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Originally published May 28, 2013 at 10:01a.m., updated May 28, 2013 at 11:36p.m.

Former KU running back Darrian Miller returning to Jayhawks

Kansas running back Darrian Miller races up the field for a first down against Baylor during the first quarter on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011 at Kivisto Field. The run helped put the Jayhawks in field goal range.

Kansas running back Darrian Miller races up the field for a first down against Baylor during the first quarter on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011 at Kivisto Field. The run helped put the Jayhawks in field goal range.

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Scribble the name Darrian Miller onto the list of college football players taking advantage of Kansas University coach Charlie Weis’ willingness to provide them with a second chance.

And put down Butler County Community College football coach Troy Morrell on the list of people who believe Miller, who rejoined the Jayhawks on Tuesday a year after Weis dismissed him from the program, will make good on the opportunity.

“There’s no question he matured as a person and as a student while he was here at Butler,” Morrell told the Journal-World on Tuesday afternoon. “I think he has grown up a lot. I think he really just came to the understanding what a team was and how to work within a team. That’s where I saw him grow the most, just as a teammate.”

Miller, a member of the high school Class of 2011, graduated from Blue Springs (Mo.) High early, came to KU in time for spring ball in 2011 and played in 11 games as a true freshman that season. On Tuesday, he signed a grant-in-aid agreement with KU and was welcomed with open arms by the same man who dismissed him following his freshman season.

Throughout his first stint at Kansas, there never was any doubt about Miller’s ability to play at the Big 12 level. The former four-star running back was KU’s second-leading rusher in 2011, finishing with 559 yards and four touchdowns on just 113 carries, and he became known for his big-play ability and relentless running style.

Off-the-field issues, however, proved to be his downfall — at least temporarily. Former KU coach Turner Gill suspended Miller for the final game of the 2011 season for “a violation of team rules” and, less than a month later, newly hired Weis punted him altogether.

Despite the 5-foot-11, 190-pound running back’s questionable departure, which did not involve academics — Miller left KU in good standing and performed well throughout his time at Butler CC — Weis heard enough during a recent sit-down with Miller to believe he deserved the chance to atone for past mistakes. The fact that the Missouri high school all-time rushing leader adds immediate depth and talent to an already loaded backfield and returns with three seasons of eligibility remaining probably did not hurt his chances.

“We constantly research special situations concerning transfer students,” Weis said in a press release. “Each situation is unique. Occasionally, through our due diligence, we find a player who fits. This was the case with both Darrian and (Miami, Ohio wide receiver) Nick (Harwell). We believe both young men are prepared to thrive at Kansas on and off the field.”

Weis is not the only college coach who thinks Miller is ready to make a more complete impression during his second go-around with the Jayhawks.

“He put himself in a good position academically; he felt like KU was a good fit and he wanted the chance to go back and make a new beginning for himself,” said Morrell, who said he only coached Miller this spring, since the former Jayhawk took classes elsewhere last fall and did not play a game for the Grizzlies. “That’s why kids come to this level, to get another opportunity at a Division I program, and we certainly take a lot of pride in getting guys to that level. I’m just happy for his opportunity ,and I think he’ll do good things up there.”

A quick glance at Miller’s Twitter feed Tuesday night indicated Miller did not plan to receive any special treatment upon his return to Lawrence.

“Just another member of this 2013 recruiting class, ready to work for everything I get. That’s all,” Miller wrote. His comments in KU’s official press release backed such claims.

“After talking to coach Weis, we have decided to try to get this right,” Miller said in the release. “Coach Weis is giving me an opportunity to rejoin the Kansas football team with stipulations. ... I made mistakes as a freshman that not only led to my dismissal, but hurt the Kansas football team. I regret this happened, but I have learned a great life lesson during this ordeal.”

Miller continued: “Coach Weis has given me a rare opportunity. I am truly thankful and I intend to make the most of it. My only goal now is to help coach Weis return Kansas football to respectability.”

Comments

JHWKDW 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Ok good deal. It seems to be a statement we are making that we are trying to improve. Question is what off the field things happened to get him kicked off? Well anyways welcome back.

Now how about our WR's and TE's.

Hey I hope Grunhard can get those guys up front to take care of business!

