Early last summer, Jaedin Miller was a running back without a football team.
Trinity Lutheran, where Miller put up more than 1,000 yards of total offense as a freshman, dropped its football program last June. So Miller, who had moved from Brown County to Columbus during that freshman year, enrolled at Columbus East.
After seeing spot duty for the Olympians last season, Miller has taken on a bigger role this fall. He has carried 75 times for 476 yards and nine touchdowns for a team that is 7-1 and ranked No. 5 in Class 4A.
“When I found out that Trinity was going to drop football, I knew I had to go somewhere else,” Miller said. “It was a hard change going between Trinity and East. It was two completely different offenses. But Trinity trained me well.”
In the Olympians’ offense, Miller teams with fellow junior Jamon Hogan to form a two-headed monster. While Hogan has started most of the games, Miller started in East’s win against Madison and spells Hogan every second or third series.
There also are instances where Olympians coach Bob Gaddis uses both Hogan and Miller in the backfield at the same time.
“They both bring something to the table,” Gaddis said. “They’re both good athletes. They’re different in their running styles, and it’s good to have a different type of look during the football game.”
While the 5-foot-7, 155 pound Hogan is a smaller but speedier and shiftier back, the 5-7, 185-pound Miller brings a little more power.
Miller, who weighed between 190 and 195 at the beginning of the season, tried to lose weight so he could gain a little bit of speed on the advice of running backs coach Michael McBride.
“Me and Jamon are two completely different backs, and I feel like it gives the defense a hard time to stop both of us,” Miller said. “We have different styles, so if we see us something we’re better at, we can help each other with it.”
Hogan and Miller are close off the field, as well. The only football player Miller knew when he came to East was Cody Horner, who had worked out with him at Wynne-Wynne Situation Sports Training.
Miller said all of his teammates were accepting of him and helped him learn the East offense.
“The good news is, (Miller and Hogan are) supportive of each other,” Gaddis said. “It’s not a jealousy situation. Our coaching staff and our players have equal confidence in both players.”
Next year, Miller hopes to rush for at least 1,000 yards. While that number appears unlikely this season, he is focused on helping the Olympians finish off an undefeated Hoosier Hills Conference season Friday at Bedford North Lawrence and making a run in the playoffs, which begin Oct. 21 at New Palestine.
“I’m really happy with the way the season is going so far this year,” Miller said. “The whole team has worked really hard. We’ve all put in a lot of work.”
Name: Jaedin Miller
School: Columbus East
Position: Running back
Sports: Football, lacrosse
Favorite sport: Football
Favorite athlete: Carlos Hyde
Other activities: Helps coach Bartholomew County Bears bantam football team