By Brandon Speck
TUPELO – Vijay Miller was literally wearing two hats Wednesday.
Figuratively, he wears two hats for Itawamba AHS, too.
The 2016 two-sport prospect was at Tupelo Christian for the Mississippi Elite Underclassmen Baseball Showcase, where he played shortstop and pitched. In a couple of weeks, he’ll be in the heat of summer football practice quarterbacking the Indians.
Which hat will come off in college?
“I’d like to do both, but when it comes down to it, I’ll take the best offer for me,” Miller said.
Last season, Miller threw for 2,243 yards, 19 touchdowns and four interceptions. In baseball, he pitched an 8-1 record with a 1.58 ERA. He’s not hearing much from baseball colleges, but football recruiters are on him. He has an offer from Arkansas-Monticello, with interest from Southern Miss, Memphis and Louisiana-Lafayette.
His football coach, Clint Hoots, is surprised his offer sheet isn’t already longer and says it may be more to do with the team’s slow start than anything else.
“He made tremendous play after tremendous play. He was just incredible last year,” Hoots said. “He has a huge arm, doesn’t get rattled very easy. He’s really, really good at reading coverages and finding open windows. I think he’s going to turn a lot of heads. A lot of the people who play us know that. I think he’s going to get more on a state level.”
Miller is the brother (and Hoots says similar to) former IAHS two-sport star Maikhail Miller, who played quarterback at Ole Miss and Murray State.
“I just kind of watch him a little bit, take after him a little bit. I don’t want to admit it to nobody, but I do,” Vijay said, then smiled.
Miller rushed last season for 10 touchdowns. He runs a 4.6 40-yard dash.
“People get wrapped up in the 4.4s,” Hoots said, “but that’s pretty fast, especially when you attach a rocket to his arm.”
Miller says one goal of his final season is to shake a tendency to leave the pocket early, as is becoming more of a vocal leader. His top four targets are back, including Hakee Rainey who caught 48 passes for 554 yards and seven touchdowns.
“I’ve been hiding out a little bit,” he said. “I’d like to be more vocal. I’ve been a silent leader in the past. So I’d like to be both actually this year.”
Hoots expects this to be Miller’s breakout year. Miller expects it more often.
“Every game I play is supposed to be a breakout game for me,” he said.