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Don KetchumStaff Writer, AIA365.com email@example.com
Every play is a thrill for Buckeye linebacker MillerSep 18, 2012
By Don Ketchum
DeAndre Miller looks forward to the day when he will be able to wear a red and blue University of Arizona football uniform.
Until then, there is a lot of work to be done. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound senior linebacker wears the blue and gold of Buckeye Union High, and he wants to help the Hawks make an impact in the Division IV state playoffs.
The fact that he already has made an oral commitment to Arizona has taken away most of that type of pressure to make a decision.
“It takes a lot off your mind,’’ he said. “It’s about my team, and helping it go as far as we can go.’’
He is easy-going off the field, but as intense as they come on it.
“I am very focused,’’ he said. “I try to do everything 100 percent. I want to go out there and play every game like it’s my last game.’’
Said long-time Buckeye coach Bobby Barnes: “He leads by example. When he’s out there on the field, even in practice, he doesn’t go much for clowning around. He is serious, and does it in a good way.’’
What are Miller’s most important attributes?
“There are so many things,’’ Barnes said.
“He’s exactly what you want in a football player. He’s great with his grades (approximate grade-point average of 3.5, SAT score around 1,300), says “Yes, sir’ and “No, sir.’ He is not arrogant, doesn’t feel he is special. I think a lot of that is due to the fact that he comes from a great family.’’
Miller has played linebacker all of his life. He started his time at Buckeye on the outside, then moved to the middle when he was a sophomore.
“In the middle, you can go both ways (directions) to get to the ballcarrier,’’ Miller said.
He admits he is more dominant against the running game, and often serves as a “spy,’’ keeping close watch on whatever the opposing quarterback might do.
He also has roles as tight end and fullback.
“That allows me to touch the football,’’ he said, laughing.
But being physical on defense is his primary business, “and that allows to take some of your anger out when you need to.’’
There also is the leadership aspect.
“It can be a burden sometimes, but you know people (teammates) are leaning on you,’’ he said. “I try to lead more by example. You have to do it and try to do it right. If you don’t, what’s the point?’’
Combining athletics and academics often is a challenge, he says, “but it is something you have to do. School comes before sports.’’
If there is any time left on Miller’s schedule, you might find him watching college games on TV or maybe a movie.
One day, some younger player from Buckeye or elsewhere around the state likely will be watching Miller play at the next level. He feels he will fit well in Arizona’s defensive scheme.
This week, the Hawks will play host to defending Division V champion Yuma Catholic.
It won’t be easy. It rarely is. That’s what makes all of this a thrill for Miller.