Ohio State Target Christen Miller Considers Larry Johnson The Lamborghini Of Defensive Line Coaches

Much like the Italian sports car, Miller believes Johnson's credentials speak for themselves.
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Ellenwood (Ga.) Cedar Grove four-star defensive tackle Christen Miller was perhaps the most important visitor at Ohio State’s one-day camp on Wednesday and it showed as he conducted an individual workout with defensive line coach Larry Johnson in front of the media and other campers.

Then, after Johnson put Miller – who is considered the 16th-best defensive lineman and No. 118 prospect overall in the class of 2022 – through a number of drills to test his athleticism, the two watched film from Miller’s junior season in Johnson’s office.

“It was amazing,” Miller told BuckeyesNow and other reporters gathered after the camp. “Coach Johnson was just trying to push to me that every down is fourth down in your eyes. You have to be able to come off the ball, keep it consistent and just keep it going. Through my eyes in the whole workout, it was fourth down, fourth down, fourth down, so no matter how tired I was, no matter how drained I was, I had to get back up and go. I loved the workout.

“When we got in film, he was saying stuff that I didn’t think he could really see. Like he told me, ‘OK, your feet are this way.’ And I’m like, ‘How did you see that?’ And during the workouts, he told me something and the next round, I fixed it. I took off. He was just telling me everything I did good, everything I did bad. Honestly, it was amazing.”

This was actually Miller’s second time on campus, as he attended last year’s season opener against Nebraska as a guest of senior defensive tackle Antwuan Jackson, who hails from the same high school as Miller and is someone he views as an older brother.

Of course, Miller was not able to meet with the coaching staff or see the facilities at that time due to the recruiting dead period. But he walked away from the visit thinking Ohio State could ultimately be the place for him.

“(It was) cold, cold and cold,” Miller said with a laugh. “Honestly, I couldn’t feel anything in my body. It was so cold. But I really enjoyed it because there was no press, nobody. It was just me watching my brother play, seeing what Ohio State did and just being able to see a lot of stuff (around campus).”

Miller has already earned an offer and is scheduled to take an official visit with the Buckeyes on June 25-27, so he probably didn’t need to make the trip on Wednesday to work out with Johnson. But as someone still looking to prove himself to the coaching staff, it was a no-brainer.

“Honesty, I didn’t really have to come, but I felt like it was needed,” Miller said. “I wanted to show Ohio State I was serious. I learned in life to not talk about it, be about it. I wanted to show them that I was about it and I made that point. I wanted to show how athletic I was, how I could move. Not a lot of people can move like me, so I just want to show coach that I can run with the wide receivers, I can run with the outside linebackers. Just show that I’m an all-around athlete.”

“There’s a lot of stuff I can work on from my stance to my hands and a lot of stuff, but (Johnson) told me there’s a lot of stuff that I did good and minor adjustments that I could make. But he said he loved how I finished all the workouts, he loved the motor that I had, the energy. He just said he loved everything about it.”

2022 Georgia defensive tackle Christen Miller - Andrew Lind/BuckeyesNow

2022 Georgia defensive tackle Christen Miller - Andrew Lind/BuckeyesNow

If he does eventually commit to Ohio State over the likes of Florida, Georgia and USC, fans are going to love everything about Miller, too. In addition to his obvious physical talents, he’s charismatic, personable and clearly loves the spotlight.

“I’m a superstar, so cameras are supposed to be around me,” Miller said when asked what it was like to work out with all eyes on him. “I love it when people are watching me. I’m an actor, so we like that type of stuff.”

Miller is also well aware of what the new name, image and likeness legislation could do for his personal brand and future as an actor, especially at a school like Ohio State.

“That’s why I love being in Columbus because we’re in the city and (there’s) a whole bunch of Fortune 500 CEOs, people who own big companies coming around here every day,” he said, referencing the Buckeyes’ Real Life Wednesdays program. “I feel like if I was to hear somebody that works at Universal Studios walk through here and say, ‘Chris, we want you to intern.’ You don’t have to tell me twice. I’m on it. ASAP.”

At the end of the day, though, Miller’s interest in the Buckeyes centers around Johnson, who has a long history of sending defensive linemen to the NFL.

“Lamborghinis don’t have commercials because we all know what they do,” Miller said. “Hondas have commercials, Kias have commercials because they need to compete with each other. Lamborghinis don’t need to compete with anybody. Coach Johnson don’t have to compete with anybody. What you see is what you get.

“It’s humbling because out of all the defensive tackles in the world, he chose to spend his time with me today. That’s a blessing, not a privilege.”


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