Ryan Miller and the University of Charleston seem like a good pairing.
The match, if you will, was made on Monday morning at Logan High School as the graduated senior Wildcats’ quarterback signed a national letter-of-intent to play collegiate football at UC.
Miller had a fantastic senior season last fall, although the Wildcats stumbled to a 2-8 record, losing the last seven games.
Miller passed for an LHS school record 2,455 yards last season for the Wildcats as he completed 160-of-312 passes for a 51.3 completion rate. He also tossed 24 touchdowns — third best in the state.
Logan coach Gary Mullins said Charleston is getting a good one in Miller.
“UC is a really good academic school. Their football program has seemed to get a lot better in the last three or four years,” Mullins said. “Their new coach seems to be taking them in the right direction. We went down and watched them play in the fall after our season was over. We took the team down there and watched them play. They play an exciting brand of football that’s for sure.”
Charleston has produced some good players over the years.
One of the best in recent years was Kennedy Award winner and former Scott High School standout Jordan Roberts, who later had a tryout with the Kansas City Chiefs and a brief stint with the Ottawa Redblacks of the Canadian Football League.
“Year in a and year out they feel like they are going to compete to win their conference. They have some great athletes,” Mullins said. “We watched them last year and just watching some of those guy you could tell that they were actually Division I caliber athletes.”
UC plays a 10,000-seat Laidley Field in Charleston, a fine facility for a Division II school. The football stadium also has Field Turf.
“There’s no doubt that they have a nice stadium,” Mullins said of UC. “It’s a nice a stadium that you could ask for. It’s one of the nicer stadiums in our state. It’s been around forever and everyone knows where it’s at. It has a lot of special memories for a lot of people who have gone there and watched games and also the track state tournament being there. You get a good feeling in that stadium and I’ve always liked it.”
Mullins said Miller had a phenomenal 2014 season.
“Ryan threw for around 245 yards per game which is good for anyone for any year,” Mullins said. “He had 312 attempts, so he averaged around 31 attempts a game. We think that might also be a school record. He also threw for 24 touchdowns. He gave us some great numbers even though we didn’t have a really good year.”
Miller said he plans on studying physical therapy and added that Charleston will be a good fit for him.
“I really do,” he said. “I had been recruited by two other schools but UC definitely gave me the most attention. Concord and also Glenville State was looking at me.”
Miller said the close proximity of UC is good, too.
“I still want to get the full college experience but I’ll still be close to home,” he said.
Miller said last year’s 2-8 season was tough despite all of the yards.
“I love to throw the ball, obviously,” he said. “But when you don’t win that many games it’s still a disappointment.”
Miller had a lot of targets to pass to.
Senior Zac Acord, known more for his basketball skills and playing his only year of varsity football, finished last season with 72 catches for 1,080 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Senior Brenton Vance had another 30 catches for 563 receiving yards and four scores. Junior Matt Cox reeled in 25 passes for 442 yards and five TDs, while senior Cameron Sammons had another 24 catches for 255 yards and four touchdowns before missing some games due to injury.
“I give a lot of credit to them,” Mullins said of his receiving corps. “They gave me a bunch of yards and completions. When you have a guy like Brenton who is that fast and get open real well that helped me out tremendously. Zac had some great hands.”
Since putting on the headsets in 2004 as the Logan head football coach, Mullins has definitely opened up the Wildcat offense.
Mullins said his pass-centric offensive scheme goes back to his days at the old Logan Junior High School more than 20 years ago.
“It all stems back to Steve Vance for me at Logan Junior High School,” Mullins said. “This is where this system started for me. We just took what he had and added no-huddle and some of our own passing routes. When I was playing at Logan Junior High School back in the early 90s we were basically running this same system. Ryan’s just been able to throw for more yards than anyone who has been in it up until this point. He put up some numbers that are unbelievable really. If you throw for 245 yards a game you shouldn’t be losing games. Our year wasn’t indicative of the kinds of stats that he was putting up there for sure.”
Four Logan quarterbacks are vying to replace Miller this season. LHS opened its three-week June summer practice period on Monday.
Brian Farley, Daniel Browning, Jamal Minter and Matthew Brown are currently in the QB mix.
“The quarterback spot is the toughest position to replace someone, especially when you had someone like Ryan who passed for more than 2,000 yards in his senior season,” Mullins said.