His 6-foot-3 frame figures to keep Carl Miller from piloting a jet for the U.S. Air Force.
"I might be a little too tall to fly, from what I've heard," said Miller, 210 pounds, muscular and tough.
The Stevenson senior will settle for flying around the football field. He's sky-high after verbally committing to the Air Force on Monday -- about five months after the military academy offered him the chance to head to picturesque Colorado Springs, Colo., and play football for the Falcons, who have been earning bowl bids with regularity in recent years.
"At first, when they offered me, I was kind of hesitant about it," Miller said. "But the more I learned about it and the closer I got to the coaches, the more I liked it. The coaches are great. And the whole academics and getting a job right out of college, you can't really beat that. "
It's tough to top the snowcapped-Rocky Mountain scenery of Colorado. Miller took official visits to North Dakota and Air Force. On national letter of intent signing day Wednesday, Stevenson celebrated the Division I commitments of Miller, his football teammates Jake Hurcombe (Eastern Michigan) and Matt Micucci (Northwestern, preferred walk-on), soccer player Katie Krejsa (Dayton) and golfer Nick Geissler (Bucknell). Fencer Sally Park stabbed a scholarship offer from Northwestern.
Like his classmates, Miller, a tough inside linebacker, smiled for cameras.
"Ever since I visited Air Force, I kind of knew in my heart that was somewhere I wanted to go," Miller said. "The campus is beautiful. I stepped off the plane and I was just like, 'Wow.' It's beautiful.
"It's going to be hard to get me to come back home," he added, laughing.
Miller had a grandfather and uncle who were in the Marines. Another uncle played college football at a mid-major.
"He was getting recruited by West Point," Miller said. "He said if he could have done it all over again, he would have chosen an academy. That was a big push for me."
Air Force has been to a bowl game the last five years and, like Stevenson, the football team expects to win every year. Which makes it appealing to Miller, who started three years on varsity and the last two falls was a leader on a defense that helped the Patriots advance to the Class 8A state quarterfinals.
"They've really got a winning way there," Miller said of the Air Force. "It's hard not to want to be a part of that."
Understandably, he's anxious to zoom to the Air Force -- and strap on his football gear. He does not plan on attending a prep school his first year.
"Hopefully I can do some good things in their summer camp and find myself on special teams or something like that," Miller said.
"The more I got to know (about the Air Force Academy), the more I loved it," he added. "I'm excited to get out there and get after it."
Micucci to get his kicks at NU
After considering some Ivy League schools, Vanderbilt and Iowa State, Stevenson senior kicker Matt Micucci decided to accept a preferred walk-on opportunity at Northwestern.
"They didn't sign a kicker in my (graduating) class, so I think that's the best fit for me," Micucci said.
He figures he can't go wrong with NU and the opportunity to potentially be a member of head coach Pat Fitzgerald's squad.
"I love what Coach Fitz is doing with the program," Micucci said. "He's the best coach I've ever met."
The strong-legged Micucci had nearly a perfect season kicking the football as a junior, going 50 for 50 on PAT kicks and booting 6 field goals in 7 attempts. Last fall, he had the added responsibility of serving as the Patriots' starting quarterback and threw for 1,500-plus yards and 12 touchdowns. He also punted.
He played with a strained hip flexor during the season, too.
"When you're getting hit, it's a lot different from just coming off the bench to kick," Micucci said.
With a 4.2 GPA, 30 ACT score and plans on earning a degree in engineering, Micucci should be a good fit for Coach Fitz.
Where they're headed:
Player High school Pos. College choice
Jake Hurcombe Stevenson OL Eastern Michigan
Jordan Kos Carmel FB Winona State
Mikey Kuhn Stevenson DL Wisconsin-Oshkosh
Jack Lynn Lake Zurich LB Minnesota
Luke Mathewson Libertyville DE/TE N. Dakota
Matt Micucci Stevenson K Northwestern
Carl Miller Stevenson LB Air Force
Mike Parker Libertyville DL Grand Valley State
Quinton Quarles Grant DL Robert Morris
Dillon Sandberg Libertyville OL Robert Morris
Sam Styler Libertyville LB Illinois Wesleyan
Shane Toub Carmel C Dayton
Jarret Wood Vernon Hills RB Winona State
Player High school Pos. College choice
Patrick Schultz Warren D Marquette
Brady Walsh Warren G Marquette
Sarah McHugh Carmel MF Northern Iowa
Katie Krejsa Stevenson F Dayton
Chloe Juergensen Warren MF Morehead State
Alex Young Carmel P Texas Christian
Nick Geissler Stevenson Bucknell
K.J. Matuszak Carmel Wisconsin-Parkside
Shannon Baucus Carmel Charleston
Megan Paul Carmel Arkansas
Megan Mowery Carmel St. Francis
Taylor Pippen Carmel Southern Illinois
Sally Park Stevenson Northwestern