Football: Greene Co.’s Miller picks up pair of D-I offers
By BRANDON HURLEY
The state – and nation – is beginning to take notice of a rising offensive lineman.
Greene County’s Tyler Miller, a sophomore offensive tackle on the local football team, has begun picking up recruiting buzz after pulling a pair of Division I scholarship offers last week.
The Paton-Churdan student is a member of the 2020 Iowa High School football class and is rated as one of the top prospects in the state. The 6’9, 273 pound two-way player was offered scholarships by Iowa State and Cincinnati, according 24/7 Sports, while Iowa, Kansas State and Minnesota have shown interest, but not yet offered.
The recruiting website ranks Miller the fourth best 2020 prospect in Iowa and the 37th best offensive tackle in the nation. The sophomore is rated as a 3 star athlete and is the only Iowan offensive lineman ranked in the top 50 for offensive tackles. He is rated the 361st best athlete in the 2020 class, in the entire nation, according to 24/7 Sports.
ISU offered last Thursday (March 29) while the Bearcats from Cincy offered a day later on Friday. There’s a reason programs from the Power Five conferences are coming after the Paton-Churdan sophomore, Greene County head football coach Mitch Moore said.
“He’s got tremendous size, he has great length,” the coach said. “A young kid that presents athleticism on film. His potential is through the roof.”
Miller, who also plays defensive end, anchored a Greene County offensive line that ran for 934 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2017, including a school-record 420 rush yards and eight touchdowns in a 61-21 win over Iowa Falls-Alden. Greene County totaled 2,389 yards last fall with 24 touchdowns, passing and rushing. The film doesn’t lie, Miller is an imposing figure out on the field, man-handling many of the defensive lineman he comes across.
“He’s got really good feet, he’s cerebral about the game of football,” Moore said. “He finishes blocks, has big hands, he’s long, all those things that you look for in a recruit.”
While former Ram standouts Daric Whipple and Noah Juergensen are on the active roster for the 2018 Iowa State Cyclones, they were preferred walk-ons in 2016, and were not offered scholarships. Former P-C student Joe Doran was also an ISU walk-on in 2015 and is no longer with the team.
Miller’s two Division I scholarship offers – with many more sure to come in the next two years – is a rarity for Greene County or Jefferson-Scranton athletes.
Only a handful have gone on to play significant minutes at the Division I level, while even fewer have been awarded scholarships.
Former all-state offensive lineman John Michael Sawhill (now a Greene County assistant) played on the offensive line for the Drake Bulldogs from 2007-2011, a non-scholarship Division I Football Championship subdivision level.
Scranton High legend Bryce Paup played for the University of Northern Iowa in the late 1980s and went on to a storied NFL career, including being named the 1995 defensive MVP with the Buffalo Bills. UNI was known as a Division I-A program in the early 90s, and now is labeled as an FCS program. Jim Doran, a Beaver native, played for the Iowa State Cyclones and in the NFL in the 1950s and 60s. Lant Doran, Jim’s son, was a walk-on for ISU in the late 80s as well, in addition to Jim Jr.
With all that said, generating legit interest from well-known colleges is a rare occurrence. It’s something Moore and company will play into as they prepare for year two and beyond.
“It’s huge for the program because it brings us some notoriety,” Moore said about Miller’s recruitment. “And I’ve said this to some other players as well, there’s going to be a lot of programs coming to watch us play. It puts us on the map.
It shows that If you are doing things right, and Tyler has a lot of God-given ability too, but people are going to find you. It is really big for him, for his family and for our program.”
Megan Durbin, a senior on the current Greene County track team, is the most recent local athlete to receive – and accept – a Division I scholarship offer, signing to participate in the high jump at ISU a few months back. She’s following the footsteps of Kris Curnyn, who threw for ISU track and field back in the 1990s, establishing one of the most successful careers in Cyclone history. including earning All-American honors in 1999. Lillian Sawhill, a 2006 Jefferson-Scranton graduate, was an academic all-Big 12 first team selection in the discus for Iowa State University in 2009. The former Ram finished runner-up at the 2006 state track and field in the discus. Preceeding the track success, Trisha Waugh and Cathy Proctor each played Division I basketball in the late 80s and early 90s, for Iowa and Kentucky, respectively, while Kristi (Kinne) Hayes, Jefferson-Scranton’s all-time leading scorer, won conference MVP for the Drake women’s basketball team in the 90s as well.
Miller’s 2017 highlight tape can be found on Hudl.com at this link (https://www.hudl.com/video/3/8247607/5a29c2275ca98017404f1c09).