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NCAA Cross Country Champions
By: CUBuffs.com
Ryan Miller eagerly awaits the 2012 NFL Draft.
Brooks: When Call Comes, Miller Will Dress To Impress
Release: April 25, 2012
By: B.G. Brooks, Contributing Editor
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BOULDER - The last thing Ryan Miller wants is to be all dressed up with nowhere to go. His custom tailored suit - a jet black number with white pinstripes - is on standby in his closet, waiting for him to slip his 6-foot-7, 325-pound self into it, hop on a flight to somewhere and get on with his future.

Hopefully, that will happen this weekend, when he travels to the NFL city where he hopes to take up residence for the next several football seasons or longer. The league's annual draft is Thursday (Round One), Friday (Rounds Two and Three) and Saturday (Rounds Four through Seven).

To get properly "suited up" all Miller needs is the right telephone call from the right NFL team. "The suit fits like a glove . . . it looked weird on the rack, but it looks good on my body," he said. "It was fitted for me just before the (NFL) Combine and I just got it back two weeks ago. It's amazing. My mom and I looked at it and just said, 'Wow.'"

Miller, the lone Colorado senior in a class of 28 to be invited to the NFL Combine in February, is "guessing" he'll field his call on Friday. That would make him a second- or third-round selection and run contrary to some pre-draft projections that have him slotted to be taken in a later round.

But Miller is betting that four months of intense training in California and what he terms a "fantastic job" at the NFL Combine in February have increased his draft stock. His 32 repetitions of 225 pounds in the bench press were the NFL Combine's third-best effort and he had a low 40-yard dash time of 5.09 seconds. Overall, he believes he performed better than expected in Indianapolis in several other areas of testing.

"A lot of people thought I wouldn't do that well," he said. "But I thought I did a fantastic job . . . after my position drills a lot of the scouts came over and congratulated me. The past three or four months have paid off - and I think it's about to pay off even more."

When CU's 2011 football season ended, Miller wasted little time in assessing and preparing for his future. He temporarily relocated to Irvine, Calif., in December and began training six days a week, 8 a.m. to 3 or 4 p.m., under the direction of former NFL offensive lineman (New England, Oakland) Pat Harlow, a 1991 first-round draftee from Southern California who works in conjunction with Velocity Sports Performance and Athletes First. Mark Humenik, Miller's representative, is associated with Athletes First.

The rigorous conditioning regimen overseen by Harlow included dietary instruction and working out with current NFL players such as Jake Locker (quarterback, Tennessee) and Von Miller (linebacker, Denver). Ryan Miller said the training "got me in the best shape of my life . . . that's why I think I did so well at the Combine, which was really an experience."

But before then, he was ultra-busy. He attended the Walter Camp Foundation All-America banquet (Miller was second team) and played in the East-West Shrine Game in January, returned to California for more training, performed for scouts at the NFL Combine in February, came back to Boulder for CU's Pro Day in March and now is settled in with his family in Littleton to monitor the draft.

He also visited the Philadelphia Eagles and Miami Dolphins, but a trip to Washington, D.C., and a meeting with the Redskins hit a snag. The Redskins, however, still maintain an interest and Miller says either he or Humenik have heard from all of the NFL's 32 teams.

As for which one makes the call . . . neither he nor his agent can make that call.

Said Miller: "Some teams talk you up, whether it's at the Combine, through telephone calls, whatever. But Mark has told me that some of that is smoke and sometimes a team that you never dreamed would call turns out to be the one.

"I've had some calls from some teams and a guy has said, 'This is Joe Schmoe from wherever and I just want to get your draft day phone number.' The conversations are basically the same and I know how it goes. I've got a handful of teams I'd love to play for, but all I want is an opportunity."

Some draft websites and publications project Miller first as a guard in the NFL, then as a tackle. Or vice versa. He played both positions at CU. He's tall to be inside, which means he must constantly be aware of his leverage in blocking. But he's got a strong initial "punch," has good feet and is competent as a run/pass blocker.

Here's how the Eagles' website - Bleeding Green Nation - critiqued Miller: "There will be discussions whether or not to move Miller outside to tackle or keep him at guard, his primary college position. This debate revolved around Miller's size, much like last year's first-round pick at OT, Nate Solder (CU tackle who went to New England). Given Miller's solid athletic ability and size, a move to the outside seems imminent. Miller would need to learn the position after spending the past two years inside, but he could transition well with his talent and versatility. Look for Miller to be selected early on as a result of his size, athletic ability and versatility on the line; he could go late first round, but most likely will settle in nicely in the second round."

Humenik has told his client he could "go as high as one, as late as seven . . . I guess you cut out the ones, save the sevens," Miller said. "I really don't have a clue. When I go is not as important as where I go. I know I can make a team. Guys kind of lose focus when they concentrate on the round (they're taken in). You've just got to remember you've got a job to do."

Of course, Miller wouldn't be opposed to being drafted in Thursday's first round, but he and his family have scheduled a watch party of sorts on Friday for Rounds Two and Three. If it turns out to be a celebration in the wake of what happened the previous day, so be it. Who's going to complain about being a first-rounder?

Miller has invited Columbine High School coach Andy Lowry and his entire staff to the get-together. It's one way Miller says he can demonstrate how much he owes the coach that showed him "tough love" during a tough transformation from a high school sophomore to a junior. It was a period Miller admits he entered as "a baby," but emerged as more of a man.

"And lo and behold," Miller said, "here we are. I really hope (Lowry) can come. I owe him."

Before the weekend ends or in the days thereafter, a number of Miller's former CU teammates - among them quarterback Tyler Hansen, running back Rodney Stewart, fullback Evan Harrington, receiver Toney Clemons, tight end Ryan Deehan, guard Ethan Adkins, defensive backs Travis Sandersfeld and Anthony Perkins, defensive ends Josh Hartigan and David Goldberg, defensive tackle Conrad Obi - also are hoping for a call that at least leads to an NFL opportunity.

Contact: BG.Brooks@Colorado.EDU

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