Iowa Football

Moving large objects is Iowa recruit Ezra Miller's job

The Holstein native will go from moving refrigerators to D-linemen in about a month

Ezra Miller, a tackle for the Ridge View Raptors, blocks Woodbury Central tackle Seth Stemm during a game Aug. 31, 2018, at Russ Kraai Field in Holstein, Iowa. Woodbury Central won the contest, 26-22.
Ezra Miller, a tackle for the Ridge View Raptors, blocks Woodbury Central tackle Seth Stemm during a game Aug. 31, 2018, at Russ Kraai Field in Holstein, Iowa. Woodbury Central won the contest, 26-22.
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Ezra Miller took a few minutes after work Tuesday to talk recruiting.

The future Iowa Hawkeye offensive lineman works at an appliance store in Cherokee. He’s 6-7, 310 pounds. You know he’s not on the sales floor.

“I move stuff,” he said with a laugh. “I’m not a salesman. Not yet.”

Miller is good at moving stuff, be it refrigerators or defensive lineman. The Holstein native will make it official with the Hawkeyes Wednesday, the opening of the national signing period for high school football players.

If you follow Iowa recruiting, you’re already acquainted with Miller, who’ll be among 16 and possibly 20 preps to sign with Iowa on Wednesday. Miller committed to the Hawkeyes in April 2017, 20 months ago.

Before the 2016 Michigan game, Miller made an unofficial visit. Before every Iowa game, recruits line up in the south end zone for pictures and just to take it in.

Iowa offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz walked out of the tunnel and up to the Millers. He gave Ezra a hug. Miller can’t wait to be a Hawkeye. He’ll enroll for spring semester at the UI.

“My relationship with him is really good, my relationship with (offensive line) coach (Tim) Polasek is really good, too,” said Miller, who also was offered by Iowa State.

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The early commitment allowed Miller a ton of access to the program. He made 20-plus visits. After his 20th visit in February, Miller learned that was a record, crushing the previous unofficial visits record of seven.

The bond already is deep. That does extend to his future classmates, including fellow Iowa O-line preps Tyler Endress (Norwalk) and Noah Fenske (New Hampton).

“I’d say we’re a very well-bonded class,” said Miller, who carries a 3.9 GPA at Ridge View High School. “We talk to each other on a daily basis. We text. A lot of us talk on Snapchat. It’s just a really tight-knit group, it really is.”

Miller anchored the offensive and defensive lines for the Ridge View Raptors. It’s a Class A program, the smallest 11-player class in Iowa.

That was part of the reason why Miller attended Nike Football’s Opening Regional in San Francisco, Calif., in March.

“Competition,” Miller said when asked why he’d fly to San Francisco to compete in a camp while already committing to Iowa.

Absolutely you want to see how you stack up. The camp was a series of one-on-ones, round-robin style. Miller made it to the finals and earned offensive line MVP honors. He counted one lost rep.

Last summer, he also competed in a pair of Chicago camps, the Under Armour Camp and the Rivals Camp.

“I know on a good day, I’ll stack up against any of those guys,” Miller said. “I’m like everyone else. I have rough days, but even then, I’m not getting blown out of the water by any means. I’m still holding my own against those guys.”

Read more:Big O-linemen, tight ends, yep, it's an Iowa recruiting class

Back home on the Class A level, Miller was flagged a few times for roughness, for basically driving an opponent too far down the field. Like 20 to 30 yards, Ridge View coach Dale Tokheim told HawkeyeReport.com.

“Sometimes we would think it was because he is 6-7, 315 pounds,” Tokheim told HR. “He caught the eye of people more because of that.”

Brian Ferentz will always hug you if you block to the whistle. Miller showed the finisher’s attitude early.

What was it like when he was first called for that?

“Honestly, I was like, ‘What?’” he said. “Why is that a penalty? I was just blocking to the whistle. I didn’t understand how far away from the play I was. It still irks me to hear people talk about that.”

It did devolve into “dirty” play accusations from opponents.

“You wouldn't believe the amount of players and then coaches got very frustrated with me,” Miller said. “Some players called me dirty and cheap. I block to the whistle and finish my blocks. Not everyone does that around here.”

In about a month, Miller will get yelled at by Polasek if he doesn’t finish blocks.

“Oh yeah, they love that I finish blocks, they love it,” Miller said.

At 6-7, Miller could project to offensive tackle, positions that Tristan Wirfs and Alaric Jackson will have headlocked next season. Iowa coaches aren’t telling Miller to prepare to redshirt. When he committed, Miller asked the staff what he needed to improve on. He’s put time in on footwork. That could get him to the field as soon as next fall.

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“They want me to possibly play guard next year,” Miller said. “They’ve talked about getting me reps. They’ve talked about me not taking a redshirt, which is awesome. For the most part, they haven’t told me the body plan. They want me to play somewhere between 320 or 330.

“They’re basically going to turn me into what they want.”

What does Miller want to be at Iowa?

“Great.”

There was zero pause before that answer. Confidence is key.

l Comments: (319) 398-8256; marc.morehouse@thegazette.com

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