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Army’s Andre Miller playing every snap to its fullest

Andre Miller says the final defensive play of Army’s 2023 football season is still a blur.

Miller has replayed the Black Knights’ goal-line stand over and over again since that December Saturday in Foxborough, Mass. It was Miller, who was credited with the stop on the game-winning play.

“We watch it back and some of my teammates are like, ‘You got the tackle,’” Miller said after Army’s fourth spring practice Saturday. “I don’t even remember that happening. It was such a special moment that I kind of blacked out. You can see me walking around the field, yelling when they were reviewing the play and talking to my teammates. It was a blessing to be out there.”

This spring, Miller’s passion is as strong as it’s ever been. The junior defensive end wants to make the most out of every snap.

A scary moment against Syracuse last September makes Miller appreciate every day that he’s still able to play the game he loves. Miller left the Carrier Dome on a stretcher after a friendly-fire collision with a teammate during the game. He spent the night at Upstate University Hospital’s trauma center in Syracuse and returned to West Point the next day.

“Me and God spoke when I was on that stretcher,” Miller said. “We had a one-on-one conversation. Me and God speak before I touch this field every day (now).”

Miller now prays for the health of himself, his teammates and opponents before every game and practice.

“After Syracuse, every time I step on the field, I say a prayer because you never know when your last one (play) could be,” Miller said. “That was a pretty scary moment for me. Before every game and every time I step on the field, I treat it like it’s my last one because who knows, God has a bigger plan.

“Me and God speak before I touch the field every day, ‘protect me and my teammates and don’t let anything happen to us that we can’t bounce back from.’ I’ve been through the scary moments and I don’t want any of my teammates or anyone on the field to go through that moment.”

Miller is blessed to still be playing football, he says. He is practicing for more than himself this spring.

“There’s more spirit in me because at the end of the day, I don’t know when my last play could be,” Miller said. “I take every play not for granted. Some of my teammates from last year, aren’t playing this spring (due to injury), I do it all for them. I dedicate my practices to them.”

It’s Miller’s turn to lead in the defensive line room. The line’s rotation must be reloaded with the graduation losses of Austin Hill, Chris Frey, Nate Smith and Darius Richardson. Miller is taking what he learned under the wing of last year’s seniors and 2022 captain Nolan Cockrill. Miller said the goal is to “get our young players a lot of reps and teach and coach them up” to build the line’s depth.

“Stepping into the (leadership) role is a lot easier because they’ve been shaping me to be that person since I was a freshman,” Miller said.

Shaping Miller to be a difference maker on and off the field for Army.

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