Former defensive tackle earns all-american defensive honors

Zoe Deno
Staff Writer

JonMiller3FacebookCourtesy of John Miller

Former Hudson Valley football player, Jon Miller, received a full scholarship to Southeastern Louisiana after receiving an honorable mention in the All-American Award.

“The nice thing about Jon is that he’s not just a football player. He’s a well-rounded young man, and he’s done far more than just do well tackling people,” said head football coach Michael Muehling.

“He does everything the right way, and he’s worked really hard to get this honor. He’s a kid who’s had to work for everything he’s gotten, and it’s nice to see some validation and some reward for all that work,” Muehling continued.

The All-American Award is the only award that Hudson Valley Football players are eligible for since the school does not belong to a conference.

“In an All-Conference, you are competing against the 10 other schools you play against, while All-American is when you compete against every school that plays Junior College Football,” said Muehling.

According to Muehling, there were 60 or 70 colleges across the nation that play Junior College Football with eligible scholarship programs.

“Jon was voted better than pretty much all of them,” said Muehling.

Miller wasn’t sure how he felt when he heard that he won the Honorable Mention.

“I’m just glad my performance was able to help the team,” said Miller.

Miller now views this as an accomplishment that will carry him closer to his goal of playing football professionally. If Miller could play for any NFL team, there would be no doubt in his mind he would pick the New York Giants.

Miller’s childhood icon, Lawrence Taylor, played for the Giants. “My father, who is a diehard Giants fan, always told me about Lawrence Taylor. I just grew up hearing that name all the time. My father would show me old videos of him playing football on TV,” said Miller.

“He was probably the greatest defensive football player of all time,” said Miller.

Like Taylor, Miller plays the defensive line.

Miller started playing when he was four years old. His parents threw him out on the field with a bunch of five and six year olds. Despite the fact he was too young for the team, no one tried to stop him from playing.

Since he started playing football, Miller has never considered quitting. “It’s all I want to do. I could play football until I die.”

The biggest obstacle in Miller’s career came his senior year at Anthony Pell Memorial High School.

“I didn’t receive any scholarships, no Division I scholarships, no Division II scholarships, nothing. I didn’t know what I could do, I couldn’t afford any colleges. It was tough for me and my family,” said Miller.

In order to to pay for college, Miller joined the army reserves. Miller mentions the hard work it took to get through training. He is still required to attend monthly weekend training and one two-week drill.

Miller’s father sent tapes of his son playing to other colleges in the area. The only college that responded was Hudson Valley Community College. Muehling asked him to come up to try out so Miller did, and he made the team.

“I’m never going to forget what my coaches or the team have done for me over these past two years,” said Miller.

There were many schools that tried to recruit him after he won the All-American Honorable Mention, but none stood a chance against Southeastern Louisiana.

Miller said, “I want to get a masters degree in Physical Education and Health. The coaches and the players I met on my visits here were really kind, and it was definitely a different experience than visiting other schools.”

Football players at his new school are regularly drafted for tryouts for the NFL. Miller is closer than ever to his goal of playing football professionally. Recalling the advice of his high school football coach, “It’s not how much you want it, but how much you are willing to do to get it.”

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