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January 9, 2007

Zach Miller to skip senior season, enter NFL Draft

Zach Miller, a second-team Rivals.com All-American last season as a junior, will skip his final year of eligibility at Arizona State, and instead declare himself eligible for the 2007 NFL draft.

Miller led the Sun Devils with 50 catches and 484 yards in 2006, on his way to consensus All-American honors. He was one of three finalists for the John Mackey Award, given annually to the nation's top tight end.

By the end of his third season in Tempe, Miller had set many single-season and career records for players at the position, including 144 total receptions, besting Todd Heap, who had 115 catches in three seasons of action.

Heap made a similar decision to bypass his final year of eligibility and became a first-year NFL draft pick in 2001.

Miller's 1,512 career receiving yards are second only to Heap, who had 1,685 yards.

A local product out of Desert Vista High School, Miller was the nation's top-ranked prospect in his recruiting class, and he had an immediate impact at ASU, where he set the freshmen receiving record (amongst all receivers, not just tight ends) with 56 catches for 552 yards and six touchdowns. Heap had just 12 catches for 209 yards and four touchdowns by comparison.

As a sophomore, Miller played much of the season plagued by injuries, or restricted by a harness he wore to protect an injured shoulder, which had been surgically repaired prior to the season. Still, he had 38 catches for 476 yards and four touchdowns.

Miller earned a reputation for being a tremendous run blocker in addition to his talents as a pass catcher, and he was widely considered to be among the hardest working, most respected players in the Sun Devil program.

ESPN analyst Mel Kiper currently lists Miller as the third-best junior tight end prospect in the country.


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