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Thursday, July 25, 2013
Haubert: Tide reloads at LB with Miller

By Craig Haubert

One of the nation's finest linebacker prospects, Christian Miller (Columbia, S.C./Spring Valley), committed to the Alabama Crimson Tide on Thursday.  Read below to see how our scouts believes he'll perform in Tuscaloosa, Ala.: What he brings: Miller is a tall, lengthy and high-cut prospect with nice physical upside. Despite his leaner build, he’s an explosive defender who can be quick off the snap and disruptive. Plays with high effort, can cover a lot ground, and be a factor in pursuit. Room for development, but possesses nice upside as an edge rusher with his length and athleticism. While his strength at this stage is getting after the quarterback, he can be effective dropping into coverage as the rangy defender shows good awareness and can quickly get depth in his drops.

How he fits: The ESPN 300 defender should be a nice fit in Alabama’s defense. A bit of a 'tweener, Miller could fit in the “Jack”/hybrid OLB/DE role.  Possessing some similar traits as current Tide defender Adrian Hubbard, we could also see Miller developing and fitting well at the SAM LB spot like Hubbard has.

History at position: While winning three of the last four national championships, Alabama has consistently fielded one of college football’s stingiest defenses. Nick Saban and defensive coordinator Kirby Smart have done an excellent job of developing prospects within their defensive system, and that includes at linebacker. Whether it be recently departed players such as Dont’a Hightower or Courtney Upshaw or current players such as C.J. Mosley, Alabama has had some very good talent at the position.

Prediction for performance: Few programs recruit as consistently well as Alabama and, having landed consecutive No. 1 overall classes, the roster is not hurting for talent so there shouldn’t be a pressing need for Miller to immediately play. That being said, current SAM LB Adrian Hubbard is entering into his redshirt junior season, so early opportunity could still be available. There is room for improvement physically and technically.  However, Miller, the son of former New York Giants linebacker Corey Miller, is not raw, could potentially come in and contribute on special teams and potentially in a backup role with the ability to develop into a more key contributor/starter for the Crimson Tide defense.

How the class is shaping up: The commitment of Miller now gives Alabama 10 ESPN 300 prospects in their 2014 class, which is currently ranked among the top five nationally.