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January 21, 2004

Koetter's hard work pays off

PHOENIX - At a news conference on Wednesday morning, the nation's top tight end announced his decision. Phoenix Desert Vista standout Zach Miller decided to stay home and play with his brother Brent Miller at Arizona State, ending one of the most suspenseful and entertaining recruiting battles of the Class of 2004.

"This was a tough decision for me to make," he said. "I'd like to thank all the colleges that have been recruiting me. I thought long and hard about it, and I've come to the decision that I want to attend Arizona State University."

Ranked by Rivals.com as the number one prospect from Arizona, Miller caught 46 passes for 782 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior. He played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio last month and is one of the top tight ends to come out in recent memory.

So what was the main factor in his decision?

"The coaches at Arizona State, tight ends coach (Tom) Osborne and coach (Dirk) Koetter really recruited me the hardest and they were in my home more than any other school," Miller said.

"I'm really looking forward to staying home and playing with my brother."

Koetter was informed of his decision last night.

"I talked to coach Koetter, he was out in Los Angeles doing some recruiting, and he told me that he almost crashed," he said laughing. "He was really excited."

Miller's decision ends a long recruiting process, which included official visits to Tennessee, Oklahoma, UCLA, Miami and Arizona State.

"The recruiting process for the last two months has been difficult," he admitted. "This past weekend is actually the first weekend that I have been home since before Thanksgiving."

The 6-foot-4, 240-pound prospect had kind words for every school that was involved in his recruiting process.

"At Tennessee, I really liked coach Adkins and coach Fulmer, they have a great staff there," Miller said.

"I got a chance to see one of their games against Vanderbilt and they had 102,000 people in the stands. The coaches apologized because they usually have 108,000."

"I also really enjoyed my trip to Oklahoma," he said. "I got a chance to watch them practice and prepare for the national championship. I got to see how hard they work. They have a great football team and great fan support as well."

But in the end it was Arizona State, and the Sun Devils might have just snagged their biggest catch in quite some time.

[ Zach Miller Photo Feature ]

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