Blue White Illustrated

January 2022

Penn State Sports Magazine

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5 6 J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 2 W W W . B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M P enn State picked up a key commit- ment for its 2023 recruiting class when offensive lineman Joshua Miller of Christian Life Academy in Ches- ter, Va., announced Dec. 20 that he in- tends to sign with the Nittany Lions. A three-star prospect according to the On3 Consensus, the 6-foot-4, 328-pound Miller has long been consid- ered one of Penn State's top interior of- fensive line targets in the class. He was close to deciding back in November but elected to hold off. However, after think- ing about it some more, he decided there was no reason to prolong his recruitment. "Honestly, it was really just having some talks with a few other recruits, sit- ting down, and really thinking about the decision myself," Miller said. "When I re- ally looked at Penn State and compared them to my top schools, I just realized that Penn State had everything I needed. There was no more time to waste. It was the right time." Miller said he had a long talk with Pay- ton Kirkland recently about recruiting. Kirkland, a four-star offensive line pros- pect out of Orlando, Fla., helped put ev- erything in perspective. After their talk, Miller knew it was time to wrap things up. "Payton is my guy," Miller said. "He's going through the process, too, and he understands what's involved with it. We had a real good talk." Miller was primarily recruited by offen- sive line coach Phil Trautwein and run- ning backs coach Ja'Juan Seider. Head coach James Franklin also was heavily in- volved. Miller informed the PSU coaches of his decision two days before his public announcement. "They were super excited and just proud of me and how I handled it," Miller said. "They've been wanting me to join for a while now but didn't want me to rush it either. But they were mainly just excited more than anything. I'm excited, too." Overall, Miller earned 18 verbal schol- arship offers throughout the past 18 months. Penn State was the third school to offer, doing so in March 2020. On Nov. 2, Miller cut his list of schools to five. In addition to Penn State, he in- cluded Clemson, North Carolina, Ten- nessee and Virginia Tech. All five of those schools hosted him for visits in 2021, but Penn State was the school he visited most frequently, with a total of four trips. With Miller now committed, the Nit- tany Lions are up to five players in the class of 2023. He's the second true of- fensive lineman in the class, joining Alex Birchmeier. Mathias Barnwell, who cur- rently is listed as a tight end prospect, also could play tackle at the next level. Penn State also holds commitments from cornerback Lamont Payne and tight end Joey Schlaffer. Miller and Birchmeier are expected to be guards at PSU, so tackle will become a bigger priority for the 2023 class moving forward. Top prospects include Evan Link of Washington, D.C.; Luke Montgomery of Findlay, Ohio; Samson Okunlola of Brockton, Mass.; and Chase Bisontis of Ramsey, N.J. ■ Virginia Lineman Is A Big Addition To Lions' 2023 Class RYA N S N Y D E R | S N Y D E R 4 2 0 8 8 @ G M A I L . C O M COMMITMENT PROFILE JOSHUA MILLER Joshua Miller chose the Nittany Lions over Clemson, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia Tech. PHOTO BY RYAN SNYDER Assistant coach Phil Trautwein continues to define the future of the Penn State of- fensive line, and it can be summed up in one word: big. The Nittany Lions secured a commitment from Life Christian Academy guard prospect Joshua Miller in December. Miller offers size, power and incredible run- blocking potential. STRENGTHS Size: There's nothing to project about Miller's growth potential. That's because at 6-foot-4, 328 pounds, he's already the cor- rect size for a college lineman. It also seems that most of that weight is good weight. With his size, he consistently road-grades a path for the offense. While more strength development is always necessary, he's well ahead of players at his position. Technique: There are obvious signs of maturity from the junior on film that bode well for his long-term development. He's already a solid technician, with fundamentally good balance when run blocking. Quickness: One of the more apparent signs that Miller isn't carrying bad weight is his quickness and linear speed at the snap. He's got a good burst off of the line to win at the point of contact and can get to the second level with urgency. AREAS OF DEVELOPMENT Lateral agility: Aside from his overall length and height, the biggest reason Miller will play inside is his lack of lateral movement skills. He does not have the athleticism to get to the apex of rushes against speed players. Be- cause of this, he'll overcompensate, leaving himself open to counter moves inside that he cannot shut the door on. Lunging: It's a common problem for a player who lacks overt speed and athleti- cism to lunge at quicker, smaller blockers in space. And it's one flaw in Miller's other- wise outstanding technique as a blocker. PROJECTION Right guard: There's not a lot of difference between guard positions in modern football, but for tradition's sake, Miller should pencil in on the right side. He's a solid fit as a run-blocking guard with a robust frame, good quickness and excellent pad level. His potential to dig under and root out defensive tackles should have Penn State fans breathing a sigh of relief. Those same skills and coaching should make up for any lack of lateral agility that shows up in space. — Thomas Frank Carr P L A Y E R E V A L U A T I O N

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