Baseball: Dublin Jerome's Ryan Miller finds motivation for senior year
As the disappointment of not being able to compete for the Dublin Jerome baseball team this spring began to settle in, Ryan Miller started to find motivation.
The rising senior, who also plays football for the Celtics, wants to stay a step ahead of his competition heading into his final year of high school.
"We were going to be really senior-heavy and I think we were going to be very competitive," Miller said of the baseball team, whose season was canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. "You could almost throw out two different lineups and it was going to be a really fun team, a tight-knit group. I've just been kind of trying to keep my head down and keep working because once it's over, you don't want to fall behind in everything. It's a great opportunity to get work in and better myself.
"I've just been working out a bunch and going on runs, staying pretty busy. I put a (batting) cage in my yard and go hit into it. I have my own landscaping (business), so I do mulching and lawns whenever I can on the side."
Miller, who has committed to play baseball for the University of Tennessee, also has been competing for the Bo Jackson's Elite 17U team, which plans to play a full slate of games this summer.
"Ryan is a unique athlete in that he's a two-sport star being the quarterback on the football team and our leader on the baseball team," Celtics coach Chris Huesman said. "He leads by example. His actions off the field are just as important as on. He makes good, well-thought decisions and sees them through.
"Academically, he holds himself to high standards. He has a very busy schedule between lifting, staying in tune to his sport and also keeping a very high GPA. That takes a very special regimented skill set. ... He still finds time to hang out with friends and family and be a normal kid."
As a freshman in 2018, Miller saw action in 16 games when the Celtics finished 15-15. Last spring, while splitting time between catcher, third base, shortstop and first base, he batted .362 with 14 RBI, 15 runs scored and 11 stolen bases as Jerome went 13-13.
In football, Miller took over at quarterback in Week 6 of his sophomore season and completed 74 of 122 passes for 991 yards with six touchdowns and rushed for 209 yards and five scores as the Celtics finished 5-5.
Last fall, he helped Jerome finish 9-3 and win the OCC-Cardinal Division title, completing 127 of 224 passes for 1,428 yards with 18 touchdowns and 11 interceptions and rushing for 575 yards and 10 scores on 116 carries. He earned league Offensive Player of the Year and second-team all-district honors.
At 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, Miller projects as a catcher at the college level and was expected to see most of his playing time behind the plate with the Celtics this spring.
"I started playing organized baseball in coach pitch and it's my favorite being able to catch because I'm involved in every pitch," he said. "That's what (the coaches are) planning to have me do (at Tennessee). The recruiting process in general started in December of my freshman year and throughout the process, I'd seen a lot of schools and that was my favorite place and where I wanted to go. It's just a good school and the weather is a little warmer, although they'll still get a decent amount of rain."