Miller Decides To Stay For Senior Season
BOULDER - Colorado's incoming coaching staff can count on Ryan Miller. The 6-foot-8, 310-pound right guard said Friday he will return to CU for his senior season, ending speculation that he might "test the waters" in this spring's NFL Draft.
In a statement issued to CUBuffs.com, Miller said, "I'm with the Black and Gold regardless of what coach is hired. I didn't want to talk about this immediately following the NU game because it was neither the time nor the place. I will play my senior season in a University of Colorado jersey."
Following CU's season-ending loss at Nebraska a week ago, Miller offered a "no comment" when asked about his future. Speculation arose from his answer that he might not return for the 2011 season.
Miller said he came to the decision to stay on Thursday afternoon after discussing his situation with his family and current and former teammates.
"I was pretty sure what I was going to do, pretty sure I would stick around, but I wanted to talk to some people," he said. "It's the right decision."
CU senior left tackle Nate Solder was faced with a similar situation in 2009. Solder stayed for his year and had a stellar season, earning numerous preseason and postseason honors.
Solder called the prospect of Miller leaving "a little bit of a sticky situation. He's got a good head on his shoulders, he has great parents. For me, the decision was to stay here, if I could communicate that to him I would, there's so much you can learn in one more year. He'll get a lot better next year."
A 2010 honorable mention All-Big 12 selection by the league's coaches, Miller said whoever CU hires to succeed Dan Hawkins did not factor into his decision: "They'll bring in a guy who'll put us in a position to win games; whoever it is will have my support."
A Columbine High School product and CU's top recruit in 2007, Miller started seven games as a freshman, opened in the first four games of 2008 (he was sidelined by a broken fibula and received a medical hardship), and returned to start all 12 games in 2009. He has played guard and tackle, but believes he's more suited to guard.
Miller will anchor a 2011 Buffaloes line that returns four starters - depending on the status of center Mike Iltis (knee). Also back will be right tackle David Bakhtiari and left guard Ethan Adkins. The Buffs lose Solder, but have several experienced linemen who will compete to replace him.
Solder finished atop most of the O-line's season-ending statistics, but Miller also was highly ranked. Solder final grade was 94.3 percent, with Bakhtiari (89.8), Adkins (89.4) and Miller (88.9) bunched behind him. Miller's high game was a 96 percent grade against Kansas State, and he recorded the team's second-most knockdown blocks (83) and touchdown blocks (six). Solder had 142 and 10, respectively.
"After the Cal game, I felt my overall game improved so much," Miller said. "I don't what exactly happened, what clicked, but Coach (Denver) Johnson did a wonderful job of helping me out. After that game, things started going well and I was playing the best football I've ever played."
It is uncertain whether Johnson will be retained by CU's new head coach, but Miller's feelings on the matter were clear: "I'll definitely miss him if he goes," he said. "Guys play better with certain coaches; every player is different. But he helped me break down technique and film . . . he helped my game exponentially."
Whoever coaches him in his final CU season, Miller said he is "very excited to be a part of a new chapter in this university's history . . . there are a lot of good things in front of us."