Quarterback won't let injuries derail him

Bill Rabinowitz
A series of injuries caused Jack Miller of Scottsdale, Ariz., to fall in the recruiting rankings, but he's still listed as the 10th-best pro-style quarterback in the 2020 class. [Patrick Breen/The Arizona Republic]

Jack Miller seems intent on making up for lost time this season.

The four-star quarterback from Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Arizona, missed four games after suffering an injury to his right (throwing) shoulder early this season. But last week, the 2020 Ohio State commit threw for 305 yards and three touchdowns in a 28-21 victory over rival Pinnacle.

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“It was definitely his best game of the season,” Chaparral coach Brent Barnes said.

The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Miller has dealt with a succession of injuries. A knee injury cost him for the second half of last season. A back injury derailed him at the Elite 11 Finals in June.

As a result, Miller has slipped some in the recruiting rankings. He is listed as the 237th overall prospect by 247Sports and 10th among pro-style quarterbacks.

“Obviously, it's not been exactly how he imagined it, missing a few games,” Barnes said of Miller’s senior season. “It's the nature of the game, unfortunately.”

But Miller’s talent is immense, Barnes said. He said Miller is more athletic than he’s credited for, and he’s gifted as a passer.

“His arm strength, his accuracy, just the way the ball comes out of his hands is just different than a lot that you see,” he said. “When people see it in person, it really jumps out at you. He just has that ability to make plays that not everybody can make. He can be going straight sideways to his left and flip his body all the way around to throw a corner route on the sideline that’s within a 5-millimeter window.”

Barnes said Miller is quiet by nature and has worked to become a more vocal leader. When he was injured, Miller did a nice job mentoring his sophomore backup, Barnes said.

Miller committed to Ohio State on July 1, 2018. Since then, the Buckeyes’ quarterback position has almost completely changed. With the departures of Tate Martell and Matthew Baldwin, the Buckeyes have little depth behind Justin Fields. As a result, Ohio State is looking for another quarterback in its 2020 class and has offered a scholarship to C.J. Stroud of California.

That does not seem to have lessened Miller’s commitment to Ohio State.

“It's been pretty strong for a long time,” Barnes said. “I don't know of anything different.”

After his big game last Friday, Miller flew to Columbus to visit his future team.

“He felt like it was a place like home for him,” Barnes said.

Miller plans to enroll in January to get a jump-start on his college career. But first, he wants to finish his high school career in style after the tough start to his senior season.

“I think the first thing you almost ask is, ‘Why does this have to happen?’ ” Barnes said of the shoulder injury. “Once he got past that and realized that this is something he’s going to heal from, he focused on his rehab and what he needed to do to get back and get ready and be healthy.

“We talked about if we make a good run in the playoffs, you’re still going to play nine or potentially 10 games. So let's try not to focus on what he's missing and what's behind versus what's potentially ahead of us.”


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