Coach [Robert] Gillispie at Tennessee, Coach Olivadotti and Coach Richt at Georgia, Coach [Brad] Lawing at Florida and Coach [Jeff] Ulbritch at UCLA. I am not leaning anywhere just yet. I need to revisit a few places first. I can say I really like Georgia and I really like Alabama and Florida. I am not narrowing it down to just those three.”
The nation’s No. 76 overall player might take a return trip to Athens later this year.
“I think I will come back in the season for a game,” Miller said. “I could come back in July. I will probably take an official, but I might not, since it is so close. But I probably will so I can spend the weekend down there. I’m going to take an official to UCLA and possibly Tennessee.”