Instead of playing American Legion baseball this summer, Maikhail Miller attends summer college courses and works out with players from the Ole Miss football team.
But being busy is nothing new to the recent Itawamba AHS graduate. Miller, who will be a freshman quarterback on the Rebels’ roster this fall, spent his high school days playing three sports.
When fall rolled around, you could find the 6-foot-3, 235-pound athlete on the gridiron. When it was time to hang up the football cleats and take out the basketball sneakers, you would see the big guy on the hardwood.
And as temperatures rose and winter gave way to spring, Miller took his talents to the diamond, where he played just about every position.
“I devoted all of my attention to each sport,” Miller said on the phone Tuesday, right after his psychology course ended for the day.
Now, for the next four – maybe five – years, he will be devoted to a single sport: football.
“I’ll just be playing football,” Miller said. “It’ll be kind of weird. … I guess you could say football is my favorite sport.”
Perhaps his best. Miller threw for 1,636 yards and 14 touchdowns while rushing for 1,148 more and 22 scores to earn 2010 Daily Journal Top 10 All-Area honors and spots in the Bernard Blackwell All-Star Classic and the National Underclassmen Combine’s All-World Gridiron Classic.
Fighting through a deep thigh bruise, Miller took home the Bill Stewart Award for his “attitude, character and conduct on and off the field” after leading his North team to a 19-14 Bernard Blackwell win.
As a high school junior in 2009, Miller passed for 1,955 yards and 16 TDs and had 13 more on the ground.
Whether he’ll play intramural hoops or try to continue a baseball career remains to be seen. But even if he doesn’t extend his hoops and baseball playing days, it’s certainly not because he wasn’t any good at those respective sports.
For the IAHS basketball team this past winter, the standout athlete posted nearly 16 points a game while grabbing close to 11 boards. He played in this month’s Northeast Mississippi Basketball Association’s Class 3A/4A/5A/6A All-Star Game.
This past spring, the big right-hander, whose fastball reaches 92 mph, went 5-6 with a 3.47 earned run average and 76 strikeouts in 75 innings.
With a .450 batting average, Miller smashed six homers and 11 doubles while driving in 28.
Miller also happened to play in last month’s Northeast Mississippi Coaches Association For Better Baseball’s Class 3A/4A/5A/6A All-Star Game.
“For his size he’s very athletic,” said IAHS baseball coach Brian Long, who had the privilege of using Miller at both shortstop and behind the plate, among other positions. “The thing about Maikhail was that mentally he was pretty sharp.
“Of course, he started as a freshman and he knows what to do and where to be at every position. He definitely moved around a good bit for us.”
So when 2:45 p.m. rolls around, the rest of Miller’s afternoon is spent working out for football and just football alone.
He won’t be playing for the Tupelo 49ers American Legion baseball team like he did last summer; nor will he be playing summertime hoops.
“Yeah, it’s pretty cool,” Miller said about college life thus far. “It’s got its ups and downs, though.”
Contact John Wilbert at 678-1572
John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal