Former Orioles outfielder Jai Miller to play college football at Alabama

January 06, 2013|By Eduardo A. Encina | The Baltimore Sun

Former Orioles outfielder Jai Miller had committed to play college football at Stanford coming out of high school, but instead he chose to follow a dream to play professional baseball.

Now, at age 27, Miller is going to give college football another chance with one of the nation’s top programs.

Miller, who spent last season in the Orioles’ minor league system with Triple-A Norfolk and Double-A Bowie, has reportedly enrolled at Alabama for the spring semester and intends to join the football team there, according to a report from BamaOnline.

Alabama is playing for its third national title in four seasons in Monday night’s BCS National Championship game against Notre Dame in South Florida.

According to BamaOnline, Miller’s brother-in-law Matthew Elliott said Miller, who will likely play safety, spoke with Alabama coach Nick Saban about joining the team several weeks ago.

The Orioles were Miller’s fourth major league organization in as many years. Executive vice president Dan Duquette acquired Miller from Oakland last offseason for cash considerations last offseason and he competed for a fourth outfielder spot last spring.

Duquette liked Miller’s ability to play all three positions. His speed and blossoming power numbers – he hit 32 homers in Triple-A in 2011 – stood out, and Miller opened spring training strong (his 10 RBIs were second on the team). But his high strikeout totals plagued him and he was optioned to Triple-A to begin the season.

Miller struggled at Norfolk, eventually being demoted to Double-A Bowie before rejoining the Tides late in the season. On the season, Miller hit .196/.299/.365 with 12 homers, 38 RBIs and 159 strikeouts in 312 at bats.

Miller, a Selma, Ala, native, overcame watching his mother and grandmother die in a car accident at the age of 13 to become a top three-sport athlete (Read more on that HERE). He was a fourth-round pick of the Marlins in 2003.

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