Brookings Native Gus Miller Living a Dream at SDSU
“Gus Miller is maybe the most underrated O-lineman because no one talks about him and I do believe he’s probably one of the best centers in the country,” SDSU Head Coach Jimmy Rogers said.
Today Gus Miller is all about the yellow and blue.. but that wasn’t always the case
“My grandparents both went to USD, they met there. My dad played football at USD, he played fullback. And then my mom went to USD. So, growing up we were always USD fans even though we lived here in Brookings which was kind of weird,” SDSU Junior Center Gus Miller said.
Following in the footsteps of his older brother Eddie who also played at SDSU, Gus’ first athletic passion was wrestling. And during his freshman year in highschool, while Eddie was a senior, Gus would receive quite the humbling experience
“I was probably weighing maybe 200 pounds and he was weighing 270, 260 and he beat my butt up all the damn time. He would throw me into the walls, if I had a bloody nose he’d throw me one of those plugs and say okay let's go,” Miller said.
Gus would go on to become an individual state champion wrestler as a junior at Brookings High School, and although he wasn’t highly recruited, he had become a good football player as well and SDSU had taken notice.
“As a parent you want your kids to have good people leading them. That’s the first thing I saw, the people that were leading this program and you wanted them to have great experiences and I saw nothing but great things coming out of this facility and the program,” Scott Miller remarked.
After redshirting in his first season as a Jackrabbit in 2020, Miller would work his way into the rotation at guard the following season.
“We were at Indiana State, fall 2021, we were up by a decent amount and we had the twos in closing out the game and he had like a five or six play stretch where he had like six finish blocks in five plays. Everybody he touched he was putting them on the ground. He just popped on film. We were like man, this guy really has some juice,” SDSU Offensive Line Coach Ryan Olson said.
He would make the switch to center in 2022, and came with quite the learning process
“After we moved him we would have some good stretches, we’d have a couple days where we didn’t have any bad snaps and then we’d have a day where there were like seven, right? Everybody loves the days where there’s none; I kind of looked forward to the days where we had six or seven because we can coach off of that now,” Olson stated.
“His first time playing center was just the funniest thing. I mean I felt bad because I mean I would of been nervous too to snap the ball at Iowa. If you could have seen his face, it just looked like he had seen a thousand ghosts all in one sitting,” SDSU Offensive Guard Evan Beernsteen remembered.
Miller would play well against the Hawkeyes, but did have his fair share of struggles in the following games.
“That early part of the year last year was a huge growth process. I think there’s a lot of value in some of those tough times, you know? He kind of got drug through the mud a little bit and he learned how to block out the outside noise and what do you do when you have to get better at something? You come back on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and you work your butt off,” Olson said.
“In my meetings with coach Kris, our Mental Strength Coach, I had two or three meetings with him trying to focus on trying to stay calm and patient during the play,” Miller recalled.
The Brookings native would figure it out and would go to be named the team’s offensive lineman of the week twice during the playoffs, and this season, he’s been rock solid.
“You put something in front of him and he’s going to do it no matter what. We weren’t sure about what college was going to be like for him and it’s turned out to be an incredible experience,” Scott Miller said of his youngest son.
Gus and the Jackrabbits are on the road this weekend for a clash with Southern Illinois, before traveling to Vermillion the following Saturday for a matchup with USD.