Albertville senior Logan Miller is going to have an opportunity to live his dream at Jacksonville State, a powerhouse in the Ohio Valley Conference and the Football Championship Subdivision.
Miller, a 6-foot-3, 300-pound Aggie offensive lineman, is joining the Gamecocks as a preferred walk-on. He celebrated his commitment during a Feb. 6 ceremony in the AHS library.
“Playing college ball at any level has been a dream,” Miller said. “It’s been a dream to play college ball ever since peewee. It goes way, way back to all the way coming up.
“You realize everybody who plays in college is there for a reason. It’s a constant grind and constant work day in and day out. I’m honored that JSU offered and took me on. I’m just really thankful to them for that.”
Miller wants to pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing and possibly become a nurse practitioner. Jacksonville State features a top-rated nursing program.
He considered other schools but said Jax State felt right.
“Jacksonville State gave us a really good package [academically and athletically], it’s close to home and I love it down there,” Miller said. “Their offensive line coach said, ‘I would love it if you would come and play ball for us.’
“I always wanted to play for a powerhouse. The No. 1 priority is getting my education, but going somewhere that had a really supportive community and a steady, well-built program played a big part into it.”
John Grass has guided the Gamecocks to a 52-12 start in his head-coaching career, the second-best start to a career in FCS history. He led the Gamecocks to become the first program to win five straight OVC titles.
JSU has gone 38-1 in OVC play under Grass, including a 36-game winning streak that was the second-longest in FCS history before it was snapped in 2018.
The Gamecocks earned their sixth straight appearance in the FCS playoffs in 2018, the third-longest active streak.
Miller expects to play center or guard for the Gamecocks.
“I’d really like to try and play center, but with with the offensive line, it’s a matter of getting the pieces to fit together right and getting the best five out there on the field no matter who you are, where you’re at or who you are playing,” he said.
Albertville head coach Dale Pruitt said Miller played center, guard and tackle during his Aggie career.
“The fact Logan can snap it or play guard, that doesn’t hurt,” Pruitt said. “About all of our linemen can snap the ball and that helps you.
“Logan is a very tough kid. He’s a really hard worker. He has been injury prone, especially this last year. He had surgery after his junior year and didn’t get to play in the spring game. He got released in the middle of summer.
“We had gone more to a gap scheme on offense, which didn’t fit him as well. He got hurt two different times when he was starting this year. A concussion knocked him out of the playoffs, and he injured his knee before the Lee game he was starting in. He did play some in that game.”
Miller helped the Aggies post a 6-5 record during his senior season. Among the Aggies’ highlights were reaching the postseason and posting rivalry wins over Boaz and Guntersville.
“Logan is very intelligent,” Pruitt said. “He has a really good GPA and ACT score, and all that speaks volumes for him. He didn’t complain one bit in all of his misfortunes.
“He was raised by a really good family. The good thing about it is he knows what he wants to do when he gets through playing. He has a really good head on his shoulders. We wish him the best.”
Miller said everything is good with his health.
“Things didn’t go my way this year, but I’m looking forward to getting down there [at JSU], going hard at it and seeing what the Lord has in store for me in the future,” Miller said.
“Playing at Albertville, I learned how to fight and overcome adversity. It made me a stronger man and a stronger person. You could go to anybody [on the team] and they would say that. It made me a better man in the long run.”
Miller has vision issues, but he didn’t allow them to prevent him from playing the sport he loves.
“I may have to work extra hard, but I know my own limits and I can set my own limits,” he said.
Miller expressed gratitude to his parents, Bryan and Tammy Miller, to God and to several other persons for contributing to the success he’s enjoyed as a student-athlete.
“I want to say a huge thanks to my mom and dad, my grandmother and all my family for supporting me and being there for me through the tip-tops of the hills and the gutters of the valleys,” Miller said.
“I want to thank the coaches at Albertville that supported me, and I want to thank Coach [Brian] Creel. I couldn’t have done anything I’ve done without him.
“Most importantly, I want to thank God for giving me a chance and the ability and body to play football. Also, I want to thank the teaching staff, the counselors and administrators at Albertville High School for always being patient with me and giving me a fair chance.
“A special thanks to Coach [Tyler] Reeves for handling the run-in with the Bryant-Jordan Award.”
Reeves, who is an assistant principal and athletic director for AHS, nominated Miller for the Bryant-Jordan Achievement Award. Miller was the Class 6A, Area 13 winner and advanced to the region round.
“We were proud to put Logan up for that award,” Reeves said. “He didn’t end up winning a scholarship, but he’s the first one in my time here to make it past the first round of that particular award.”
Miller will never forget his Aggie teammates, especially the offensive linemen.
“I want to thank my teammates that I’ve had the privilege and honor to work with, and the other offensive linemen that I’ve been through thick and thin with,” Miller said.
“It’s a completely different world in the trenches. There’s not a whole lot of glory. Everybody notices if you mess up, but if you do good and get a pancake block nobody notices it.”