Micah Miller signs
KANNAPOLIS — Although A.L. Brown and West Rowan, just 23 miles apart, haven’t met in football since 2005, their baseball programs did produce a collision in 2012.
A.L. Brown’s Micah Miller, running to first base, plowed into West Rowan first baseman Louis Kraft. Kraft got the worst of it and needed some dental work.
If they’d been wearing pads, Miller would’ve been the low man, and football coaches will tell you the low man always wins collisions. Kraft is about 6-foot 3. Miller is about 5-8.
“It was my fault,” Miller said. “I was supposed to get a bunt down and when I didn’t execute, I was running to first with my head down and ran into Louis. Since I was a linebacker and he was a tight end, maybe we would’ve run into each other in football too. We’ve talked about it. It’s all good.”
Miller was more impactful in football for the Wonders than baseball, but at his size — 5-foot-8, 180 pounds — his best chance for a college career is baseball. He signed recently with the Surry Community College Knights in Dobson.
“There’s not a lot of college coaches looking for 5-8 linebackers,” Miller said with a smile. “I do realize I’m still a little bit raw in baseball. You’ve got to play a lot of baseball to be really good at it.”
Miller appeared to be a potential star in both sports until he blew out a knee playing basketball in March of his junior year and underwent surgery in April. He lost all but a handful of games in the 2012 baseball season. After rehabbing for six months, he was able to return for the stretch run of his senior football season last October. Demonstrating just how competitive an athlete he is, he was player of the game in the playoff win against Hickory Ridge for making 10 tackles, intercepting a pass and forcing a fumble.
Miller was healthy for his senior baseball season, although the results weren’t what he wanted.
“He was out of baseball for almost a full calendar year, with the injury, and then the rehab, and then football,” A.L. Brown baseball coach Empsy Thompson explained. “He just never quite got his timing down this spring.”
Still, Miller has a chance to play in college because he’s an athlete. In a tryout, his speed and strength impressed Surry coaches.
“He really does have some tools,” Thompson said. “Micah can run, he’s really put together, and he’s got some power.”
Miller is playing with the Kannapolis American Legion team this summer, a season that in the past he’s devoted to the football team’s “Summer Warriors” program.
“He’s never played year-round baseball,” Thompson said. “Let him play for a summer, and then this fall, and then next spring, and see just how good a baseball player he can be. He could surprise people. He’s an intelligent young man, he’s got a good opportunity at Surry, and you always want to maximize opportunities.”
Miller has played baseball since he was 8. He’s always liked it, but now he’s started thinking of himself as a baseball guy for the first time.
“I’m feeling good about getting a chance to play in college with one of my teammates (pitcher Eldon Peters),” Miller said. “I’m excited about playing baseball non-stop.”