The 50 most important college players in Texas in 2017 — No. 47: UMHB’s Markeith Miller
AS THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON EDGES CLOSER, WE TAKE A LOOK AT THE MOST PIVOTAL PLAYERS FOR EACH PROGRAM'S RESPECTIVE SUCCESS.
The importance of a player is not always defined by their skill level. The most important player on a team or in a unite is not always the best player on a team. This list is designed to breakdown the 50 most important players in Texas college football for the 2017 season. It is not a ranking of the 50 best college football players in the state. Importance can be defined by position, need, skill or leadership. We’ll count down the list through the summer, all the way to No. 1.
Markeith Miller was an impact player on both sides of the ball at different times at Garland High School, leading the Owls to the playoffs as a first-team all-district linebacker as a junior before earning all-state honors in the backfield as a senior. His offensive numbers were staggering – Miller rushed for 2,150 yards and 23 touchdowns as Garland won seven games for the first time since 2011. He spent his freshman season at Division II Midwestern State, but played in just two games.
Miller then transferred to Division III UMHB, where he led the Crusaders with 1,483 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns this season while playing a major role in the team’s first national championship. His biggest game was a 235-yard, 3 touchdown performance against Belhaven in American Southwest Conference play.
Miller’s older brother Malcolm was a running back at UMHB prior to his arrival last season, but the two have vastly different skillsets. Markeith, at 5-foot-10, 215 lbs., has a unique combination of both speed and power that allowed him to finish with the eighth most rushing yards in all of NCAA Division III. Miller was bottled up in the low-scoring, defensive slugfest that was the national championship game, but his speed allowed him to break free on a long run in just about every other contest last season. Miller had a run of 35 or more yards in seven games last year.
Paired with senior quarterback Blake Jackson, Miller gave the Crusaders a dynamic one-two punch in the backfield. But with Jackson graduated and out of the picture heading into this season, Miller will be relied upon even more heavily to keep the high-powered UMHB offense flowing. He did his damage last year while averaging less than 15 carries per game. After Jackson racked up more than 4,000 yards and 46 touchdowns, Miller will certainly see more action this season – his ability to make the most of it will be important as the Crusaders look to repeat as national champions.
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Brady Keane is a Contributing Writer for Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. Follow him on Twitter: @BradyKeane.