Speedy Dante Miller becomes an all-around football player and leads the Ivy League in a rush

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NEW YORKDante Miller is the NFL fast. Like, Chris Johnson NFL fast.

Millers has been clocked 4.25 for the 40-yard sprint more times than he can count on one hand since being at Columbia. Slightly slower than Chris Johnson’s 4.24 40-yard dash in the 2008 Combine, which is the second-fastest time in NFL history.

With over a year off campus and back home in the small town of Rockingham, NC due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Miller was training hard for the next football season both in the gym cinema and weight room.

The results are a better understanding of the nuances of football and even more speed for the 5-foot-9, 185-pound double sport whose nickname and Twitter handle is @LilTurbo; the patience needed in the chaos seconds to let the games develop, find the hole, and play with extra extra gear.

The humble speedster who also runs sprints on the Lions track team admits he’s gotten faster, but doesn’t disclose by how much.

This will come before the professional scouts.

First of all, he seeks to show that he is more than just a simple and talented football player in the NFL. Midway through the season, that’s exactly what he did as he leads the Ivy League in rushing yards.

“The most important thing now, even if you have the speed or the dynamic strength, is just to understand that you have to know how to play football, so you can’t just be very fast and not play the game,” said Miller. . “The most important thing during the break was to understand the smallest details of football and to learn to take advantage of the leverage, to use my speed in the best way.”

Injured in his freshman year, Miller racked up 467 yards with two touchdowns in 113 carries in 16 career games before the season. He more than doubled his output in the middle of his senior year. His 550 yards with two touchdowns on 69 attempts gives him 8.0 yards per carry. After five games, Miller ranks among the national leaders in the FCS in yards per carrying (No. 3), rushing yards per game (No. 7) and total rushing yards (No. 22).

“There’s that old adage of speed that kills, so you’re trying to try and get them out into space,” said Patricia and Shepard Alexander, longtime head football coach. Al Bagnoli noted. “In this league, when you send Dante into space, it’s exciting. We’re all waiting for the home run.”

It has been on display for the past two weeks, as Miller supplied important pieces to Columbia. He then had a career-high 136 rushing yards and a spectacular 65-yard touchdown in a 22-20 victory at Central Connecticut State. He followed up with another career day, running for a career-best 187 yards and a 75-yard touchdown to win the John Toner Homecoming Player of the Game award in the 23-14 victory over Penn.

The climax of the reel landing was when Miller patiently lifted off the left tackle, squeezing into a hole set up by the center Tyler Worrell and left guard Does Hamilton, then went through and sprinted 75 yards on the sideline to pay dirt, making it 10-7. The race turned out to be the green light score because Columbia never dragged it out again, and that patience is a virtue.

“This is where he improved the most,” Bagnoli said. “Patience it is sometimes very difficult for the running backs to let things develop and not rush it and beat your blockers or not give the blockers enough time to establish leverage. And I think. that he’s done a fabulous job this year being patient. And then once the seam opens you know he can speed up, shift to another gear there. And it gets exciting, if you’re a fan of Columbia, it gets really exciting. It gets a little scary if you’re not, but if you’re a Columbia fan, it’s pretty fun to watch. “

In Columbia and beyond.

The elder decided to study sociology at Columbia rather than go near home with the power of FCS James Madison. With one year of eligibility remaining due to last year’s canceled season by COVID, Miller’s performances so far this season will give him the opportunity to progress to the FBS level as a graduate student or the NFL. .

“I have a lot of attributes for being a great NFL player,” Miller said. “I just need to continue to be able to play games.”

Matt Sugam has covered sports in the New York metro area for over a decade. He has spent the past eight years covering college and pro sports as a freelance writer for the Associated Press, while also contributing to The New York Times, USA Today Network, NJ.com and SNY.tv. He will cover Lions Athletics for gocolumbialions.com while pursuing a master’s degree in strategic communication at Columbia’s School of Professional Studies. Follow him on twitter @MattSugam


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