Today’s prototypical Wide Receiver is 6’2+. Lloyd Mills is 5’9. Today’s prototypical Wide Receiver weighs 205+lbs and is as likely to run through a would-be tackler as he is to put a move on him. Lloyd Mills is 165lbs and his SDSU career could prove short if he finds himself taking too much direct contact. Given his height/weight the odds against NCAA success appear against him. Thus the question begs itself, why did Rocky Long and the Aztecs designate a valuable scholarship the way of this Chandler, Arizona wideout? The little over five minutes of video housed to the right goes a long way in providing an answer.
Aside from his stature, the first thing I noticed in reviewing Mills’ highlight package was how comfortable he appears doing work over the middle of the field.I assumed, and wrongfully so, I was going to see a constant loop of “Go” and“Fly” patterns. Not the case. The reel covers 10-12 different routes, many of which placed Mills direct in sights of LB’s and Safeties. The second element to catch my eye was the consistency in which Mills made the first, and often second and third, defender(s) miss. Granted this was an edited highlight package, but it does speak to an ability to elude as well as outrun defenders.That combo will be crucial to success at the next level. Many smaller receivers carry one of the attributes, and at the High School level can remain productive. At the college level I don’t expect Mills to break many tackles,his yards will come in concert with his ability to outmaneuver and outrun his opponents. His hands appear D1 caliber and he displays an ability to catch in traffic. Both will be critical in determining the amount of time sees on the Offensive side.
What ultimately may lead to Mills success in a SDSU uniform lies in his penchant for impacting the return game. A football player may never appear more vulnerable than when positioning under a launched punt, eyes fixed to the sky, and a pack of oncoming 200+lbs locomotives bearing down on him. Mills however, seems to thrive under this pressure. There’s a clam to the chaos as he gathers the ball,takes a nanosecond to gauge his options, begins setting up blocks and blockers, and….if you blink….he’s 20 yards down the field and you’re not going to catch him. Bottom-line, it’s exciting watching this guy hit the open field with the ball in hands. Exciting as a fan.Exciting as a teammate. Different story as an opponent. Assuming he remains relatively injury-free, there’s potential All-Conference level production to his return game.
There’s little doubt Mills’ physical stature will represent a challenge. He admits needing to bulk up to the 175-180lbs range, but is keenly aware he cannot do so at any detriment to his agility and/or overall speed. There’s opportunity to fine-tune his route running and he openly acknowledges the importance in doing so. Mills strikes me as driven to succeed, aware of his strengths and areas in need of attention, and realistic as to the steps/effort required of him to succeed on a NCAA football field. One response to a background question spoke volumes. When asked to describe his game to the unfamiliar Mills responded, he’s a “student of the game….knows his assignments and gets the job done anyway he can. Help on offense, special teams, and even wants to help in third-down situations on the defensive side”. That last bit regarding his desire to help“on the defensive side” is what should ultimately separate Mills from many peers on and off the football field. For Lloyd Mills it appears it’s not all about the receiving Yards, or Return TD’s, or personal success. He strikes me as team-oriented, and eager to lend his abilities to, and lay his body on the line for, team success. There’s talent, there will assuredly be improvement, and along the way there will be plenty of defenders left grasping at the long since gone heels of Lloyd Mills.