Collin Miller: Tackling Leadership
Writer and Photographer / Keeley Miller
As 6’3” linebacker Collin Miller heads into his final year as a Royal, pressure builds for him to succeed. From the age of seven, Miller has played football. Ten years later, he prepares to lead his team during his senior year while juggling school, family, friends and collegiate offers.
“When I was seven, I just played the game for fun. It was completely different than it is now,” said Miller. “I love the game, and that is why I play it, but now I am bought into the game. I have a passion for football, and it drives me every minute, every hour, every practice. Some kids come to practice and don’t really want to be there. They feel too tired, but for me, I am ready. I have my pads on, my helmet on, my cleats on, ready to do this. I love the game, and that is why I play.”
Miller has received 17 college offers including IU, Purdue, Illinois and Michigan State. While facing pressure on where to commit, he focuses on staying true to himself.
“Everybody has been pushing me. Everybody has their opinions of like ‘go here, go there,’” said Miller. “The best advice I have ever gotten was from my Knights coach, Coach Dunnuck. He told me to just let me be me. People have told me that football is going to try and change who I am, but I just have to keep being myself. Football can try to take over and make you cocky, so I have tried to stay humble. I don’t want to be some jock type; I just want to be me. I want to be a nice, funny guy that people can just come up to.”
Between practices and games, football has taken up most of Miller’s life, but he wouldn’t want it any other way. During the summer, he wakes up for practice at 6 a.m. for conditioning. During the school year, he practices every day after school with games on Friday, only having Sunday off.
“Football takes your time. It really does. You really only have two days to spend quality time with your friends and family before you go right back to it,” said Miller. “Football is my life. It is me. Anything I do now is for football, but I’m okay with that.”
As a senior with an impressive history, Miller will be expected to step up and lead the team, but with leadership comes responsibility. He faces pressure to be a role model to others while playing successfully himself.
“The hardest part about playing football is probably keeping your composure when all else goes bad. Anything can go wrong. I play defense, so seeing a quarterback throw a football to a wide receiver for 50 yards and the wide receiver runs for a touchdown angers me,” said Miller. “Just being a role model for the team, you have to keep your composure, and that’s hard. When all else fails, they look to me, hopefully. You have to show the team that it is all right. You just gotta keep fighting, and it is all right.”
During his high school career, Miller has been through hundreds of practices and games, dedicating hours upon hours to his team.
“We played Brownsburg last year, and we were actually supposed to lose. The whole week, we fought and grinded during the hard hot days. Then we came out and beat Brownsburg, not only winning but shutting them out 38-0, so that was big,” said Miller. “It shows that if you work hard, it will pay off.”
Miller aspires to study criminal justice, wanting a job where he will be able to go out into the field instead of sitting in an office. Academics plays a large role in his college decision, but without football, his dreams might not have been possible.
“Since I was a little boy, I have always known that I wanted to play football for the rest of my life,” said Miller. “I knew that was my getaway because I’m not the smartest kid in school, so I knew as a kid that if I did not get a scholarship, I probably wouldn’t go to college. I knew that I had to get a scholarship to go play.”
But for now, Miller just wants to win.
“The best thing about football is just winning with your team,” said Miller. “The hard work that you put into practice, the sweat, the blood, the players puking or crying – it is all for that moment.
“Winning is the best feeling ever. Winning makes everybody happy. The coaches are happy, the players are happy, the student section is happy. It makes everyone smile and have a good time. That is what we are going to try to do this year – just keep winning.”