By Eric Caldwell
The heated climate of the Okeechobee swampland provides leeway to a new world of football players. We've all heard the tales of these freakish athletes who emerge from the muck to claim NFL stardom. In fact, the first thing you see traveling eastward to Pahokee is a large sign proclaiming the homeland of NFL Hall of Famer, Rickey Jackson.
However, during this trip it was the visitors who provided the eye-poppers, not necessarily on the scoreboard, but on the offensive line.
Patrick Miller, a monstrous OT from William T. Dwyer HS, showcased lightning-quick footwork, a solid upper-body, and unbending mental stability in a hard-fought battle with Glades Central HS on Monday afternoon. Central coach, Roosevelt Blackmon, launched a colorful variety of bull and speed rushers in Miller's direction…to no avail. The well-decorated Senior used his superior size and strength to toss around these prominent pass rushers like play-things.
At 6'7 and 260lbs, Miller towers over his teammates while inspiring a mixed sense of disbelief and horror in those across from him. However, this trench warrior possesses much more than just an enormous figure. His footwork is majestic, gently hovering at the skin of the soil before cocking back and laying into an end like the field is his backyard trampoline. As for his handwork, there was no bigger testament to his natural ability than watching him play patty-cake with edge rushers until they were pulled from the game.
Miller fought a riveting battle in the 102 degree Florida heat, blowing Raiders off the ball and continually driving them more than 5 yards downfield before the whistle. After finishing six blocks with bone-crushing pancakes, the veteran never hesitated to take off towards the ball and repeat the process.
Relentless effort was on display throughout the contest as Miller was finishing every play trying to move the sticks. Whether it was adding momentum at the back of an upright pile or simply finding another guy to hammer, Miller had bodies gliding like they were in an ice rink.
With the ideal figure to mold into a college OT, it's no wonder that Patrick can't pull out of his driveway without finding a D-1 letter in the mailbox. Remaining loyal to LSU and Auburn as his top choices, this academic standout plans on opting for early graduation in order to get a jump start on his SEC football career.
A bright future surely awaits this talented young lineman, and if you ever get an opportunity to watch the Dwyer Panthers play ball, keep an eye on #51 - trust me, you can't miss him!