ROCKINGHAM — Dante Miller is headed to the Ivy League instead.
Thursday evening, Miller confirmed that he recently decommitted from James Madison University (Va.) and has verbally agreed to play his college football at Columbia University (N.Y.).
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound senior running back received his acceptance letter from Columbia in the mail on Thursday and plans on signing his letter of intent on Wednesday, Feb. 7.
“Me and my family went on an official visit, evaluated the pros and cons and came out believing that playing in the Ivy League would be best,” Miller said. “I’ll be able to get a great education and play great football in a great city.”
Miller, who wrapped up his senior season at Richmond in November, verbally committed to James Madison early last month after mulling over offers from Gardner-Webb University, Wofford College, the U.S. Naval Academy and others.
There wasn’t an offer from Columbia on the table when Miller made his initial decision, but there was a change of heart after he got in contact with the Lions’ coaching staff and was able to make the trip to campus in December.
And since he didn’t participate in the December’s early signing period, which was the first time the NCAA ever allowed high school football players to sign prior to the traditional period, he was able to make this decision without any penalties.
“Earlier in the year, when I was talking to schools like Harvard and what not, I stumbled across Columbia. I looked and I thought it was a pretty good school but at that point I hadn’t talked to any coaches. But eventually they were able to get in contact with me,” he explained.
Now, he’s excited about moving back closer to home — his family is originally from Brooklyn — and having the opportunity to “actually make a difference” in a program that’s coming off its best season in 21 years. The Lions finished the 2017 season with an 8-2 overall record and a 5-2 record in Ivy League play, which was good enough for second place in the conference.
Columbia, like James Madison, competes in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).
“It’ll be nice to go help a program and be allowed to be a part of the change,” Miller said. “I’m looking forward to going there, fighting for a position and bringing some Ivy League championships back to New York.”
In his final season at Richmond, Miller rushed for 1,327 yards and 19 touchdowns on 158 carries and was named all-conference for the second consecutive season. Miller was also selected to compete in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas football game — which took place in Spartanburg, South Carolina last month.
He hopes to bring that kind of production and experience to Columbia when he steps onto the field this fall.
“I can tell the football there is going to be really advanced. We’re going to have a lot to prove next year,” he added.
When Miller gets to New York, he plans on majoring in computer engineering and will “likely minor in some sort of business or entrepreneurship.” He currently boasts a 4.78 GPA.
Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. by phone at 910-817-2673 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For stories, scores and updates, follow the Daily Journal’s sports section on Twitter @RCDailySports.
Richmond’s Dante Miller confirmed Thursday night that he has decommitted from James Madison University and will instead play his college football at Columbia University.