4 decent Rbs impressive so far. lets hope we can improve in other areas.Good Luck RCJH Football in 13

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JayHok 10 months, 3 weeks ago

After a night to rest on it I'm still going with the double slot with Matthews deep in shotgun position at the QB and Heaps at the RB. During Pete Carol's time, USC wouldn't hold athletes off the field that would cause nightmarish matchups for the opposing defense. Why should KU. Even the best opposing defense would have three men tops that could cover McKay, Harwell, Pierson, Miller, Mathews, Cox, Bourbon on pass routes. But could they cover them all at once. With a spread field and a pitch back to Heaps two or three of our players would be wide open. If the D coordinator wants to blitz five or six, Mathews throws it to one of two players who ran the short 5 yard hook. While we're having wild thoughts here, if a center can be also eligible to catch a pass why not add Sims to the mix. Put Sims at center for a snap. Shotgun no matter whose at center. Our problem last year was a lack of open targets. Let's fix that in grand fashion. RCJ

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KMathis 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Miller runs like a faggot ...

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Tim Chappell 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Darrian has been working hard since leaving KU. He has matured a lot and I am excited for him and KU.

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Dirk Medema 10 months, 3 weeks ago

So the next question is, "Do Tony and Darrian race for the rights to wear #3?"

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Hawk8086 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Great news. Miller is very talented and has demonstrated that fact. In general, it is good to see a young man given a 2nd chance. I have confidence in Weiss and, therefore, assume that he made the right decision. Difficult to really have an opinion, though, unless you know what the issues were.

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jayhawkintx1973 10 months, 3 weeks ago

It's a good thing that Weis is giving some players a chance at redemption for off the field issues, and Weis is clearly putting an emphasis upon discipline, a quality that was lacking under Gill.

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Charles Logan 10 months, 3 weeks ago

With these weapons KU should do a lot of scoring. No matter who the QB is. Dayne Crist would even do well with this lineup. I too am glad Miller is back. He was explosive as a TRUE freshman!

But you guys know that we will have to hear the story of how he was let go. Went to Butler County, and was given a second chance at KU at least 3 times per game. That means we will have to listen to broadcasters talk about this at least 36 times through out the season.

Hmmmm....... How 'bout a touchdown for every time they mention it?

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741hawk 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Chicks past 10 p.m. LOL!

Like Darrian's closing . . . "Rock Chalk" I recall Wilt closing his honoree speech with an appropriate "Rock Chalk." I encourage all Jayhawks to close conversations written and verbal) with our unique, fraternity/club salute. (Plus, it drives the Slavers nuts!) Rock Chalk!

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ahpersecoachingexperience 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Welcome back Darrian you'll notice we added a few things since Derp Gill left. Puke buckets in the weight room, a classroom and study hall attendance requirement, cuss words, cell phones, and chicks past 10pm. Have fun!

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Bryce Landon 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Welcome back, Darrian! Hopefully things will be better this year than last year.

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Jonathan Allison 10 months, 3 weeks ago

this is good news for KU football! And I'm surprised not to see all of the boo-birds who complained so long and tirelessly about damaging KU Football's image last week after Weis added that receiver from Miami (Ohio).

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ccarp 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Great news! I was sad to see him go, glad to have him back.

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JayHok 10 months, 3 weeks ago

New wrinkle. Double slots. Pierson at one slot. Send him on a five yard buttonhook. That should hold two linebackers at bay. Miller at the other. Send him on a ten yard button hook away from the linebackers. Harwell at one wideout. Send him full sprint deep. McKay at the other. Send him straight down the other sideline deep. Line up Bourbon as a tackle eligible. Send him on a quick cross away from the linebackers to pull in a cornerback or safety. Line up Taylor Cox at the tight end. Send him deep up the middle. Put Heaps in a shotgun 8 yards deep. Put Sims a couple yards in front of him to either temporarily block the rush or fake-block a few yards up stream for an emergency catch and dash due to the safety and corners already deep in man chasing three flying Jayhawks.

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Chris Bruning 10 months, 3 weeks ago

YES!!! He's got rare balance and is fun to watch.

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David Harrison 10 months, 3 weeks ago

What about using this guy in the passing game? Lets give Heaps another weapon! If I remember right Miller was about 6 foot tall. His speed should allow him to get some seperation. Put him in the slot and use him like a Wes Welker.

