TAMPA — Scotty Miller is used to being doubted. He even remembers coaches not wanting to put him in games when he was in elementary school.
“It’s been like that ever since youth football, ever since I started playing,” he said during his Super Bowl LV media session this week. “I remember tackle football in fifth grade. I was, in my opinion, probably the best guy out there. I’m always confident in my abilities and myself, even back then. But I was riding the bench even then; the coach didn’t want to put me in. But every time I got an opportunity, I was able to make a play. And it’s really been that way my whole life.”
He’s never been big, and still isn’t at 5-foot-11 and 174 lbs. But he’s always been fast. He was a track star at Barrington (Ill.) High School in the Chicago suburbs, and ran a 4.39-second 40-yard dash at his pro day coming out of Bowling Green.
Still, Miller was lightly recruited for football in high school, and a lightly-regarded pro prospect leaving college. NFL draft analyst Lance Zierlein projected he’d go undrafted.
But Tampa thought it could utilize the second-team All-MAC receiver, who finished 2018 ranked No. 7 in the FBS with 104.4 yards per game (71 receptions, 1,148 yards). The Bucs selected him in the sixth round (208th overall) of the 2019 draft.
As a rookie, Miller played in 10 games, caught 13 balls and went for 200 yards with one touchdown. In 16 regular-season games with quarterback Tom Brady in 2020, Miller hauled in 33 receptions, 501 yards (fourth on the team) and three touchdowns. In the playoffs, he’s caught four balls for 80 yards and a touchdown.
And that touchdown was a big one. It came with Tampa leading 14-10 as eight seconds remained in the first half of the NFC championship game. Instead of trying to get in better position for a field goal, Brady hit Miller down the sideline with a 39-yard TD strike for a 21-10 halftime lead. The Bucs held on for a 31-26 victory.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME, SCOOTER?! 😱
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) January 24, 2021
After the game, as the media wanted to ask him about his big touchdown catch, Miller made sure to first give thanks to God.
“First and foremost, all glory to God, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” Miller said to begin his press conference. “Wouldn’t be here without Him.”
Miller was raised in Illinois in a Christian household, as his parents, Scott and Kristen, instilled Biblical values in him and his three sisters (Megan, Abby and Kelsey). The Miller family actually started a couple churches, too.
“It’s just really important to me,” Miller said about his faith this week. “Without God, without Jesus coming down and dying on the cross for our sins, none of this would be possible. So I just like to give Him thanks as much as I can in the media. I’ve got a great platform, so if everyone can know that I believe I’m saved because Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins, and I believe that, then I think that’s the most important thing.”
"Without Jesus coming down and dying on the cross for our sins, none of this would be possible. So I just like to give Him thanks as much as I can in the media."
— Sports Spectrum (@Sports_Spectrum) February 3, 2021
Miller lists Romans 10:9 in his Twitter bio: “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Since the NFC championship game, Miller also made some headlines when he said on the Dan Patrick Show that he thinks he’s the fastest player in the NFL, and would love the chance to race against Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill. Miller wasn’t trying to provoke or upset anyone, he was simply displaying the confidence he’s long had in himself.
It’s what has brought him from fifth-grade benchwarmer to Super Bowl wide receiver.
“I’ve been doubted my whole life because of my size and other things as well, but I’ve fought for and earned everything I’ve gotten,” Miller said. “… It’s been an awesome journey. There’s been some lows there’s been some highs, but I just try to take every day one day at a time, and just work hard and try to maximize my potential.”
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