Player Spotlight: Shareef Miller
Every student has a different background coming into University Park. Some of us come from a quiet town and some from a bustling city. Defensive end Shareef Miller grew up in one of the roughest neighborhoods in Northeast Philadelphia.
“Where I'm from it's real bad right now,” Miller told David Jones of Penn Live.
A few weeks before Miller came to Penn State for summer courses last year, his brother was shot and killed in the streets of the Philadelphia neighborhood.
Miller, starting in his first game after redshirting his freshman season, dedicated the opening game against Kent State to his deceased brother. Miller’s performance was a proper honoring, recording 1.5 sacks and multiple quarterback pressures.
All major recruiting websites rated Miller a top 50 defensive end after his impressive high school career. Miller got offers from many schools including Pittsburgh, Michigan State, and Arizona State.
Penn State’s defensive line has been pushed around so far this season, especially in the running game. With the amount of injuries plaguing the linebacking corps, the defensive line will be heavily relied on.
Miller is expected to develop into a primary leader for the defense. However, he is still young. Coach James Franklin commented on how Miller’s inexperience has shown up in the transition of his play from the practice field to the game field.
“He doesn't practice like that," coach Franklin told the Philadelphia Inquirer after his debut game. "My point to him is, you played at such a higher level today, that I have much higher expectations for you in practice. If he would understand and embrace that, and practice every day at a much higher level, he could have an unbelievable career here. I think this is a great learning experience for him.”
The redshirt freshman has a lot of pressure on him to perform, but coming from a neighborhood where other pressures were much more fatal, Miller should be up to the task.
Paddy Cotter is a freshman majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.