In this series, I’m breaking down the top-10 returning college wide receivers from 2016 by dominator rating (DR), using our FBS WR database. If you’re unfamiliar with dominator rating, it’s a receiver’s combined market share for yardage and TDs. While it’s only one element in receiver evaluation – and requires age and experience adjustments to tell the full story – it provides an excellent snapshot of a player’s role within his offense.
Consider this an early look at potential rookies next year. Some of the names may surprise you. Coming in at No. 5 is Anthony Miller.
Miller is a 5-foot-11-inch, 190-pound wide receiver from Memphis, Tennessee. He attended Christian Brothers High School in Memphis and was a three-year letter winner in football. He is the school’s all-time leading receiver with 1,779 yards and scored 14 touchdowns. A two-time CommercialAppeal Best of Preps selection in 2011 and 2012, he played in the 2012 AutoZone Liberty Bowl All-Star Classic and scored two TDs. Miller was ranked as the No. 42 recruit in Memphis by 247 Sports but did not receive any scholarship offers.
Away from the football field, Miller was also a standout for the Purple Wave track team. He was undefeated in the 110-meter hurdles as a senior in 2013 and carried that to a state championship in the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) Division II Class AA. Miller was also the state runner-up in the long jump in 2013. He holds school records in the long jump, triple jump, 300-meter, and 110-meter hurdles. With his high school career in the rear view, Miller decided to stay at home and enroll at the University of Memphis with hopes of making the football team as a walk-on.
Making an FBS roster and dressing for games is as far as some walk-ons make it. Miller, however, set his sights much higher. A redshirt year as a freshman in 2013 meant no game action for the hometown product, but he still made an impact on his coaches. Miller won the Glenn Jones Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year Award and put himself in position for a role in 2014. Unfortunately, that never materialized as an injury in the preseason cost him his entire freshman season.
Once again healthy, Miller finally got on the field as a redshirt sophomore in 2015. His 47 receptions were third-most on the team and his 694 receiving yards (17 percent market share) were second. He found the end zone seven times during his inaugural campaign with five receiving (17 percent market share) and two rushing TDs. His first big game came in Week 4 against Cincinnati, posting five catches for 156 yards and a score. Two weeks later, Miller carved up Ole Miss for 132 yards on ten receptions in the upset win. Overall, Miller finished with a 17 percent dominator rating in his first season.
Miller wasted no time becoming the primary target in the Tigers’ passing game in 2016. He opened with nine catches for 103 yards against SE Missouri State and five catches for 93 yards against Kansas. Under the bright lights against Ole Miss, Miller made the Rebels do a double take, posting 10 catches for 132 yards again while rushing three times for 25 yards and a TD. He set the school’s single-game record for receptions with 15 against Houston while adding 169 receiving yard and two scores. Miller also set the single-game record for receiving yards with 250 against Tulsa on 12 receptions and scored twice.
Miller easily led the Tigers in every receiving category and shattered single-season records along the way. His 95 receptions for 1,434 yards (36 percent market share) and 14 TDs (41 percent market share) are all the most in program history. The previous record holder for receiving yards in a season at Memphis is former second-round pick and member of the Greatest Show on Turf, Isaac Bruce.1 A 39 percent dominator rating in his second season is incredibly strong, and his jump from 17 percent in 2015 shows tremendous progress for the former walk-on.
|Year||Class||G||Rec||Rec Yds||Rec TD||Team Passing||Team TDs||MS Yards||MS TD||Dom|
Miller presents a story that’s easy to root for. A hometown kid with no scholarship offers makes the team as a walk-on and is showing out every Saturday. He was named to the 2016 All-American Athletic Conference second team and was nominated for the Burlsworth Trophy, given to the most outstanding player in college football who started as a walk-on. At 5-foot-11-inches and 190-pounds, Miller has a similar physical build to Steven Sims Jr. and Corey Willis.
Through seven games in 2017, Miller has 55 receptions for 784 yards (34 percent market share) and nine TDs (43 percent market share). He’s on par with the 39 percent dominator rating he posted in 2016 with four games remaining in the regular season. To date, he torched UCLA on the road with nine catches for 185 yards and two TDs. Again on the road, UConn had no answer for him, securing 15 receptions for 224 yards and four TDs. This past Saturday, Miller added 178 yards on 10 receptions versus Houston. NFL Draft Scout currently ranks Miller as the No. 5 WR for the class of 2018 and projects him to be drafted in the second or third round. You can watch Miller and his fellow Tigers face-off against Tulane this Friday night.
- Elite company, Bruce is also elite company with the fourth all-time in NFL receiving yards. (back)