ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) – UCF junior defensive lineman Bruce Miller (Canton, Ga.) was named the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year on Wednesday in a vote of the league's 12 coaches. C-USA's sack and tackles for loss leader becomes the first Knight to ever be so honored. It also makes the fourth time in five years as a C-USA member that UCF has earned at least one of the league's major awards.
Miller helped lead UCF to the conference's top mark this regular season in total defense, scoring defense, rushing defense, sacks and TFLs, in the process propelling the team to an 8-4 record (6-2 C-USA) and a berth in the St. Petersburg Bowl. UCF will face BIG EAST foe Rutgers in that contest at Tropicana Field on Dec. 19. For ticket information, point your browser to UCFBowl.com.
A defensive end with the brawn to line up in a three-technique at defensive tackle in UCF's nickel package, Miller is fifth in the nation with 12 sacks in 12 games. His 16.5 TFLs in 12 games leave him in a tie for 18th-most nationally. His 26 career sacks are the most in the nation by an underclassman and 10th overall.
Miller was the integral part of perhaps UCF's most important play of the season when he forced a fumble by Marshall quarterback Brain Anderson with 2:12 left in UCF's nationally-televised contest against the Thundering herd on Nov. 1 at Bright House Networks Stadium. UCF would recover the fumble and drive for the game-winning touchdown with 0:23 to play in a crucial 21-20 win over Marshall. Miller was named C-USA's Defensive Player of the Week after that contest in which he also contributed three TFLs, 2.5 sacks, 10 total tackles, two forced hurries and a pass breakup to the winning efforts of the Knights. Miller was named the league's Defensive Player of the Week a second time after a recording a pair of sacks of the slippery Joe Webb in UCF's win at UAB on Nov. 28.
His 26 career sacks rank fifth in UCF history and ninth in C-USA's annals. His 42.5 career TFLs are sixth-best for a Knight all-time. Miller made 53 tackles in all on the year, 21 more than any other UCF defensive lineman.
Miller was named to the All-Conference USA First Team on Tuesday by the conference's coaches. He was a second team pick in 2008 and an honorable mention selection in 2007.
Four UCF football players, Jarvis Geathers (Andrews, S.C.), Cory Hogue (Naples, Fla.), Bruce Miller …