When the Miami Dolphins spent over $200 million to bring in new talent, they set themselves up to be the hottest NFL franchise in the 2013 offseason. There’s a ton of new faces wearing aqua and orange, but that hasn’t stopped a familiar face from turning some heads. Despite a plethora of new talent, one would be hard pressed to find a more talked about player than rising star running back Lamar Miller.
Lamar Miller, a 2012 fourth-round pick, is truly a homegrown talent. Miller, 22, attended Miami Killian High School, where in his senior year – became a Parade All-American running back after rushing for 1,749 yards, while scoring 22 touchdowns. After showing tremendous talent in high school, the University of Miami put on a full court press to recruit him and keep his talents in South Beach. After playing behind seasoned veterans for the first few years, Miller became the starting running back in 2011, where he became the first running back since University of Miami legend Willis McGahee to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season. In addition to playing football, Miller was also a track star at UM, where he ran the 60 meters, 100 meters, and 200 meters. Upon declaring for the NFL Draft, Miller absolutely tore up the NFL Combine. He ran 4.34 40-yard dash, which was the fastest among all running backs, despite a dense frame at 5-foot-11, 212 pounds.
Miller’s impressive Combine performance was no doubt the reason Jeff Ireland traded up with the 49ers to select him with the 97th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. With a relatively established backfield in Miami, Miller didn’t play as much as he would have probably liked in his rookie season. He carried the rock 51 times, but he flashed big-play ability when he played in games. His exceptional talent gave the Dolphins a sign of things to come.
A year later, Miller is now in the driver’s seat for the starting job. According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Miller has been working out with fellow UM alum and NFL star running back Frank Gore this offseason. Both running backs are training with Pete Bommarito, who manages Bommarito Performance Systems, which has trained a number of NFL running backs that include Maurice Jones-Drew. “He’s the fastest running back I’ve ever seen,” Bommarito said.
One of Miller’s knocks coming out of college was his inability to pass block. However, Miller has drawn praise from coach Joe Philbin for proactively addressing that problem this offseason. Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill has noticed as well. “He’s picking up pass protections a lot better,” said Tannehill.
A lot of this talk has come before the Dolphins have taken the field in pads, but there are too many irrefutable reasons to be cautiously optimistic that the team has a superstar in the making in their backfield. They plucked him out of their own backyard, too. They should be thrilled.