West Plains star wide receiver Heston Miller, regarded as one of the top recruits in the state, announced his commitment to play football at Missouri State.
Miller is regarded as a three-star "athlete," according to 247Sports.com. He also held offers from Illinois State, Western Illinois, Southern Illinois, Southeast Missouri State, Air Force and had a recent visit to Arkansas State.
"It's close to home and I have some friends and teammates who go there and I love that," Miller told the News-Leader minutes before he made his commitment public. "When I went on a visit, the coaches were sweet and welcoming and it felt like a family as soon as I was there. That was the thing for me and it all came together and felt like the perfect place to go."
In his tweet announcing his commitment, Miller noted that he was keeping his recruitment open despite noting that he's "100% committed to Missouri State."
I’m very excited to announce my commitment to @MOStateFootball! 100% commitment but my recruitment will remain open! Thank you to everyone who supports me! #AGTG @JoelWya43540015 @AAppleby12 @NateLatsch @Ry_Beard @WyattWheeler_NL @CoachBPetrino @Bear_up1 pic.twitter.com/qTFzgbCX55
— Heston Miller #23 (@HestonJM) August 8, 2022
The Class 4 third-team all-state performer from a season ago exploded as one of the state's top weapons with a 42-catch, 751-yard and 10-touchdown season. He also carried the ball 41 times for 464 yards and six touchdowns.
Miller, at 6-foot-1, is known for his playmaking ability and speed. He said he recently clocked in with a 4.40-second 40-yard dash at a recent camp at Arkansas.
"I'd like to say that I'm pretty fast," Miller said. "That's my big thing and that I'm strong and I'm able to run the ball on you. I can run the go route and cook you. I can do whatever you need me to do."
— Ryan Beard (@Ry_Beard) August 8, 2022
Miller becomes the second Zizzer to commit to Missouri State in as many years with more possibly on the way.
The News-Leader's 2021 high school football player of the year, Connor Lair, is currently a linebacker for the Bears and is competing for playing time this season. The Bears also have an offer out to 2023 West Plains tight end Watson Hafer who stands at 6-foot-4 and saw his recruitment take off over the summer.
Miller's commitment also comes days after 2023 Kickapoo defensive end Andrew Link announced his commitment to the Bears while the program still awaits word from Reeds Spring standout Caden Wiest and Nixa wide receiver Kael Combs.
"The biggest thing I've noticed from MSU is it's recruiting locally and they're keeping the best players around," Miller said. "I think that's my favorite thing they've done because I feel like Missouri's one of the more underrated recruiting states in the country. I like how they've given a lot of guys opportunities that they wouldn't have had elsewhere and I think that's helping them a lot."
Miller enters a senior year at West Plains where there will still be high expectations despite losing many starters and having a new head coach.
In the months ahead, Miller's focus is to build his leadership qualities while helping the Zizzers maintain their high level of success.
"A lot of people are going to doubt us with us losing a lot of guys," Miller said. "I wanna show what I can do at the next level and just play football. I just want to see what I can do as a person and lead our team and help us win as many games as we can."
Wyatt D. Wheeler is a reporter and columnist with the Springfield News-Leader. You can contact him at 417-371-6987, by email at email@example.com or Twitter at @WyattWheeler_NL. He's also the co-host of Sports Talk on Jock Radio weekdays from 4-6 p.m.
This article originally appeared on Springfield News-Leader: Heston Miller: West Plains receiver commits to Missouri State football