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Freshman jumper leaping forward

Every team has them: the outstanding freshmen who no one has heard of until they start doing things freshmen aren’t supposed to do. This includes the USF track team, and its outstanding freshman happens to be long jumper Jaydian Miller.

“He’s really got the talent, and he’s producing,” USF coach Greg Thiel said.

Miller, a product of Killian High School in Miami, went home over the weekend to compete in the Gatorade Invitational. The event, hosted by the University of Miami, was only the fifth meet Miller has participated in, but the freshman was able to place second in the long jump with a mark of 24- 8.25.

“The better the competition was jumping on Saturday, the harder he competed,” Thiel said.

Miller is not a stranger when it comes to the leader board. In fact, he has won two events already this season. A jump of 24-5 at the UCF Invitational March 6 and a mark of 24-8.5 one week later at the FSU Relays not only gave him back-to-back first places finishes but back-to-back USF records as well.

“We’re happy that he is doing this well,” Thiel said. “Freshman can sometimes have a tough go of it.”

Thiel said when he recruited Miller, he saw an athlete who not only had talent but also a drive to go with it. He recruited Miller for his attitude as well as his athletic ability.

“When he was competing, he was real intense,” Thiel said. “He just had a lot of natural talent. There are some things you just can’t coach, and he had it.”

With plenty of meets left, Miller has time to grow and mature — a path that could take him to great places, Thiel said.

“I think he is on track to be an all-American,” Thiel said. “He’s got the talent and the desire, all the intangibles to be an all-American down the road.”