Jack Miller's First Day at Elite 11 Finals Shadowed by Minor Back Injury

By Taylor Lehman on June 29, 2019 at 4:15 pm
Jack Miller
Jack Miller

Ohio State commit Jack Miller saw his first workout at the Elite 11 Finals cut short by a mild back injury.

The Elite 11 Finals weren’t able to see the full potential of what Ohio State quarterback commit Jack Miller could contribute Saturday morning. The No. 4 quarterback in the Class of 2020 came into the competition as the third-highest ranked prospect of the 20 attendees but couldn’t finish the first of three workouts scheduled for the weekend.

Miller suffered a mild strain to his latissimus dorsi, a muscle in the middle-back area of the body, somewhere along the line during 7-on-7 season, his father, Jack, told Eleven Warriors on Saturday. But since competing in the Elite 11 Finals has been his dream since he was in seventh grade, Miller chose to make an attempt at throwing with the other top quarterbacks anyway.

What he was able to do during the beginning of the first workout looked good. His first station was throwing inside the 20-yard line around the goalline, and his throws were easily some of the best. He was sectioned off into one of four groups, Miller being with West Virginia commit Garrett Greene, Notre Dame commit Drew Pyne, USC commit Bryce Young and No. 18 dual threat and uncommitted quarterback CJ Stroud.

With Young being rated as the No. 2 overall quarterback and Miller at No. 4, his group was one of the highest anticipated groups, but the attention fell off after Miller was essentially shut down after the first of five sessions. After throwing near the goal line, his group did sideline throws, which Miller did not compete in and then moved on to mobility and rolling out of the pocket, which Miller seemed hindered because the flexibility in his back was not there.

Outside of making just a few throws at the beginning of the third session, Miller didn’t throw anymore. 

Miller headed directly to the lunch hosted by the camp, but his father talked to Malik Zaire, who played for Notre Dame and Florida and now works for the sports media company Overtime, and Zaire said Miller isn’t sure if he will be able to throw during the second workout scheduled for 6 p.m. CT.

Judging by the way he stretched out his back before taking his first throw and never looked completely comfortable even when he was throwing, it would be tough to see Miller getting off many more passes in Frisco. Even jogging off the field for the last time, he had the right side of his body – the injured side – stiffened. 

The injury isn't seen as being a long-term threat to Miller's health, and he was given the clear by his doctor to participate Saturday. What affects him the most, his father said, is dealing with the disappointment of not being able to play to his full potential at the event.

Jack Miller
Ohio State quarterback commit Jack Miller competes in the Elite 11 Finals in Frisco, Texas, on June 29, 2019.

Other observations from the first workout

LSU commit TJ Finley was a standout. He’s rated as the No. 27 quarterback overall and the No. 17 pro-style quarterback, but he has as much potential as any quarterback at the Elite 11 Finals. In the final session, quarterbacks were assigned to throw deep go routes and put 40-yard passes over the inside shoulder of the receivers – not with air under the passes though, on a line. Each bad throw eliminated every quarterback until Finley and No. 5 quarterback Haynes King were left. King won out, but Finley made a mark. That’s outside of the fact that he was easily the largest quarterback there, standing at 6-foot-6, 240 pounds. None of the other quarterbacks were taller than 6-foot-4, and most of them were shorter than Jack Miller, who is listed at 6-foot-3.

USC took a chance on taking in Bryce Young, who is only 5-foot-11, but one thing is for sure, his size does not prevent him from making every throw. He’s the top-rated dual-threat quarterback in the class and the top-rated quarterback at the event. He stood out among everyone and carried himself with confidence, even though his size is a constant question at this point. 

Former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer was working with the quarterbacks and coaches and is expected to be at the event all weekend. He was the primary judge for the final session that King won.

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