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Keith Hummel 10 months, 3 weeks ago

This is just awesome news on so many levels! First, it is just so cool to see a kid get his act together and come back to the program. First Dexter McDonald, now Miller. Second, Miller is a stud at running back. To think he ran the way he did as a freshman, and now as 3 years left, is just too cool. Third, this gives us so many more options in the future. As Matt pointed out we could now conceivably red-shirt Taylor Cox this year, giving us a veteran back for 2014. Combine this with the recent news about Nick Harwell, on top of the recruits we recently got, and the possibilities with Jake Heaps, and it's hard not to get excited about the future of KU Football.

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Al Martin 10 months, 3 weeks ago

This makes me happy; it's just all around great. It's great for the team, and it's great for the kid. He got his act together, and is being rewarded. Terrific news.

2

CentralKjhawk 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Speed is great, however, it won't do much if we can't replace the O-line that we had last year!

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jhawkln 10 months, 3 weeks ago

The season after next this team will be contending for the Big XII.

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Tony Bandle 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Thanks for the answer, everyone..three years eligibilty, available to play immediately. It's kind of like he went on a missionary trip overseas for a year.

One more question,please...... does this past year off count as a red shirt or does he still have a formal "red shirt" year option?? Not that I am advocating that...just curious. Thanks!!

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Wickedson 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Actually forget what I I just typed. Miller will only be a (RS) Soph! That's great news

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Doug Roberts 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Ahperse must be in the bathroom so I'll say it: Charlie don't play!

2

Wickedson 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Good idea with the red shirt on Cox this year Tait. He def has the size to carry the load next year otherwise we'll be pretty thin.

Either that or I could see Pierson playing a lot in the slot this year and bouncing back inside next year for more "carries". Lots of options here.

2013

RB- James Sims (Sr.) Darrian Miller (Sr.) Taylor Cox (Sr.) (RS) Brandon Bourbon (Jr.)

Slot- Tony Pierson (Jr.) Colin Spencer (Fr.)

2014

RB- Taylor Cox (Sr.) Brandon Bourbon (Sr.) Traevohn Wrench (Fr.)

Slot- Tony Pierson (Sr.) Colin Spencer (So.)

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Dyrk Dugan 10 months, 3 weeks ago

awesome news! Darrian is a darn good football player....and i was surprised to see he was one of those that had to be let go before.

but if HCCW says he's ready to come back, he's ready to come back. we'll need him for sure in 2014...so this is terrific. welcome back Mr. Miller!

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Chris1955 10 months, 3 weeks ago

I'm really beginning to look forward to KU football this year. Coach Weis is a man on a mission, and I'm glad that he is.

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Tony Bandle 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Matt, this being a fairly unique case, released as a freshman to a non -division one program, eligible to return after a year, etc. it might be helpful to specify for us dummies [me leading the way, of course!! ], just how many years of eligibility does Darrian have....two??, three??....thanks for your help.

PS Oh yes, this IS great news..what's even better is his acceptance of full accountability and his obvious dedication to make this second chance GOLDEN!!!!

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Joe Baker 10 months, 3 weeks ago

I'm anxious to see how Heaps steps in after sitting out. I expect some adjustments, but Heaps should know this team as a 2nd yr player. He's had the opp to learn, study, develop and take practice reps during Crist's short time at KU.

I expect great things from Heaps. He is living up to most expectations to this point. I anticipate he'll do great things with his arsenal. The O-line must protect him or they will be helping him off the turf all season. We should at least win the games we lost last year. We should see some huge improvements and this squad should be starving.

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Brett McCabe 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Weis is a smart dude. He keeps figuring out ways to get better guys on the field. Miller was an explosive back and it is great to see him back in blue.

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texashawk10 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Once Miller got adjusted to the speed of the college game, he was KU's best back in 2011. KU's going to have not only the best backfield in the Big 12, but they're going to have one of the best backfield's in the nation with the addition of Miller.

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Brett McCabe 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Can Miller redshirt? It seems like we have more than enough running backs this year. He could definitely be a big help next year when Sims and Cox depart.

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lawrenceloser 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Wow. Just wow. Now we can get Pierson more reps as a receiver.

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Bewareofthephog Fifety-Five 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Should we move Collin Spencer to cornerback now?

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fearthephog512 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Why yes, Kansas does have the most explosive backfield in the Big 12. Rock Chalk!

3

jaydee909 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Huge news! Miller is a special talent at rb. Very difficult to bring down and has good burst of speed.

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