PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Delaware Valley University football kicked off its 2016 season in fine fashion last week.
The Aggies, who call Doylestown home, went on the road and beat perennial power Wesley College down in Dover last Friday, 21-14.
It was an impressive victory that was powered by junior Shawn Miller. A safety, Miller was phenomenal against the Wolverines, intercepting three passes and finishing with a team high 14 tackles. He also had 2 1/2 tackles for loss and a sack.
“We had a great game plan for them,” Miller tells KYW Newsradio. “At the end of the day, as a leader and as a player, you want to make plays for your teammates. There were times, you know, where I missed a couple of plays, I missed a sack, here and there a couple tackles that really kind of set me off kind of early, because I knew that I needed to make plays like that in order for our team to win. Later in the game, I was able to settle myself down, stay patient and soon I started seeing the field open up, the game really started slowing down for me. When that happens I’m able to go out there and, not only do my job, but be an athlete.”
Listen to the entire interview with DelVal’s Shawn Miller:
Miller is a fascinating story. A native of Laurel, Delaware, he arrived at DelVal as a freshman in 2012 and played in 11 games for the Aggies that season. But he left school after a year because, as he says now, he just wasn’t ready for college.
So, back home in Delaware, Miller charted a new course, one that included joining the National Guard.
“It took me from a very low place in my life to a very high one,” Miller says. “And it taught me to set a standard for myself, set goals for myself. Not just the bigger picture, but look at small goals and use those small goals as a stepping stone to something bigger.”
It also gave him direction in life.
“That’s really the reason why I joined, I really had no sense of direction,” Miller explains. “You go from an athlete and in college to now you’re home, you’re working full time and you really don’t know what you want to do with your life. You never know if you want to go back to school or not, and you don’t know if you want to play football again. So really going into the National Guard let me clear my mind and it gave me four or five months to myself, by myself, and being able to try to understand myself and really where I wanted to take my career.”
It turns out Miller did want to go back to school and play football again so his path led him back to Doylestown and the Aggies.
“After I went into the National Guard,” Miller says. “I had to ask myself, what’s going to be the best move for me. That best move was really coming back to a school where I really did, I fit in here when I was here the first time. But I just didn’t do well because I wasn’t ready yet.”
The National Guard is still very much a part of Miller’s life. Any drill weekends he misses while playing for the Aggies he says he makes up outside of the season.
You can sense speaking with Miller that he thrives on being a leader and he is a captain for the Aggies. Even after that impressive first win, he says there is still a lot of room to grow for his team.
“We played a great Wesley team and people think we played great,” Miller says. “We played a decent game, but we could be way better. The ceiling for this team, it really doesn’t exist because their isn’t one. We should never be satisfied and never get complacent. We should never want to peak. We should want to gradually get better, game after game, and stay hungry.”
DelVal will play its home opener on Friday night against Misericordia.