Brock Miller found the secret early in the recruiting process. And when the door of opportunity cracked open, he lowered his shoulder and blew it off its hinges.
"There are a lot of other kickers out there with just as much talent--if not a lot more--who are just kind of expecting to get noticed," said Miller, a kicker out at Santa Fe Christian High in Solana Beach, Calif. "I think the more and more you contact a coach to say that you really want to play for this team, the more they're going to remember your name."
Miller is known in the San Diego football circles for his relentless work ethic, which enabled him to go from kicking for the first time as a high school sophomore (with no soccer experience) to becoming a Division I prospect three years later. He took that desire to the recruiting game, where he worked just as hard to make sure most schools in the western United States at least knew who he was.
With the help of his father, who embraced the process and the hard work that accompanied it, Brock received scholarship offers or preferred walk-on opportunities from several college football programs. His aggressive approach had a lot to do with it.
In many ways, Brock Miller represents the typical recruit who marketed himself brilliantly. He is a success story, a self-made college prospect as ordinary as any high school football player with bigger aspirations. The difference is, Brock found the answer.
And like the progression of his kicking game, it can all be summed up simply: He wanted it more than most.
"There's nothing," he says, "that can stop hard work."
Becoming a Kicker
Brock played football as a kid, but he entered high school at 130 pounds and the thought of playing a traditional position at that size "seemed kind of intimidating."
Meanwhile, he dabbled with kicking a football with his father, Doug, who bought a tee and a football and took Brock to a local field one morning.
"I don't think he made any kicks," Doug said with a smile, "but he had fun."
Brock started to consider kicking as the best fit for his athletic career. But having never played soccer, he was at a disadvantage out of the gate. He would have to make it up by out-working all the other kickers with years of soccer and football experience.
So he did. He studied video of other kickers. He bought instructional tapes and took notes. He dedicated himself to getting bigger, stronger and more flexible. And he worked tirelessly on his technique.
"Very few people I've met have the tenacity and the persistence that he did," Doug said. "He's come a long way."
Brock didn't play his freshman year because "I wasn't ready." He played junior varsity as a sophomore, then split kicking duties on varsity his junior year with another player.
With only a few kicks on film from varsity games, Brock turned his attention toward recruiting between his junior and senior year.