Former Lansing (Mich.) Sexton three-star Onaje Miller was ready to go in and compete at running back for Michigan State this fall after signing with the Spartans in February, but those plans were derailed when he was unable to pass the NCAA Clearinghouse.
Miller attempted to get his clearance through the first part of the summer, but realized earlier this month it would not happen and approached Grand Rapids (Mich.) Community College head coach Tony Annese about playing for the Raiders this fall. Annese welcomed the 5-10, 180-pound Miller in, but had to find a position other than running back for him to play.
"When he came, we were so far into what we do on offense that I just didn't give him that option," Annese said. "I told him he could join our team, but he was going to have to join as a defensive player. He's pretty raw over there, but if he has an open mind, over time I think he can make an impact on that side of the ball."
Miller was working at strong safety, cornerback and even SAM linebacker in his first couple weeks with the team. He still has a goal of playing Division 1 football, but for now is just starting to find his place at GRCC.
"GRCC is going to help me reach those goals by coming out here and trying to improve," Miller said. "I am going to come out here, make plays and try to get on the starting D or starting O. Right now I am on defense, but I could be on offense any day."
With his move to GRCC so fresh, few Division 1 programs are even aware that Miller is at the school. He is not sure what opportunities will await him when he finishes his two-year stint with the Raiders, but does not expect that it will be with Michigan State again.
"That's kind of sailed," Miller said. "They tried to help me get into another school and I still talk to the coaches, see how they are doing up there."