By Jerrell Richardson
Bruce Miller, FB, #49
Hometown: Canton, Georgia
Height: 6 feet, 1 inch
Weight: 254 lbs
College: University Of Central Florida
Experience: 2nd year
Not Exactly What He Had In Mind
The life of a fullback can be very unrewarding, and it takes a very unique person to sign up for the position. Bruce Miller fits the mold, but his dream growing up was a little different, so the fact that he has not only made it to the NFL but is a starting fullback is a surprise to just about anyone outside of the 49ers organization. Bruce Miller was destined to hit people, it just figured to be on the other side of the ball.
Bruce Miller growing up was like most professional athletes. He played offense, but dominated on defense as a linebacker, leading his high school team to new heights. He spent his college days at the University Of Central Florida where after red-shirting his freshmen year he made a name for himself. He earned All-Conference Honors all four years, and was the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year twice. Despite his accolades and talent at his position, few teams felt that he worthy of a draft picked, so he figured to be a late selection or not even drafted.
Last Minute Switch
San Francisco was like most teams in that it felt his college success may not transfer to the next level defensively, but the 49ers still saw something in the UCF standout. On Pro Day, the last chance for him to showcase his talents to the NFL World, San Francisco approached him and asked him to work out on offense. The decision turned out to be a good one for Miller and San Francisco, who was impressed enough to draft Miller in the 7th round with the 211th overall pick.
Miller was told prior to being drafted that the team wanted to use him as a fullback and he had no objections. He did not care what position he needed to play, even if it meant learning a whole new position. Miller was thrown into action in his rookie season, and has started every game this year at this position. He has a significant role in the team’s league-leading rushing attack, and has even contributed in the passing game.
Another Puzzle Piece
What makes the upside so big for Miller is that there is no fullback in the league with his football background or versatility. He knows defense, specifically the linebacking position, which just happens to be the position he is asked to block. He has shown the ability to catch the ball, he can play defense if needed, and he contributes on special teams. Miller is yet another piece that fits the personality of the team as a tough, physical player who would take a team victory over any personal recognition. In just his second year at the position, Miller has made huge strides, gaining the praise of both running back Frank Gore and running back coach Tom Rathman, who both know a thing or two about the running game.
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Jerrell Richardson is a Bay Area native who due to a college career at San Diego State University has grown an appreciation for all things sports related in California. His heart will always remain in San Francisco though where he currently resides and covers everything from the San Francisco 49ers and Giants to the San Jose Sharks and California Bears Baseball team. His work can be found on Examiner.com.