It’s pretty easy to identify Tanner Miller when he doesn’t have his helmet on. Just look for the flowing orange mullet.
“I had longer hair since junior year,” he said of how the hairstyle started. “I was growing it out and there were a couple videos on Barstool Sports, so I was like, hey, I might as well get one. I feel like I worked hard at it. I feel like I rock it pretty good.”
Miller had to work pretty hard for something orange besides his hair, though. The Valencia offensive lineman earned an offer from Oregon State and committed on Jan. 27.
He committed at the conclusion of his first official visit to the school during breakfast with Beavers offensive line coach Jim Michalczik.
“I just told the o-line coach, ‘This is where I’m going. I feel at home here. I feel like I can help you guys win a Pac 12 championship,’” Miller said. “He was ecstatic. I had known him since summer and it felt right. It felt like home up there.”
Miller was a starter on the Vikings’ offensive line throughout a 2018 season that included the team’s 10th straight Foothill League championship title. The o-line allowed Valencia to rack up 1,982 rushing yards and 1,952 receiving yards.
“The best part would be winning our 10th straight league title,” Miller said. “For some guys, that was the second to last time they’d play football together. It was cool to see everyone come together and fight for it.”
The Vikings proceeded to the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 playoffs, where they fell to Mater Dei, the No. 1 prep football team in the country according to USA Today, in the first round.
According to 247sports.com, Miller drew interest from Southern Utah, Boise State and Utah in addition to to Oregon State. At 6-foot-2, 290 pounds, Miller considers himself undersized as a lineman, but still worked hard to garner offers regardless.
“I had to wait, stay on my grind and keep working,” he said. “I knew if I kept working, something would come and it did.
“If you just keep working and keep perfecting your craft it will work out for you. Someone will take a chance on you and that’s all you need is that one chance.”
Miller began playing tackle football in eighth grade, but had a few years of flag football under his belt prior to that. His dad also played football at University of the Pacific. With football in the family, Miller had the full support of his family in his pursuit of a Pac 12 offer.
“It was my dream to go to a Pac 12 school and play at the highest level,” he said. “They loved to see that I’m living out my dreams and they’re excited to see me play and take my career further.”
Oregon State begins its football season on Aug. 30 at home against Oklahoma State University. The team begins Pac 12 play against Stanford on Sept. 28.