Jack Miller wasn’t certain of what he was looking for when he made his formal recruiting visit to Old Dominion University. But he’s quite certain of what he found: a home away from home.
Miller, an intriguing offensive line prospect from Douglas Freeman High School, signed Wednesday with the Bahamas Bowl champion Monarchs. He said he was immediately captivated by the comfortable, players-first perspective that saturates the ODU program.
“It just seemed like a very good fit,” Miller said. “Everything seemed so comfortable and so relaxed. It felt like — well, it felt like a family atmosphere. I didn’t see or feel that on any of my other visits.”
So quickly and thoroughly was he convinced, said Miller, a 6-foot-7 244-pounder with ample room to grow, that “I committed the day I got back” from his visit.
Miller was ranked 10th on The Times-Dispatch’s A-List of area prospects. He played primarily as a defensive end at Douglas Freeman, but has been tagged for duty as an offensive tackle at Old Dominion.
He said he hopes to play “as soon as possible.” But he understands that two realities make a redshirt season likely, if not inevitable.
Depth is the first. ODU’s pre-Bahamas Bowl depth chart listed three players at left tackle and four at right tackle. None were seniors. Bulk is the second. Chad Hendricks and Devon Hannan, Old Dominion’s starting tackles, outweigh Miller by 50 pounds.
Still, the Monarchs regard Miller as a quality catch. ODU’s coaches like his height and believe his formidable wingspan will prove helpful in warding off pass rushers.
Miller is confident that size will come with time. He said ODU’s coaches hope to see him gain 35 to 40 pounds before he begins his career as a Monarch. From there, he said, “the idea is for me to keep getting heavier as my career continues.”
ODU’s signing class includes a second offensive lineman from central Virginia. Elijah Rivers, 6-5 and 290 pounds, signed in December and is attending spring-semester classes at ODU. Rivers played for the Fork Union Military Academy postgraduate team in 2016. He played previously at Matoaca.
Not all of Wednesday’s 19 signings were high school students. The Monarchs also snared quarterback Jordan Hoy, who last season passed for 3,434 yards and 37 touchdowns yards at Fullerton (Calif.) Community College; and tight end DeAndre Woods, a transfer from Vanderbilt.
Elijah Rivers, OL, 6-5, 290, Chesterfield (Matoaca/Fork Union); Marcus Haynes, DE, 6-4, 220, Bowie, Md. (Bowie/Fork Union); Jeremy Meiser, DT, 6-3, 285, Cincinnati (Archbishop Moeller); Steven Williams Jr., QB, 6-4, 196, Washington, D.C. (Woodrow Wilson); Geronda Hall, CB, 5-10, 167, Atlanta (KIPP Atlanta Collegiate); Keisean Wilson, LB, 6-2, 230, Waldorf, Md. (North Point); Estefano Feliciano, LB, 6-1, 220, Tampa, Fla. (Gaither); Cameron Washington, DT, 6-4, 245, Virginia Beach (Tallwood); DeAndre Woods, TE, 6-3, 238, Birmingham, Ala. (Clay-Chalkville/Vanderbilt); Casey Perkins, RB, 6-0, 215, Smyrna, Tenn. (Smyrna); Janaz Jordan, DT, 6-4, 290, Hampton (Bethel); Austin Wood, S, 6-3, 190, Chesapeake (Grassfield); Tracy White, CB, 6-2, 180, Hinesville, Ga. Liberty County); Amari Colbert, WR, 6-3, 195, Warner Robins, Ga. (Houston County); James Valle, DE, 6-4, 220, Burtonsville, Md. (Paint Branch); Cameron Muller, OL, 6-4, 305, Columbia, S.C. (Ridge View); Keion White, TE, 6-4, 230, Garner, N.C. (Garner); Jack Miller, OL, 6-7, 244, Richmond (Douglas Freeman); Jordan Hoy, QB, 6-1, 195, Rockwall, Texas (Rockwall-Heath/Fullerton CC)