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January 3, 2004

Zach Miler is a vanishing breed

Rivals100.com is proud to present an in-depth look at the top prospects at the U.S. Army All-American Game from former Texas A&M assistant coach Alan Weddell.

Before joining the Texas A&M staff in 1998 and retiring this past football season, Weddell led La Marque, Texas, to three consecutive Class 4A state championships (1995-97) and five straight state title games. As a collegiate player, Weddell was an offensive lineman on Darrell Royal's 1970 national champion Texas Longhorn football team.




SAN ANTONIO, Texas - A possible victim of the entire new wide spread attack that is all the rage in college football might be the true tight end. Kelvin Winslow type tight ends are hard to find and only come along every so often. Examples of the kind of player that catches the ball like a wide receiver, can block a defensive end and is athletic enough to double team and combo to a linebacker are hard to find.

Proof of that lies in the fact that in the Big 12, all-conference tight end Mickey Peters never lined up with in three feet of his offensive tackle yet caught more than 60 passes. The starting tight end for Texas A&M was on the other side of the spectrum, not catching a pass all year.

Where have all these tight end type kids gone?

Well some have been moved to the specialized H-back position and others are now on the defensive side of the ball at linebacker or defensive end.

At the US Army All-American game this week in San Antonio, Texas, of the five players listed as tight ends, four can be found spending most of their time on the defensive side of the ball at defensive end in college.

The remaining player of the five may be the best true tight end in the nation.

Zach Miller played for Phoenix Desert Vista, where he earned about every honor that could be had in the state.

His No. 1 jersey that's he is wearing in the game is what he's ranked as the in the nation at his position, and it is a great glimpse as to what he might be some day in the college ranks.

Miller has perfect size for a true freshmen tight end at 6-foot-4 and around 240 pounds. You will see Zach weigh in at around 255 in a few years.

He is very flexible, has a flat back and really comes off the ball. He also has good body position that allows him to set up double team blocks and combo off onto the linebacker.

What also impressed me is that Miller is very athletic with quick feet, allowing him to hook and seal the corner for outside running backs.

He's also a big time hustler, and smaller secondary defenders better be aware of this moving locomotive running downfield to block them.

The passing game gives Miller an opportunity to show off his athletic ability.

Defensive backs will have a hard time matching up with him because of his size advantage, and it will take a special linebacker to man up with him in man coverage. He also has the speed to stretch any two-deep coverage.

Miller is a quite kid but shows good work ethics in practice. Look for him to be able to either play on the line next to the offensive tackle, off the line and motion like an H-back, or split into the short inside slot position.

Miller is a throwback player to the tight ends of old, and he has an exciting future in front of him during the next four years and probably more some day in the NFL.


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