On the night of Feb. 4, 2018, Shareef Miller did what pretty much every Eagles fan did around the world.
He shed tears.
A Philadelphia native and die-hard Eagles fan, Miller watched his favorite team capture the Super Bowl with his grandfather, Emmitt.
“Watching that Super Bowl was a great moment for us and the city,” Miller said. “Me and my grandpop cried because we used to always stress about the Eagles. It was a great feeling.”
Miller is now a part of the team. On Saturday, the Eagles selected the former Penn State defensive end with the 138th overall pick in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Miller was in Philadelphia with family and friends to celebrate the occasion. He even contemplated rushing down to the NovaCare Complex.
“It was surreal. I couldn’t even put it in words,” Miller said of getting the call from the Eagles. “It still feels like a dream. I’m just so happy and just super excited and super blessed and super thankful that the Eagles gave me this opportunity to me, and just to be home too. It couldn’t be a better story.”
Miller started his prep career at Frankford High School in Northeast Philadelphia before transferring to George Washington for his senior year. A two-time first‐team All‐Southeastern Pennsylvania selection, Miller chose to stay close to home at Penn State.
After his redshirt freshman season, Miller played in all 14 games in 2016 and showed plenty of promise registering 22 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, and two sacks.
Miller became a starter in 2017 and earned third-team All-Big Ten honors from the media after more than doubling his sack (5) and tackles for loss (11) totals. He even began to show leadership as he donned the No. 19 jersey for two games to honor teammate Torrence Brown, who suffered a season-ending injury.
“The thing about Shareef is, I was so proud of him, from the time we recruited him out of high school, from the time that he showed up here on campus is he’s grown, he’s matured, he’s developed in every aspect of his life – academically, athletically, socially,” said Penn State head coach James Franklin. “He’s really become a big-time football player, was a tremendous leader for us this year on our D-line, on our defense, and really with our team.”
The 6-4, 254-pound Miller was a third-team All-Big Ten selection in 2018 after posting 41 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, and 7.5 sacks in 13 games. He was also Penn State’s Co-Most Valuable Defensive Player this past season. In 40 games over his three-year career, the 22-year-old had 100 tackles, 31.5 tackles for loss, 14.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.
“Where I thought he made a big step this year is he was a really complete player,” Franklin said. “A lot of time early on, all defensive ends want to do is sack the quarterback and he’s at a point now not only does he enjoy obviously getting pressure on the quarterback but playing the run consistently and holding his gap and all of those types of things.
“We get excited about that guy that’s got the one really sexy trait that you fall in love with. He ran an unbelievable 40 or did one thing extremely well. And that’s not really the case with Shareef. He does a lot of things at a high level.”
Miller visited with the Eagles just before the NFL Draft. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz pulled him aside and told him he would “be a great fit” and “a guy they need.” It meant a lot to Miller coming from Schwartz, knowing the type of defensive scheme the Eagles utilize.
“I know everything about the Eagles. I love how they attack fronts,” Miller said. “The defensive line attacks and I just like everything about the Eagles’ defense. Being a fan and watching how they get after guys and get after the quarterback. Also, the type of swag they play with the Eagles and the brotherhood over there.”
Two seasons ago, Miller had no influence over what the Eagles did on the field. Now, he’ll be responsible for helping bring another parade down Broad Street.
“My mom told me it’s time to work now,” he said. “I’m just ready to work, that’s it. Just put my head down and soak up all the knowledge I can from the older guys in the D-line room and learn from them how to be a professional.”