Former West Orange-Stark star K.J. Miller talks about preseason college all-American honor

Published 12:28 am Saturday, August 20, 2022

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BELTON — Looking to finish off a wonderful run as a Mary Hardin-Baylor Crusader, former West Orange-Stark standout K.J. Miller was named to the Preseason All-America Team this week.

Miller, a senior return specialist and slot back, earned three all-America awards last season as the Cru went on to win the National Championship. He was also an all-region and all-conference selection, earning American Southwest Conference Special Teams Player of the Year.

Miller set new program records for single-game receptions (12) and single-season receptions (76) in 2021 and finished with 976 yards receiving. He totaled 25 punt returns for 626 yards and a pair of scores. Miller also added four kickoff returns for 60 yards.

“The honors are always good, but it is all about helping the team any way I can,” said Miller. “I learned that playing as a Mustang. No one person is ever bigger than the team. That’s what we live by here at Mary-Hardin Baylor. We all buy in and we love to win.”

Miller is searching for “One For The Thumb” as he will look to be a part of another Mary-Hardin Baylor Crusaders National Championship squad after getting two national title rings with the NCAA Division III school located in Belton.

Miller will be on a quest as well for a fifth ring after he picked up a pair of Class 4A Division II State Championship rings at WO-S in 2015 and 2016.

“I really think we have a great chance to get another one as long as we keep that hunger,” said Miller. “We only lost two starters on offense, so we are good there. We’ve got five back on defense, and some younger guys are ready to step in there too. The thing is, everyone wants a piece of us, so we’re going to have to bring our ‘A game’ every single week.”

The Crusaders won national titles in 2021 and 2018, going a perfect 15-0 in both seasons.

Without a doubt, Miller played key roles in both national titles.

During the 2018 championship season, Miller hauled in 51 catches for 622 yards and five TDs to make the All-ASC Second Team Offense. He brought back three punt returns for scores and averaged 23.8 yards a return.

Three Crusader teammates join Miller on the Preseason All-American list, including quarterback Kyle King, center Jeffery Sims Jr. and offensive lineman Ethan Ruckman.

King set a program record for passing yards in a game with 463 against North Central as the Cru won its second national title. King also set a program record with six touchdown passes in the NCAA quarterfinals and tied the mark for single-season throwing scores with 35. He completed 168 passes for 2,682 yards, throwing just two interceptions on 256 attempts.