KU football RB Darrian Miller's long and winding road as a Jayhawk
This morning's news that Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis would welcome back to the program former running back Darrian Miller certainly adds more depth and talent to an already loaded KU backfield.
But it also added another chapter to the long and winding road that Miller has traveled to become a Jayhawk.
The following is a quick timeline of the Darrian-Miller-to-KU era, which may be more extensive than many remember.
It was not easy for the Jayhawks to land Missouri's all-time high school rushing leader in the first place and, although he performed well throughout his first season in Lawrence, the ups and downs continued through this morning, when Weis announced that Miller was coming back.
The 5-foot-10, 191-pound back known for his big-play ability and relentless running style will be eligible immediate and will have three years of eligibility remaining.
Here's a look back at Miller's path so far:
• March 4, 2010: Miller originally commits to KU
“It had been on my mind since I went to their Junior Day,” said Miller, the Simone Award runner-up in 2009. “But I just didn’t really know when was a good time (to commit). After talking to coach Mitchell a little more at the game (Wednesday), I just felt there was really no reason to wait. People have asked me about decommitments and whatnot, but I honestly don’t see that in my future. If I had any doubt in my mind then I wouldn’t have made the decision. No one pressured me. This was really just me.”
• May 25, 2010: Miller reopens his recruitment but does not rule out KU
“There is still a good chance I could end up (at KU),” Miller told Rivals.com’s Jon Kirby. “I want to make sure there isn’t a school out there that can compete with Kansas. I still feel strong about them. They are definitely still right there in the running. I just need to make sure that’s what I want.”
• Oct. 25, 2010: Miller commits to KU for the second time, choosing KU over Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Kansas State
“Maybe it was just being around the coaches and players more,” Miller told Rivals. “When you go up there, you really get a chance to see how everybody gets along when they are together. You have to believe if you are going to be a part of it. I feel I made a good decision and everything feels right,” Miller said. “My season is going well and we are playing well. I’m happy to make my decision with Kansas and get up there to get started.”
• December 2010: Miller graduates high school a semester early in order to report to KU in time for the spring semester and spring football
“I’m confident I can come in this year and at least help out in some way,” Miller said. “I’m not expecting too much, but I’m not saying it couldn’t happen. I just want to come in and help out as much as I can.”
• April 30, 2011: After watching Miller rush for 23 yards on four carries in the spring game, former KU coach Turner Gill praised Miller's performance throughout spring ball
“Of the 15 practices he had, I thought he was a person who got more yards than what was blocked,” Gill said. “And I think that’s a little bit of how you define a good running back.”
• Aug. 17, 2011: Midway through his first fall camp, Miller begins to receive praise from KU's upperclassmen
“I want Darrian Miller to play because he’s like the slipperiest back I’ve ever tried to tackle,” former KU linebacker Steven Johnson said. “He’s just slipping and sliding. He’s like a snake and he squirms out of stuff. And he’s fast. And then we’ve got a running back from East St. Louis, (Tony) Pierson. I went one-on-ones with him this summer and I almost lost my shoe. I was like, ‘What in the world?’”
• Sept. 3, 2011: Miller shines in first game as a Jayhawk, rushing for 63 yards on 14 carries in a 42-24 win over McNeese State
“I knew they had talent,” Gill said about the freshmen running backs, including Miller. “But I didn’t know if it was gonna come to fruition in this ballgame. It was great to see it. When they got their touches, they produced. They didn’t get scared about the bright lights or playing on the big stage and all those things, and it was good to see those guys produce for us.”
• Nov. 12, 2011: Miller explodes for a career best 147 yards on 24 carries in a 31-30, overtime loss to Baylor. The yardage total marked the most in a single game by a KU freshman since 1993
“Our running backs played well,” said offensive coordinator Chuck Long. “They ran hard. Our offensive line did a terrific job. Our receivers on the outside blocked well.”
• Nov. 26, 2011: Gill suspended Miller for the final game of the regular season against Missouri for a violation of team rules. KU went on to lose 24-10 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City
“He’s a good football player,” Gill said of Miller after the loss, which proved to be his final game as KU's head coach. “He would’ve helped us. But (his absence) wasn’t the reason why we lost the football game.”
• Jan. 16, 2012: New KU coach Charlie Weis announces the dismissal of 10 players from the KU roster. Miller is on the list, which included players let go for everything from violating team rules to seeking a transfer
“I don’t care who they are,” said Weis when asked for his reaction to the prominence of several of the names, including Miller's. “I don’t care if they were all starters; it doesn’t make a difference. There’s a right and a wrong way of doing things and we’re gonna do it the right way. That’s all there is to it.”
• May 28, 2013: Weis announces that Miller, who spent the 2012 season at Butler County Community College but did not play, would return to the KU roster for the 2013 season and would have three years of eligibility remaining.