Cody Miller has played football for six years. When he suits up for his final game this year with the South Effingham Mustangs, he doesn’t’ want to hang up the cleats. And it looks like he won’t have to.
Several colleges, including Army, Air Force, Georgia Tech, Georgia Southern, Auburn and Tulane, are recruiting the talented defensive end.
Although Miller plays defensive end for South Effingham, he said he would likely play defensive tackle in college.
Miller, who is a half inch taller than six foot, said he is about two inches too short to play defensive end.
So far, Army and Air Force have offered him appointments, but it’s only a matter of time before more schools offer Miller scholarships.
Miller said he’s glad to have the opportunity to play at the next level and he is excited about both Air Force and Army.
“I’m considering those schools. I’m really excited about Air Force. They’re doing really well right now,” he said. “I’m excited about Army too and I hope to make an official visit in December.”
Air Force has had a better football program than Army in recent years, but Miller said the big draw to Air Force is the weight room.
The Air Force Academy, located in Colorado Springs, Colo., has the biggest weight room in the nation at 25,000 square feet. Nearly all of the U.S. Olympians train at the center.
That’s fine with Miller, because he loves spending time in the weight room.
When he’s not practicing or competing on the gridiron, Miller is found in the weight room or on the track.
He put on 20 pounds — nearly all muscle — from last season.
He benches 400 pounds, squats 500 and cleans 325.
In addition to working in the weight room, Miller said he runs four to five times a week to keep up his cardio.
“I push myself in the offseason. I have goals and I try to make them,” he said.
To receive more college offers, Miller said he knew he had to gain muscle, so his primary goal in the offseason was to gain 20 pounds.
“I worked out really hard over the offseason, drank a lot of protein and ate a lot of food that you wouldn’t want to eat,” he said. “At the same time, I ran a lot and worked with our coaches.”
“He has a good body on him. He’s strong and physical,” South Effingham head football coach Greg Manior said. “As long as his motor keeps running and he doesn’t give up on plays, he will be someone to reckon with at the next level.”
Miller pointed out that it’s not easy, but the support of his parents, Billy and Cindy Miller, as well as his coaches have made the steep climb a little more bearable.
“I have really good coaches who want to help me out and my parents have always been there for me and that’s a big part,” Miller said. “My parents and coaches have pushed me hard and tell me that I have a chance to play at the next level.”
“He has energy and he can make plays,” Manior said. “He’s turned into a leader with our defense and he had a good summer. He’s done the things he needed to do to be successful and hopefully he’ll reap the benefits.”
Though it takes a lot of work to become a collegiate athlete, Miller said there’s a lot of fun involved, too.
Last Saturday, he and his dad visited Georgia Tech, where they met the coaches and players and watched the Yellow Jackets play Boston College.
“My dad and I went in around 5 (p.m.) and they showed us around and we got to see all the facilities, hang out with the players and be on the sidelines during warmups,” Miller said. “We had awesome seats and we got to talk to the coaches afterwards. It was awesome. I have never seen fans like that. The environment was incredible and I was wishing I was playing.”
The previous week Miller was in New Orleans’ Superdome, watching Tulane play Mississippi.
Miller is the envy of many fans because he has access to almost any collegiate game in the Southeast.
The most enjoyable part of the game, according to Miller, is making a big play.
“I love the feeling after a really big play,” he said. “Everyone’s screaming and teammates are just hitting you. I love it.”