COLUMBIA — After seeing Trey Millard, it would probably come as no shock that he excels at football. The 6-foot-3, 250 pound, athletically built Rock Bridge senior might surprise you, though. The soft-spoken Millard says that his academics are also important to him.
“It might surprise some people that I have a 3.9 GPA,” he said. “Not many people expect that.”
Hazelwood Central (1-0) vs. Rock Bridge (1-0)
WHEN: 7 p.m.
WHERE: Rock Bridge
Not only does he maintain a high GPA while playing both football and basketball for Rock Bridge, he is involved in the National Honor Society and the Minorities Academic Achievement Council, a group promoting academic achievement among African-American students at Rock Bridge. Millard also cites his favorite and most interesting class as Advanced Placement Psychology. He attributes his academic success to his mother.
“My mom has always stressed academics and pushed me to do the best I could in school and on the field,” he said.
Something else that might surprise you about Millard is the position he plays on the football field. Despite his big build, in addition to playing defensive end, Millard also plays running back, and with a 40-yard dash time of 4.6 he makes an impact. In the Bruins’ game last week against Lee’s Summit North, Millard ran for 137 yards on 17 carries. When asked whether opponents are intimidated by his strength or underestimate his speed, he said he simply uses opponents’ expectations to his advantage.
“There’s probably a little bit of both, which is good because usually you’re expecting one or the other, and I have both,” he said. “If they expect one thing and not the other, I can use what they don’t expect me to have to my advantage.”
Millard says that once he hits the hole his line provides him, his size becomes a definite advantage.
“I get into the secondary pretty well,” he said. “I’m bigger and faster than most of the guys in the secondary and that’s probably something I have that most backs don’t.”
Bruins coach A.J. Ofodile agrees that Millard has qualities that work to his advantage on the field. Ofodile said the coaching staff worked to transition Millard from working mostly as a lead blocker last year to carrying the ball more frequently this season.
“His versatility is the key,” Ofodile said. “There’s not many tight end recruits that can line up and play tailback at the high school level and can still be strong enough to attach and block defensive ends but at the same time be agile enough to get out and run the routes. He’s a pretty unique commodity.”
Millard has verbally committed to play for Oklahoma University next year and plans to play tight end there. Though it’s a different position than he’s used to, he said his experience at tailback has prepared him since Oklahoma’s tight end position plays as a fullback sometimes.
“The tight end goes into the backfield and gets the ball sometimes and lines up in the slot, so I’m doing a lot of that right now and during my freshman and sophomore year I was lining up attached to the tight end and was doing pretty well with that,” he said.
Tonight Millard and the Bruins will face the defending state champions from Hazelwood Central. Millard is confident that his team is capable of defeating the Hawks.
“We’ll just come out and execute our game plan and just do what we know we can do,” Millard said. “I definitely think we can, if we play right and play the way we should.”
Ofodile said his goal for his team tonight is to simply play hard from start to finish.
“We’re smart and we know it’s going to be a huge athletic challenge,” Ofodile said. “What I’m confident in is that we can play 48 minutes of all out football, and if you play like that a lot of times the breaks go your way. If we all go out and play 48 minutes of all out football and give it our best effort, and you beat us 50 to nothing, then you’re a good team, but we don’t have anything to be ashamed of.”