ARIZONA FOOTBALL

Youthful Miller played like a veteran receiver against USC

2010-11-18T00:00:00Z 2012-11-30T19:34:07Z Youthful Miller played like a veteran receiver against USCRyan Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
November 18, 2010 12:00 am  • 

Terrence Miller's official biography lists his nickname as "Primetime," a leftover from his days as a high school star.

"Take that part out," Miller said with a smile. "Just call me Terrence, or maybe T-Mill or something."

How about Milly the Kid?

Miller posted the best game of his young career in last week's 24-21 loss to USC, catching seven passes for 116 yards and rushing twice for 13 yards.

Miller's most impressive statistic has nothing to do with football: The Wildcats' sophomore is just 18 years old. He'll turn 19 on Jan. 16.

"It's hard to believe that he could still be in high school, and he's already been in college for two years," quarterback Nick Foles said. "It just shows what kind of an athlete he is, and what's in store for him."

With Miller's age in mind, here are 18 things you need to know about the UA's baby-faced receiver:

1. Miller's from the Cradle of Cats. The inside receiver grew up in Moreno Valley, Calif., the same hometown as UA teammates D'Aundre Reed, Jack Julsing and Daniel and William Jenkins. Former UA safety Darrell Brooks is a "Mo-Valley" native, too.

2. He was a star in high school. The Rivals.com recruiting service listed Miller as the nation's 16th-best tight end during his senior season at Rancho Verde High School. Miller chose Arizona over an offer from Utah, though five other schools - Boise State, Florida, Nebraska, Syracuse and Washington - showed interest.

3. Miller's tall. ... At 6 feet 4 inches, Miller is easily the tallest of Arizona's inside receivers. Bug Wright is 5-9, and Richard Morrison and David Roberts are 6 feet. There are advantages and disadvantages to being so big, inside receivers coach Garret Chachere said.

"He has a chance to catch it over a 5-10 DB or a 6-foot DB," Chachere said. "He's a big target, not only for the quarterback but a big target for defenders."

4. … and that's misleading. Because of his size, it's easy to assume Miller has finished growing - physically and emotionally.

Not so.

"He's a big kid in a lot of ways," Chachere said. "You have to understand this kid is 17, 18 years old, and try to help."

5. Coaches "help" a lot. Miller has been a favorite target of coaches in his first two years, in part because his size and ability make him an ideal "project" player. Stoops famously ripped into Miller at Camp Huachuca last summer for sloppy route-running; Chachere is constantly in his ear.

"My inside receivers coach rides me a whole lot, because he says he sees a lot of potential in me," he said. "He wants me to be my best."

6. Miller's a pre-business major.

7. He's younger than four of the Wildcats' freshmen … Quarterback Cameron Allerheiligen, linebacker Kyle Benson, defensive end Kirifi Taula and wide receiver Garic Wharton were all born before Miller, though they're a year behind him in school.

8. … and three years younger than safety Adam Hall, a fellow sophomore. Hall turned 21 on Sept. 15.

9. He's a numbers guy. Miller wanted to wear No. 2 when he came to the UA, but it was taken by running back Keola Antolin. Ditto for 18, which was worn by Delashaun Dean. Coach Mike Stoops assigned him No. 87, a hybrid tight end-receiver number for a guy who's a little bit of both.

"(Colts receiver) Reggie Wayne wears No. 87, but so does (Patriots tight end) Rob Gronkowski," he said.

10. Miller was locker mates with Gronkowski a year ago.

11. Miller played right away. Most UA freshmen are redshirted, stuffed away for a year's worth of aging and development. Not Miller. He played in seven games a year ago, catching two passes for 24 yards.

12. The experience was important, because Miller missed spring drills because of a shoulder problem.

13. He returned in time to play well in training camp. Coaches were especially impressed with his blocking. Inside receivers are often responsible for clearing the running lanes. Miller's size and physicality made him a natural.

"If a kid's going to go out there and block well, he's not intimidated by the guy he's blocking against," Chachere said. "When I saw him blocking, I knew he would be all right."

14. David Roberts' concussion forced Miller into action. Roberts, the Wildcats' starting inside receiver, took a nasty hit at the end of Arizona's loss to Stanford two weeks ago and was immediately ruled out for the game against USC. Miller worked with the first-team offense in practices all week.

15. Miller caught as many passes Saturday (seven) as he had all season. "He got hot," Stoops said, "and that was good to see."

16. … and, yes, he watched the replay on TV. "It was kind of cool to see how I played and see the progress," Miller said.

17. Foles loves him. The Wildcats' quarterback said he wasn't surprised by Miller's performance against USC. Miller caught three passes for 26 yards against Stanford two weeks ago, and played well in practice leading up to the game against the Trojans.

"He's shown glimpses of it since camp," Foles said. "He did that in practice for several weeks. I knew that, if he got out there, he just needed one catch to get it going."

18. Age doesn't matter. Though Miller catches grief from his teammates for being so young, he understands that it's no excuse.

"Most of the guys I'm going to be competing against are going to be older, but I can't let that get to me," he said. "We're all in college. They don't care how old I am."

Up next

• What: Arizona at Oregon

• When: 5 p.m. Nov. 26

• TV: ESPN

• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM

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Pac-12 South football standings

Team W L T PCT
Arizona 5 1 0 0.833
Utah 5 1 0 0.833
USC 5 2 0 0.714
ASU 5 1 0 0.833
UCLA 5 2 0 0.714
Colorado 3 4 0 0.429

Pac-12 North football standings

Team W L T PCT
Oregon 6 1 0 0.857
Oregon State 4 2 0 0.667
Stanford 4 3 0 0.571
Washington 5 2 0 0.714
Cal 4 3 0 0.571
Washington State 2 5 0 0.286
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