MCT REGIONAL NEWS
By Ed Owens
The Dominion Post, Morgantown, W.Va.
Jan. 13--PAUL MILLARD MADE HIS FIRST -- and only -- visit to Morgantown last week. He expects to be enrolled at WVU by tonight and plans to be on campus Saturday, just in time to become a full-time student for the spring semester.
It's been a busy week, especially considering that the Mountaineers weren't on Millard's radar until shortly before the new year.
Millard, a quarterback from Flower Mound High School (Texas), wasn't initially recruited by WVU. In fact, despite leading the nation in passing this past season (4,491 yards, 47 touchdowns), Millard wasn't heavily recruited at all.
He'd been in contact with programs like Utah, Boise State, Wake Forest, North Carolina and Texas A&M, but Millard always seemed to be the second or third choice on all of their recruiting wish lists.
And the one school that was beating down Millard's door, Stephen F. Austin, was less attractive because of its FCS (I-AA) standing.
With no suitor offering a perfect fit, Millard was content to wait until national signing day on Feb. 3 and see how everything played out. That was the plan, at least until WVU hired offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen and kicked off a chain reaction that ultimately brought Millard to Morgantown well ahead of schedule.
Holgorsen quickly brought in Shannon Dawson as an assistant coach and Millard's path to WVU became clear. Dawson previously served as SFA's offensive coordinator and had been responsible for recruiting Millard for the Lumberjacks.
With those pieces in place, Millard, who will enroll as an invited walk-on, jumped at the chance to become a Mountaineer.
"I was coach Dawson's guy from the get-go," Millard said. "He believed in me for a long time and he wanted me at SFA, but I wasn't planning on going there. There were quite a few schools where I was their No. 2 or 3 guy so I was waiting to see what happened. Then 1/8WVU's coaching changes3/8 happened over Christmas break and everything changed for me."
Millard, who is listed at 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, visited WVU last week and had a chance to meet with head coach Bill Stewart, Holgorsen, Dawson and the rest of the coaching staff. He liked the campus and, despite being from Texas, liked West Virginia's wintery climate. But, most importantly, he liked the Mountaineers' sales pitch.
"I got to talk to all of the coaches, which was good," Millard said. "They're going to run the same fast-paced spread offense that I ran in high school and I always knew that I wanted to play in a system like that."
Millard completed 66 percent of his pass attempts in his senior season and threw just six interceptions. Flower Mound went 7-4 and Millard was a unanimous pick for Offensive Player of the Year in District 8-5A, in Texas.
"I've coached quarterbacks for 23 years and Paul is the best I've ever coached," said Flower Mound head coach Cody Vanderford. "He sees the field better than anyone I've ever coached, he makes quick decisions, he's good in the pocket and he's hard to sack. He anticipates things so well that people have a hard time getting to him."
Which begs the question: If Millard could put up those kinds of numbers in Texas' toughest division, how could he go so lightly recruited?
In Vanderford's opinion, the scouts just didn't see what he saw.