Steve Spurrier thinks high school senior Ryan Miller can be the man to "lead the University of South Carolina to the SEC championship and the national championship!" Illinois wants to make sure the sought-after recruit knows Coach Zook is having a birthday soon. Frank Beamer would love the kid to drop by Virginia Tech sometime. [Wrong Beamer. We regret the error. --Ed.]
The only problem? Ryan Miller's not a football player. Some paper-pusher at a recruiting service that supplies schools with addresses of top prospects has mixed up this Miller, a runner and marching band member, with the actual football-playing Ryan Miller from nearby Erhardt. Via the Palmetto State's paper of record:
"We were as dumbfounded as anyone," says Derek Miller, whose only disappointment in the letters is that his alma mater, Florida State, never showed interest in his son. "Maybe it's because we are naive to the recruiting process."
Still, the Millers have had fun with the recruiting process. Ryan admits to bragging to his friends, particularly those who play football, about the letters he received from Beamer and Illinois coach Ron Zook.
As a former symphony nerd, I can attest that marching band two-a-days are a brutal affair, and that trumpet players like Miller are typically regarded in that social hierarchy as the jocks of the musical set, if that makes any sense. (As opposed to those paintywaist clarinetists.) But be that as it may: Miller apparently had the good grace not to let things go as far as they might have, which is kind of a shame -- there was genuine potential here for subversive hilarity, in the fine spirit of American Pie-style teenage hijinks: Imagine a pock-faced, 165-pound dweeb with nothing going for him suddenly stringing along high-profile athletic departments, sampling the high life with the likes of Willie Williams and Jamarkus McFarland, extracting promises from the more ethically questionable recruiters, indulging the advances of duly impressed cheerleaders before realizing the equally unpopular but subtly cute flutist has really been the girl for him all along and finally ending the charade with none of the sad, disturbing ramifications of the Kevin Hart affair. That's one signing day press conference I'd pay to see.