Friday, March 13, 2015

Jack Miller, #60

Jack Miller
Coming out of Toledo (OH) St. John's, Miller was a Rivals 3-star and an unranked weakside defensive end. Yep. That's how stupid the recruiting sites can be sometimes; they call future centers "weakside ends." Anyway, Miller chose the Wolverines over offers from Illinois, Michigan State, Pitt, Stanford, West Virginia, and several others. He was one of the last players to commit to Rich Rodriguez (on December 10, 2010) before the coach was fired. Here's my commitment post from ye olden days (LINK).

Miller necessarily redshirted as a freshman in 2011 because he was very undersized at 263 lbs. He played sparingly as a backup in 2012. He got a chance to start in 2013, but he was quickly replaced after four games by then-redshirt sophomore guard Graham Glasgow, who had his own share of struggles. Not only was Miller getting pushed around, but he was also completely whiffing on assignments too often. By the beginning of the 2014 season, the redshirt junior had started to figure things out and earned the starting center nod for the Darrell Funk-coached offensive line, holding the job for the entire year. For his accomplishments, he was named the best offensive lineman on the team. The incumbent was expected to hold his position in 2015, but he decided after a few practices in spring ball to hang up his cleats.

16 starts

2014: Hugh G. Rader Award (team's best lineman)

As you can tell if you look back at that commitment post, I was never a huge fan of Miller's abilities. He played a little high, was undersized, and wasn't a great athlete. However, it should at least be considered that he was a guy recruited by Rich Rodriguez to play in mostly a zone system, and then he had to play in a more pro-style offense under Brady Hoke. When Miller actually played, he was somewhere between 288-296 lbs., which isn't tiny but isn't huge, either. He was downright bad in 2013, but he was serviceable in 2014. In a year when three other guys held their jobs for the whole year, Miller was named the top lineman and cut down on the mistakes he made as a redshirt sophomore. Some fans held an indelible grudge against Miller for what happened in 2013, but he probably would have been the starter again in 2015 for what should be a solid offensive line. Now it looks like the center job will go to fifth year senior Graham Glasgow, who played guard last year, or redshirt sophomore Patrick Kugler.

 . . . his friendly jowls. At no point in his career did he seem like a manly beast of an offensive lineman, but instead looked like an oversized 14-year-old. Maybe like the real-life version of Russell from Up.

Miller says that he's furthering his education and pursuing business interests, so it does not look like he'll be working toward playing professional football of any sort. In any case, he was probably not bound for the NFL and might have been more of an Arena League-caliber guy.


  1. I predicted when Harbaugh took over that both Braden and Miller would lose their jobs. Not sure if competition had anything to do with Miller's decision, but it sounds like he got burned out from the grind.

    He is a natural 260 lbs player who had to hold 35 lbs of bad weight to fit the position's expectations. When you see him standing next to his linemates, he always looked the part of the "walk-on". I give him credit for anchoring the line in '14. He definitely improved in the zone game and in snapping. Even if he won the job going into '15, I think he was going to be under constant pressure because Harbaugh is just looking for more powerful blockers. Best of luck to him.

  2. It's always bad news to unexpectedly lose a returning starter. Even if you think a backup will surpass them, it's a blow to depth. It increases uncertainty and the chance of bad things happening.

    The OL seemed to have 6 guys who were starter-worthy last year (though none were all-conference worthy). Five of them return, so this isn't the biggest blow. Miller, as an undersized senior who took 4 years to earn a starting spot, is the one you'd probably choose to lose if you had to pick. Michigan is fortunate that Glasgow is a proven player with center experience.

    What's interesting to me is who starts at guard (assuming Glasgow starts at center.) Magnuson has experience there but his skillset seems better suited to tackle (at least based on the evaluations I've read.) It'll be interesting to see how the OL shakes out with the new staff. Kalis, Cole, and Glasgow seem like locks to start, but I'm not sure their positions are set yet. Cole could shift inside if another tackle emerges. Braden probably can't, but his performance left a lot to be desired. Glasgow could stick at guard if Kugler breaks through. Kalis has been projected to RT at times and has worked there. There are a lot of moving/moveable parts along the OL but also a solid base of talent and experience.