AUBURN, Ala. — Coynis Miller has been to Auburn more than any other program.
Yet, until Tuesday, the top defensive tackle target had never consumed a Tigers’ practice. That was something Miller — already high on Auburn — wanted to see to help re-affirm any positive feelings he had about the Tigers.
Miller, joined by Auburn signee and high school teammate Tadarian Moultry, arrived at Auburn on Sunday night and will leave early Wednesday morning. On Tuesday, he took in his first Auburn practice.
“I really wanted to see them practice. This is my first one, and I liked it. The players really got after it, and the coaches were really getting after them,” Miller told SEC Country.
Miller was impressed by the work of versatile defensive lineman Derrick Brown who he has spent time with during his three-day trip. Miller, now at 6-foot-3 and 297 pounds, sees a little bit of himself in Brown when it comes to strength and athleticism.
What struck Miller most during Auburn’s practice, however, was what sticks out to most defensive linemen at their first practice: Rodney Garner’s tenacity.
“Coach G, he’s a great coach. He’ll push you hard and make sure you do everything right. I liked seeing that,” Miller said. “It’s good. It pushes players to be better. He’d push me to where I want to be, and that’d be really good for me.”
When Miller leaves Auburn on Wednesday, he’ll return to Birmingham before making a Thursday trip to Tuscaloosa to take in his first Alabama practice, as well. Unlike the Auburn visit, Miller will only be in Tuscaloosa for the day.
Those two schools — with the efforts of DL coaches Rodney Garner and Brent Key — have been at the forefront of the in-state lineman’s recruitment. They will both undoubtedly be in it until the end, which will likely be after Miller’s senior season at Jackson-Olin.
“Auburn’s just recruiting me hard. They want me to be a player here. I’m trying to find out if this is where I want to be. Coach Garner and I talk a good bit,” Miller said. “Alabama really wants me. They’re showing high interest. Coach Key, if he’s not calling, he’s texting me every day. We have a great relationship.”
That Auburn-Alabama battle is an everyday experience in the Miller household.
Miller grew up a Crimson Tide fan, though he insists that will have “absolutely nothing” to do with his ultimate decision. His father is also an Alabama fan. As for mom, she roots for the Tigers.
Miller joked that she’s the one that usually makes the big decisions around the house, but this one is on Miller’s shoulders.
“Mom usually does, but this one’s on me,” Miller said with a laugh.
Despite the noticeable in-state pull for Alabama’s No. 8 overall prospect, it’s not just an Iron Bowl recruiting contest.
Miller’s high school coach Tim Vakakes said in the fall that, unlike with Moultry, out-of-state programs feel like they have a legitimate chance with Miller. The defensive line prospect said as much Tuesday, mentioning LSU, Clemson, Ole Miss and Florida as non-Alabama schools that stick out to him.
“It’s a big chance I could go out of state. It’s about where I fit,” Miller said.
Miller recently went to Baton Rouge for a visit and was quite impressed. He plans to make it to Clemson soon and Florida — for the first time — over the summer.
As for a decision, it’ll come after his senior season, but he’ll start to narrow in on official top schools a little before that.
“I’ll probably narrow it down, if not before the season, during it,” Miller said.