Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Juco defensive end Dean Miller commits to Kansas football over Indiana

Kansas head coach Lance Leipold leads his team onto the field before an NCAA college football game against Oklahoma Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, in Lawrence, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Kansas head coach Lance Leipold leads his team onto the field before an NCAA college football game against Oklahoma Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, in Lawrence, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)


Dean Miller, an outside linebacker at College of the Canyons, became the latest player to commit to transfer to Kansas when he did so on Wednesday afternoon.

A freshman last season, Miller, who is 6-foot-6 and 210 pounds, has three seasons of eligibility remaining plus a redshirt year. An outside linebacker in the Cougars' 3-3 stack defense, he would likely play defensive end at Kansas, which uses a 4-3 base defense.

Miller chose Kansas over scholarship offers from Oregon State, Indiana, Utah State and San Jose State. He took an official visit to Kansas from May 16-18 alongside Eastern Michigan safety Jarrett Paul, who committed to the Jayhawks' coaches before leaving, and has primarily been recruited by defensive ends coach Taiwo Onatulo and defensive backs coach Jordan Peterson.

None by Dean Miller

After an official visit to Indiana last month, Miller decided to call Onatulo on Wednesday and ask a few lingering follow-up questions. He then told Onatulo wants to play at Kansas.

"It was a great talk, so I committed over the phone with him," Miller said. "I had the whole coaching staff on the phone with him listening in, so it was just great hearing them all get excited and cheer once they heard me commit. That was awesome, for sure."

Miller said Wednesday that even though he enjoyed his official visit to Kansas, he wanted to wait to commit because he felt it was important to see other schools.

"I had no complaints," Miller said. "It was just truly amazing, honestly. But it was also my first visit that I had ever been on, so I just kind of wanted to make sure that the feelings stayed the same even when I had some time to come back, think about it and digest it all. It's definitely gotten to a point where the feeling has stayed just as strong as when I left, so I'm just ready to get this thing moving with them."

As a full qualifier, Miller said the next step is for him to apply for admission to the university. Once he's accepted, he'll be able to head east, which he hopes happens by the end of the month.

Miller attended Valencia High in Santa Clarita, California, but transferred roughly 40 miles southeast to Cathedral High in Los Angeles in 2020 in order to be able to play his senior season amid COVID-19 restrictions at public schools. He chose to attend a junior college in order to generate additional interest from football coaches so he could continue playing the sport.

"I've played football since I was about 8 or 9 and it's always been kind of the strongest passion of mine growing up," he said. "It's definitely something that I've always wanted to take as far as I could possibly take it."

He considers his length and speed to be his greatest attributes and recognizes that if he's going to succeed playing defensive end in college, he will need to gain weight. Kansas' defensive ends play at about 240 pounds.

"That's going to be the main focus for me," he said. "Definitely putting on some good weight because at the Power 5 level, what I'm going to be going against is 6-5, 300-plus, so it's definitely important that I put on some more weight so I can hold my own every down."

Miller is the second junior college pass rusher to commit to transfer to Kansas since spring practice ended. Davion Westmoreland, a defensive end at Hutchinson Community College, did so on May 9.

One of Kansas' starting defensive ends, Kyron Johnson, was drafted in the sixth round by the Philadelphia Eagles in April. The other, Malcolm Lee, started 11 games last season and will be a fifth-year senior, and Miami (Ohio) transfer Lonnie Phelps, who will be a redshirt junior, is in the mix to start.

He is the 15th player who has decided to transfer to Kansas since the end of last season.

Miller had the option to return to College of the Canyons for his sophomore season, but as soon as he began receiving Power 5 offers, he knew he wouldn't.

"(It) is kind of a school known for getting people out if you do your thing there," Miller said. "I just kind of figured I'd go down that route and bet on myself and work for what I wanted to get. I can see now it's kind of working out and paying off."


Karen Mansfield-Stewart 1 month, 3 weeks ago

“ He is the 15th player who has decided to transfer to Kansas since the end of last season.” That’s insane. Great job coaches!

Dirk Medema 1 month, 3 weeks ago

It is so nice to be free from the 25 player annual limit.

Hopefully we can get through the year with Dean only playing 4 or fewer games so he can use the year to bulk up.

It will be nice to have 6-6 up front. A few decades ago we won the Hula or the Aloha Bowl with a DL that had multiple pass deflections. Sounds like he’s got good speed also.

Edward Daub 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Dean will make my all "string bean" team.

That being said, some reporters are claiming he weighs 225 pounds.

Rock Chalk!

Dirk Medema 1 month, 3 weeks ago

David - Keith was “only” 6-4 and a LB in the mid-2000’s, and really good, but I was remembering the ‘95 Aloha Bowl team. I use to have a tape of it that I would watch periodically. Fun game. Google and wiki don’t help much on the details about players.

Jeff Coffman 1 month, 3 weeks ago

I think the 25 limit being removed (I don't know if it going to be permanent or temporary), and the ability of the transfer protocol might be the biggest boon for KU football since we hired Lance Leipold (I know really bold). I just think that we have been in a bad spot for our roster for some time and this allows the coach to take some risks and get players into the fold. We should be near 85 scholarshipped players for the first time in over a decade. One thing that we have suffered from over the years is depth and I'm not talking about out of energy in the 4th; I'm talking about a player getting injured without a capable backup yet being ready to play at this level. Each injury created an additional matchup issue without the ability to cover for it.

I don't think this year will be significantly better, but I do think this year we will get more talent that will prevent that type of exposure in the future.

Here is to a step in the right direction for KU football in 2022.

Dirk Medema 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Jeff - Absolutely right about the best thing to happen in a long time.

I think looking at the roster might show better depth this year than next. In addition to returning something like 85% of the production from last year, we’ve also got close to a dozen supers this year vs 2 last year. We will be losing a ton of experience across both lines; maybe a ton and a half. {rimshot}

Like you pointed out though, we do get at least one more year of limitless recruiting. It seems that we’ll need a significant influx of experience on both lines for next year, especially the DLine, or we could actually see a drop off in depth.

That being said, I think we’ll be dropping off from a much higher position, and Coach will get serious consideration for COTY this year.

(Personally, I don’t see the 25 player limit returning, because players that don’t get enough PT at big schools will continue to transfer and an elite school can’t be allowed to be at a disadvantage because of roster limits. Non-elites can be at a disadvantage, but not the big dogs.)

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