13 Aug Preseason Scouting Notes: Ventrell Miller, LB, Florida
Redshirt Junior | 6’0” 222 lbs | Lakeland, FL
A fast, brawny inside linebacker who is patient in pursuit, but needs to speed up his ability to process his keys and react
Ventrell Miller came to Florida as a 3-star recruit and was suspended from the team for the first year of his career in 2017 for his involvement in a fraud scandal. Miller had the charges dropped after serving probation and returned to the team the following season, becoming a core special teamer and backup LB. As a redshirt sophomore, he became a starter, primarily lining up as the Mike or Buck in Florida’s hybrid 3-4 defense, though he occasionally walked out to the apex or blitzed off the edge.
– Very good upper body strength mitigates much of his size disadvantage against OL. Stout enough to set a hard edge and has shown the power to throw larger OL and defeat blocks with sheer force.
– Good overall play speed. Can get sideline-to-sideline quickly in backside pursuit and shows very good closing speed to break downhill on receivers from his zone spot
– Rarely loses grip of ball carriers due to his arm strength, which helps him bring players down both in tight quarters and in space
– Patient in pursuit scraping the front side edge. Keeps quick, choppy feet moving and shows good lateral agility to stay square to the near hip
– Sly and productive as a blitzer due to his quick twitch acceleration, deceptive timing, and ability to get low and win the leverage battle
– Easy trash navigator. Shows good agility to shimmy around blockers in open space and uses his inside arm to sift past them
– Has the range and closing speed to stick with tight ends and running backs in man coverage. Makes sure to stay physical while in coverage
Areas to improve:
– Needs to speed up his ability to process his initial keys. A beat slow to react or make decisions at the onset of the play at times
– Has a tendency to get sucked into the LOS by taking too many steps forward while diagnosing plays. Gets him out of position and forces him into a lot of lateral and chase tackle situations
– Has trouble breaking free from blockers in close quarters when he isn’t able to win with sheer force due to limited length and below average hand usage/hand accuracy
– Has not been forced into a defensive signal caller role to this point. His elevated role this season will be telling of his communication and leadership skills
– Motor leaves a bit to be desired. Doesn’t always run full speed in back side pursuit and will pick and choose when to give maximum effort
– (2019) Left Tennessee game with a right shoulder injury in the first quarter. Sat out against Towson the following week
Miller profiles as an inside linebacker who can play in a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme. Though he is undersized for the position, Miller’s combination of stoutness and speed should make him an intriguing option early on Day 3 of the draft for teams looking for a quality depth linebacker who can thrive on special teams. Miller doesn’t have prototypical instincts for the position, finding himself out of place or a bit slow to react at times, but his potential three down ability gives him the ceiling of a versatile, productive starter.
What to watch in 2020:
With 3-year starter David Reese II graduated, Miller should become the leader of the Gators’ second level. He’ll be be asked to be the straw that stirs the drink for an extremely talented Florida defense as a communicator and leader. And in said elevated role, he’ll likely stay on the field in Dime packages, when he’d typically be on the sideline last season. The most important development Miller needs to show is his football intelligence and instincts. If the game starts to slow down for him and his ability to process and react improves, he could rise in the draft process.
- XTB’s Director of Scouting
- Bay Area-born sports lover who has worked in the football industry as a journalist, coach, film analyst, and scout.
- Currently a graduate student attending the UMass Sport Management program, and received his BA in journalism at Hofstra University.