The Star is counting down Southern Arizona's top 22 football players. Up today: No. 10, Salpointe Catholic offensive lineman Jonah Miller.
Name: Jonah Miller
The rundown: Miller is a 6-foot-5-inch, 275-pound sophomore offensive lineman at Salpointe Catholic.
Who he is: Miller, the brother of former Sahuaro quarterback Josh Miller, might be the state’s most underrated offensive lineman. Already possessing Division I size, Miller should grow into an elite tackle over the next three seasons.
Miller spent his freshman year backing up Matteo Mele, now at Washington, and 6-5, 270-pound senior Christian Massey.
Playing behind both players allowed Miller to learn what it takes to be an effective offensive tackle. Agility, aggression, hand technique and balance are all quality traits for an offensive lineman, and Mele set a great example of that last season, Miller said.
“He inspired me because of how he got on the field and just mauled people,” Miller said. “He didn’t care who you were, it was him against you and he was going to win.”
The Lancers advanced to the Class 4A state title game last season, where they fell to a young but loaded Scottsdale Saguaro team. Miller said the loss was extra disappointing given that the game was played at Arizona Stadium, mere miles from Salpointe’s campus.
“What makes me the most hungry — it’s kind of a small detail — was when we walked in, we went into the visitor’s locker room in our own city,” Miller said. “That’s when I knew we gotta beat these guys.”
Miller and the Lancers will have to wait until the playoffs if they want another crack at Saguaro.
Proof he’s good: Although Miller has never started a varsity game at Salpointe Catholic, he’s already received interest from the Arizona Wildcats. The UA hasn’t officially offered Miller a scholarship yet, but the Lancers lineman was one of the few class of 2021 recruits to attend the Wildcats’ spring game in April.
He said it: “I expect him to step in and compete at a high level. Physically, he’s very gifted, but he’s still young. He gained a lot of experience last year, which is extremely valuable for any player. … We didn’t have to worry about (Mele), because he picked up things very quickly and I expect the same from Jonah.” — Salpointe Catholic coach Dennis Bene