UCF head coach George O'Leary and several members of his coaching staff have ties to the Atlanta area dating back to their days at Georgia Tech, so it's no surprise it's an area that the Golden Knights visit often in recruiting. Several Atlanta area prospects were on official visits to UCF this past weekend and one such player, Woodstock (Ga.) linebacker Bruce Miller, made his verbal commitment during the trip.
"The trip was awesome," Miller said. "It went really good. I actually committed (Sunday) morning. My flight was on Friday at 1:00 and we got down there and met all the coaches. We got to rest for a little while and then we ate dinner. We had a little chat time where we talked about everything and that was it for Friday. Saturday we went around and saw the school. We talked to academic advisors about our majors. We went around the football part of it. We went to the football facility, saw the weight room, training room and indoor facility. Saturday was basically touring the school."
Miller's player host was freshman linebacker Kyle Fowler.
"I also hung out with Kyle Israel, Cory Hogue, Justin Warr and T.J. Harnden," Miller said. "I hung out with a lot of the young linebackers. That's who I was with most of the time. Mostly the linebacking group.
Sunday morning Miller learned he was being offered a scholarship and that's when he made the verbal commitment.
"We got up and ate breakfast on Sunday," Miller said. "We all got up and had individual meetings with Coach (George) O'Leary. We talked about it and he made the offer and I accepted it right there. Coach (Dave) Huxtable had actually told me I would receive an offer on Sunday when I went in there so I was prepared for it. (Coach O'Leary) was excited because he said that I was a versatile and I could play more than one spot. He seemed real happy."
Miller was very excited to take O'Leary up on the offer.
"One reason is the location," Miller said. "Orlando is not too far away from Atlanta and it's not too close. It's far enough. The facilities are just amazing. Everything is new and it's awesome. It really is. Then the people. I really liked Coach Huxtable. Coach O'Leary, everybody knows about him and he's an excellent coach. The whole coaching staff was great. The whole visit I just enjoyed being around the coaches and the guys from the team that we hung out with. It was really nice. I liked it a lot."
Miller said he also took notice of UCF's success on the football field. He watched part of the Knights' bowl game in Hawaii
"The turnaround of the program this year was great," Miller said. "The football team went to the conference championship and played in a bowl game. That's a lot out of a career. People don't usually get to play for championships and bowl games and I want to be a part of that."
His parents are also supportive of the decision.
"They absolutely loved it," Miller said. "It was beautiful down there."
Miller said UCF's began showing interest shortly after his football season.
"Right before we got out for Christmas break, like late November or early December, Coach Huxtable called me and we started talking a lot," Miller said. "He would come to the school and talk to me. That's how it really started."
Miller said Huxtable noticed him when he was evaluating film of an opposing player.
"I think my coach had sent out a lot of film, but I'm not sure if he had sent one to him," Miller said. "What actually happened was that Coach Huxtable had gone to other local schools around us and he was watching film and saw No. 9 all over the screen so he decided to come and talk to me which I was real excited about."
Miller was an All-County and All-Region selection at Woodstock as a senior.
"We had an excellent year," Miller said. "We had a real good season. We went 8-2 and played in the first playoff game in our high school history at our field against Marietta and we ended up losing that one. That was disappointing. I ended up with 134 tackles, three picks, two picks for touchdowns, three forced fumbles and two recovered and a sack."
Miller hopes to see early playing time at UCF.
"They want me to play middle linebacker or drop down and play defensive end, either one of those," Miller said. "Whether I play next year, it just depends on how the summer is. I'm going down early and I'm going to get a headstart on workouts. It just depends. Hard work will get me on the field early. That's what I'm going to go and do. Work hard and see what happens."
Miller is 6-foot-3, 230 pounds and reported a forty-yard dash of 4.7. He can bench max 305 pounds and squat 415. He also plays basketball and is debating whether he will play baseball again this season. Miller wasn't sure of a major yet, but he would like to become a football coach after graduation.
Murray State, West Georgia and Valdosta State had also offered Miller and he was looking to setup visits with Memphis, Indiana, Boston College and Tulane.
"I'm pretty much solid with UCF," Miller said. "I'm going to cancel all my other visits."