Massachusetts is not the most fertile state for producing upper-tier football prospects, but it's certainly becoming a hotbed for athletic tights ends with nationally ranked talent. ESPNU 150 Watch List tight end Brian Miller (Andover, Mass./Andover) follows in the footsteps of current Georgia rising sophomore tight end Arthur Lynch (from Dartmouth, Mass.) and Harvard signee Blake Barker (Wellesley, Mass./Buckingham Browne and Nichols) as the third consecutive Under Armour All-American tight end from the Bay State.
Out of the three, Miller may be most athletic and will likely be utilized as an H-back for Boston College. His ability to get down the seam and create matchup problems on linebackers should lead to good production over his career.
However, Miller actually paved the way to his own success. The 6-foot-3, chiseled 230-pounder was proactive in his recruitment early on and hit the iron off the field to open the eyes of recruiters. In fact, it was that blue-collar attitude and work ethic that attracted him to Boston College, a school that fits his personality, in his eyes.
Miller's recruitment began the winter after his sophomore season when his family and a supportive coaching staff saw raw talent in a 190-pound, lanky 15-year-old. A highlight film filled with athletic grabs was sent out to more than 40 major college programs -- basically, as Miller says, "just to see if there was any interest out there." Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz was the first to offer Miller.
"I was absolutely blown away. I was basically just seeing if I could play at that level," said Miller.
With a hint of optimism and taking nothing for granted, the modest Miller committed to rigorous offseason training in which he built up his body. Boston College, Stanford and North Carolina were next to offer. A prolific junior season led to double-digit offers from some traditional powers such as Michigan and Penn State.
However, Miller stayed true to his roots and was attracted to the comfort level he felt with the coaching staff and overall surroundings at Boston College.
"I had taken a lot of unofficial visits there, been to the campus and met with the coaches and even the [athletic director]," said Miller. "Before recruiting even started I went to football games with my family. I just felt the most comfortable at BC."
The ability to represent his home school and help the Eagles continue to prove they can win on a national level with hard-working players comprised from the Northeast was another component in BC's favor.
On Saturday, April 24, at the Eagles' spring game, the hometown tight end felt the timing was right to pull the trigger and informed the BC coaching staff he wanted to wear the maroon and gold.
The work isn't done for the humble tight end who plays 20 minutes north of Boston. He knows he will need to continue working hard to get better as a senior and make an impact at the next level.
"I just want to keep getting bigger, stronger and faster and improve my knowledge of the game," said Miller. "I also want to improve my blocking."
After his senior season, Miller will have a chance to showcase his athletic skill set when he competes on a national stage versus the very best at the Under Armour All-America game in January.
"I have watched the game every year since it started and it has always been a dream to play in it," said Miller. "I want to continue to get Massachusetts on the map and prove to people and myself that I can play with these kids."
Billy Tucker is a recruiting coordinator for ESPN Recruiting and has close to a decade of coaching experience at the college and high school levels.