Several years ago, it wouldn't have been difficult to imagine Braxton Miller alongside Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota as one of the top quarterbacks in the 2015 NFL Draft.
But after injuries and multiple shoulder surgeries forced him into a medical redshirt year in 2014, followed by a position change to receiver, Miller is finally ready to hear his name called by an NFL team this weekend.
He reflected on the whole journey in an interview with FOX Sports from Chicago, where he's already enjoying his first pro endorsement thanks to Courtyard by Marriott.
What did you learn about yourself in your year away from the sport?
You've got to cherish the sport, you've got to cherish the life. Just cherish everything. If you have one holdup on your body it messes up everything. I overcame it. I came with a different game-plan, different mind-set that I'm going to overcome this. And that's what I did.
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How different are you today from say, the day last summer when you announced 'I'm becoming a wide receiver?'
It's just learning every technique a receiver uses. But switching over wasn't an issue at all. I've been an athlete all my life, it worked out perfectly. Playing football is no biggie. It's just learning the little techniques of the position. That's about it.
Yeah, but it is still different. Whether it's learning the routes, running them more crisply, how different do you think you are today as a wide receiver from a year ago?
It's a lot. When I first switched over to the position, I was in two-a-days just learning how to run routes perfectly, catching the ball from Cardale (Jones) and J.T. (Barrett). I look back at it from then to now and it's a totally different person.
How good do you think Cardale can be in the big-picture, in terms of developing into a quarterback throughout his career?
Oh man, the sky's the limit with him. His arm is unbelievable, it's probably one of the strongest arms I've been around. The knowledge for the game, he's got it. If he goes to a team, sits behind (another) quarterback and learns from them, he's going to do great.
Another one of your former teammates was in the news today, Eli Apple. Did you hear about this controversy which popped up with him this morning?
No (laughing), what happened?
Some anonymous scout said something. What he (or she) was trying to say was that 'Eli might be a little bit immature, because he's so young.' But what he said, and I'm paraphrasing was, 'he's young, he's immature, he can't cook.'
Yeah, and so Eli's mom went on Twitter and said "Eli's father is a five-star chef" then Zeke (Elliott) went on Twitter and said "he's cooked for me before, he's fantastic."
So the important question: Do you have any thoughts on Eli, or his cooking ability?
(Laughing) Man I am lost in the sauce. I didn't know any of that was going on.
I don't know anything about his cooking skills, I don't know anything about what he eats, I don't even know.
That's weird though.
Btw, Eli's dad is a retired five star chef. We eat well. So stop playing with our name. Next time you say our name, put some respeck on it 😳— Annie Apple (@SurvivinAmerica) April 27, 2016
Eli has made me some fire fried chicken and mac and cheese. The source seems to be pretty unreliable 😂😂— EzekielElliott#⃣1⃣5⃣ (@EzekielElliott) April 27, 2016
It's just a goofy story. You know how it is, somebody says something, it gets picked up, and then it turns into 'he can't cook.' It was one of those crazy draft stories.
Man, that is crazy. They're still picking on Eli?
Coach Meyer said Joey Bosa is one of the greatest football players he's ever been around. What is Joey's greatest strength as a player?
I'd say the way he fires off the ball, and uses his hands. There is no one like him.
Another guy you know really well is Noah Spence. We all know about his past, but he's put his best foot forward during the draft process. I'd be curious to know what you'd say if somebody asked about him.
Man, Noah is a good kid.
He never causes issues, but he got caught up in the wrong situation. He was a good kid outside of the riff-raff everyone was talking about. He had to figure out what he was going to do, and that's why he transferred. He did his thing at Eastern Kentucky.
The sky's the limit with him too. He's a hell of a football player.
So I've got to ask you about this guy Harbaugh. What's your take on Jim Harbaugh over at Michigan?
It's crazy, he took a shot at Gene Smith, our AD. That was kind of fun, that was a good comment.
I got involved in that a little bit. It's all in good fun though.
😳😂😂' what a time.. Who made this? 😂 pic.twitter.com/3buDE1nnN2— BRAXTON MILLER (@BraxtonMiller5) March 23, 2016
We've talked about your evolution as a wide receiver. What are you telling scouts about you, Braxton Miller the "guy" as you continue to make the transition?
I don't see myself as any different than any other receiver. I can do the same things they can do, maybe even a little bit better.
It's a position I was in that I couldn't really make all the plays that everybody else was making in (our) offense. So at the Senior Bowl I had to go out there and showcase my talents. [And at] Combine and Pro Day do the same.
It's only going to get better from here on out.