Setting the Stage
Lamar Miller attended Killian High School in suburbs south of Miami, Florida. He was named to the 2008 Parade All-America team after he rushed for 1,749 yards and scored 22 touchdowns as a senior. Miller was highly recruited out of high school and reportedly had 40 scholarship offers. He strongly considered Florida, Florida State, Clemson and LSU before accepting the offer from Miami to stay home.
Miller was red-shirted his initial season at Miami and first played in 2010. He played in 11 games, but started only one. He ended up with 108 carries for 646 yards and caught 11 passes for 96 yards, with 6 TDs. He also returned some kick-offs and punts, scoring an additional touchdown on a kick-off return.
Miller took over the starting role in 2011, his sophomore season and rushed for 1,272 yards with 17 receptions for 85 yards and also scored 10 TDs. He averaged 5.7 ypc in his two seasons at Miami. Following his second year, he declared for the 2012 NFL Draft.
His blend of quick feet on a powerful frame (5’-11” and 212 pounds) combined with a 4.40, the fastest running back’s 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine bolstered his position. He had documented track speed which was made more impressive by his lateral quickness. The concern was that he only played a full-time role for one season and tended to try to run like a power back, rather than use his athleticism.
Miller was drafted at 97th overall in the 4th round by his home town Miami Dolphins. He was the 8th running back out of 19 drafted that year. Of the running backs drafted in 2012, he has been the third most productive over their first four seasons, trailing only Alfred Morris with 5,071 total yards and Doug Martin with 4,679 yards. Most consider him the best of the three, only having not had ample opportunity with the Dolphins. Miller had 755 touches over four seasons compared with 976 by Martin and 1,125 by Morris.
All three signed free agent contracts this year and Martin and Miller were both highly regarded. Martin got five years for $36 Million with $15 Million guaranteed to remain in Tampa Bay. Miller signed for four years and $26 Million with $14 Million guaranteed from Houston. Morris only got two years for $3.5 Million from Dallas.