Even in a big man’s game, Roseville’s Miller is towering presence

If football is indeed a big man’s game, then Kolton Miller stands tall – and then some.

The Roseville High School left tackle is 6-foot-8 and 295 pounds, with skills to match his glowing transcripts, and there’s no excess flab hanging over his game pants.

What is bloated is the box in Miller’s Placer County home that holds nearly 400 pieces of recruiting mail. The love comes from college football programs across the country , with scholarship offers from UCLA, Oregon State, Washington, Nebraska and Wisconsin, with more expected.

Miller, as quiet and polite as he imposing, will wear Roseville’s uniform one final time for the North team Saturday at Folsom High School in the 57th Optimist All-Star Football Game.

“We may send him out to midfield for the coin toss, just so people can see him,” North coach Mike Morris said. “He’s a heck of a player.”

Morris snapped a photo of his son, Matthew, next to Miller during practice this week. Matthew Morris, a standout lineman for his father at Rio Linda, isn’t small at 6-4 and 285 pounds.

But in the picture?

Said Mike Morris: “I sent it to his mother and said, ‘Look, honey. Matthew’s a midget.’ ”

Miller always has been the largest kid in his class. As a wrestler in seventh grade, Miller was known as “Tiny,” though he was quite the opposite. For years, his age matched his shoe size, so imagine the shopping spree each summer. When Miller was 10, he wore a 10. When he was 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, the shoe matched. The foot madness stopped at 16. Now 18, he’s held steady at size 16.

Miller said he has enjoyed football and his teammates, and the idea of the unknown – where he’ll continue his education and playing – also excites him.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” said Miller, who wants to study business in college. “The recruiting attention was flattering at first, then overwhelming, but I know I’m lucky. I do feel fortunate because it’s hard to get a scholarship.”

Roseville coach Larry Cunha, the offensive coordinator for the North team, said Miller is “a special player ... (with a) great future.”

Miller is the most celebrated football player at Roseville High since Tedy Bruschi in 1990. Bruschi, named by The Bee in 2000 as the the region’s greatest high school player, set NCAA sack records at Arizona as a defensive end and won three Super Bowls with the New England Patriots as a linebacker.

Cunha put Miller in touch with Bruschi to talk football – and hopes and dreams.

“It was a nice call,” Miller said. “He told me to enjoy my senior season, to enjoy high school because once you get to college, it becomes a business.”

Notes – Saturday will be Morris’ final game as a coach, but he’ll continue as a history teacher and athletic director at Rio Linda. He wanted to coach his sons, Michael several seasons ago and Matthew this season, before stepping away. Coaching Matthew in the Optimist game is a bonus, Morris said, and his son agrees. “It was always my dream to play for my dad,” Matthew Morris said. “My brother loved the experience, and so have I. I feel lucky.”

• The South team has plenty of options at quarterback – all with plenty of versatility. Dre Terrell of Pleasant Grove is a breathtaking runner and sneaky deep-ball passer who also made big plays as a cornerback and on special teams. Jason Elenberger of Jesuit, who can throw short and deep and is one of the area’s best running quarterbacks, also may take snaps at receiver. Nolan Merker set passing records at Sheldon and is a strong punter. Ernest Jenkins, a 1,000-yard rusher at quarterback for Burbank, also may get several snaps at receiver and on defense. Tommy Arnold, a three-year starter at quarterback for Elk Grove, should get plenty of snaps as a linebacker, defensive lineman and perhaps at fullback, too. Russell Williams lined up at quarterback, tailback, receiver and on defense for Laguna Creek, and he could play any of those spots Saturday.

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