Projekt Spielberg Graz Giants QB Conor Miller finding his football dreams in Europe

As uncertainty surrounded the worldwide football community during the pandemic, Conor Miller was throwing footballs in south Florida getting ready to compete for his next chance on the field.

Miller had been training with NFL prospects and pros such as Jerry Jeudy, Travis Fulgham, and Antonio Brown. As his workout buddies left to join their NFL teams, Miller was waiting for his next call.

“I knew at some point there is going to be a call. There is going to be an opportunity. I always knew I was going to be back playing. I’m a quarterback that’s what I do.”

The call came finally from the Projekt Spielberg Graz Giants and Miller arrived to join his new team in Austria. For Miller, the decision to go join the Giants didn’t come easy as he had previously committed to playing in Germany in 2021. The uncertainty of the pandemic, the fact Austria had played in 2020, and clicking with Graz coaches was enough to convince to quarterback to join the Austrian squad.

“The safety and security of knowing there will 100% be a season in Austria. It’s going to happen, it’s gonna start March 28th and end the last weekend in July. That sense of security was so attractive to me. I’m ready to get on the field again, it turned out to be a perfect storm with everything, I prayed about it and I feel right at home in Graz.”

Miller has discovered that he will have a host of weapons in his arsenal including American receiver Darrell Adams (Azusa Pacific University NCAA D2) and Austrian receiver Johannes Schütz.

Photo: Nadine Bartz

The new quarterback steps into the starting role in Graz after a long journey that included two high schools, three colleges, and in 2019 a short stint with the Crocodiles in Cologne, Germany. During that 2019 season, Miller flew to Germany unprepared for what he would encounter playing for the GFL club. And he wasn’t given much time to adjust.

“ I got there on Wednesday or Thursday that week, the game was on Saturday against Dresden.”

In four games in Germany, Miller threw for 718 yards and 6 touchdowns before suffering an AC sprain that effectively ended his season. Miller’s short time in Germany certainly left him with a new appreciation for Europe’s American football scene:

“I felt like I had a chip on my shoulder after such a bad season in college. I just had something to prove. That was my first taste of European football. These are good football players. This is not the NFL but is really high-level football.”

Before beginning his international career, Miller was a lanky 6’5″, 210 pound quarterback at American Heritage High School in Plantation Florida, a storied football program that has produced NFL players such as Sony Michel and Isaiah McKenzie. His father was the linebacker coach at the time but left American Heritage so Miller then transferred to Cypress Bay for his junior and senior years. At his new school, Miller competed against some of the best talent in south Florida’s competitive high school football scene.

“I played against guys like Nick Bosa at St. Thomas Aquinas, I’m still sore from that game. We played against Devin bush at Flanagan. Every week playing football in Florida you’re playing against a school that has at least one, two, or three division one players. I believe it’s the most talented area in the world as far as football.”

Photo: Lauren S.

He was not happy with his college options after graduation so the Weston, Florida native travelled out west to Mount San Antonio College, a junior college program in Walnut, California. After a redshirt season in Walnut, Miller was on the move again, this time moving only 38 miles west, transferring to conference opponent El Camino College. The new program provided Miller with a chance to split time as the starter with David Sills currently a receiver for the New York Giants. With is new opportunity Miller threw for 283 yards and two touchdowns. Unsatisfied with the playing situation at El Camino, Miller planned on returning to Mount San Antonio College for this final year of Junior college Eligibility.

“Ultimately, my plan was to return to junior college and I was gonna go back to  and play my second year of eligibility there. But, after my grandmother passed I knew I had to get back home.”

Miller got back to Florida and attended a camp at Florida Atlantic University. While at the Camp Miller met Coach Trickett of Florida Atlantic, formerly a coach at EMCC and featured on the Netlfix series “Last chance U”. Trickett convinced Miller to workout for him and other FAU coaches later that week at a Elite prospect camp. The coaches must’ve loved Miller’s workout as the 6’5″ gunslinger impressed them enough for them to offer him a spot of the Owls football team. After selling Miller on FAU’s exciting offense the Florida native decided to come home and commit to FAU in order to play for head coach Lane Kiffin, Trickett, and to be close to family.

“I met with coach Kiffin, just seeing his Alabama championship rings, the USC memorabilia, the Raiders gear, all the lore, I felt like I was dreaming.”

Photo: Daily Breeze

During his two year career in Boca Raton, Miller didn’t play much. He admitted his career with the Owls didn’t go as planned. But he is thankful for the lessons he learned and memories he made as a member of an upcoming program in his home state.

“I didn’t have the fairy-tale career, I wasn’t first team all-conference. I didn’t win the Heisman. I didn’t the experience playing wise I expected. But it was a great time. I met some great people and learned from some great coaches. I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Miller chose to forgo his last year of eligibility in order to pursue a long shot pro career in the NFL or CFL. Miller worked out for the Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, and Miami Dolphins but nothing materialized. After pursuing the CFL for a short time Miller found himself in Europe as the starter for the Cologne Crocodiles. Miller on his decision to leave FAU and pursue a professional career.

“I didn’t have really any stats. It was my fifth year overall so my options were to transfer which I knew would be difficult coming off of that season with hardly in any stats. I knew they had their guy in Oklahoma transfer redshirt freshman Chris robinson. Who was coming off of a year starting. I knew he was the guy. I just thought, you know what I’m just gonna go ahead and declare for the draft. I know the NFL is a longshot, maybe pursue the CFL or overseas opportunities.”

Now in Austria, Miller is embracing his role as a starting quarterback and a leader for his new team. He looks forward to getting out and competing with his teammates on March 28th as his Graz Giants will take on the Danube Dragons.

“Our goal is to go 1-0 every week. Take care of the things we can control. Our first game is against the Dragons on the 28th.  They are a good team, very disciplined, fundamentally sound, and well coached team. Its gonna be a challenge for sure. We have been working very hard! Our focus is to go 1-0 against the Dragons!”

Alex Malchow
Alex is a former professional American football player who is now studying in London. His goal writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and players and sharing different football stories from across the globe.
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