After a quiet period on the recruiting trail, Florida is ramping up its efforts to land commitments as the summer heats up. The Gators got their third this week and second of the day early Friday evening when three-star linebacker Ventrell Miller committed.
June 24, 2016
Miller is a three-star linebacker in the 247Sports Composite and just inside that ranking's top 600 players nationally. All four major recruiting services see him as a three-star player, as well, and the 6'0", 220-ish pound linebacker held offers from Miami, Ole Miss, North Carolina, and South Carolina, among others.
There's not a lot to see on Miller's short Hudl highlight reel from this spring, but there are things to like. While he is a bit slow out of his stance, it's an incredibly low one that might get improved by Florida co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Randy Shannon, and Miller finds the runner and accelerates quickly towards him on multiple occasions.
The good stuff, however, is in his reel from the 2015 season, which is stashed on YouTube.
If you're not sold on Miller's commitment before pressing play, you might be by just 15 seconds in, by which point he's knifed through a gap to collect one tackle for loss and chased down a runner in the flat for another. And if that's not enough, he'll have two more great closes and an excellent read of a crossing route for a pick before the first minute is up.
The current Florida player Miller's tape most reminds me of is linebacker Jarrad Davis, himself a somewhat underrated high school prospect. Davis, of course, has starred at Florida, and will enter the 2016 season as an All-American candidate and likely first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
It's likely that Miller's commitment is a joint effort from Shannon and defensive backs coach Torrian Gray, a graduate of the same Kathleen High School in Lakeland that Miller attends. A contingent from Kathleen that included Miller and 2019 defensive back Brendan Gant, who already holds offers from Florida and Florida State, camped in Gainesville earlier in June.
And if history is any guide, Miller could be in good company. There was once a Kathleen linebacker who was coached up by Shannon, and he turned out to be a pretty good football player — NFL legend Ray Lewis, in fact.
Miller's commitment raises Florida's tally for the day to two, following the commitment of Tampa defensive end Zachary Carter, and its total for the 2017 class to 10. It also lifts the Gators from No. 26 to No. 18 in the 247Composite rankings.