For UT sophomore defensive lineman Corey Miller, the No. 80 on his back is not just a number he had to take because that was one of the few jerseys left, but it is a number that has a great significance to him.
    
“Two athletes that stood out to me while growing up were Julius Peppers from a defensive standpoint and Jerry Rice,” said the 6-foot-3, 265-pound Miller. “He (Rice) is actually the reason why I wear No. 80 and have been since I was 10 years old. Starting out as a young kid, I was playing running back and receiver and I watched him and I wanted to play like him. He is a great role model and he did everything on and off the field right, and I wanted to wear his number and try to emulate him.”
   
 It seems the Welford, S.C. native has gained a great sense of competitiveness and ferocity from watching Rice and Peppers play football, as he made a strong impression in his first year in orange and white by recording 13 tackles and notching his first career sack against Ole Miss. He is currently putting together another solid season.
    
Through the team’s first three games, he has contributed eight tackles, one coming in the opponent’s backfield. However, Miller acknowledges that he came to UT to do more than just play football.
    
“On the football field, I want to contribute as much as I can for the team, and off the field my goals are to do well in the classroom,” Miller said. “I’m here for a degree as well as to win championships.”
    
Although Miller’s dream is to one day make it to the NFL and make a living by playing the sport he loves, he has kept other options open in the sports world by majoring in sports management.
   
 “In case I don’t make it in football, I hear sports agency has a nice agency field to it and it’s something I’m interested in, but I want to explore the field more,” he said.
   
 Miller is fun to watch on the football field, but he also has some very interesting and unusual things to him off the field regarding what he likes to do and the food he eats.
    
“Off the field, I’m a really laid-back guy,” he said. “I really like to eat food. I have what you could say is a hot wing fetish, and everyone on the Strip knows me as ‘the hot wing king.’
    
“Something that a lot of people don’t know about me is that I’m a big Hannah Montana fan. It just kind of started out as a joke at first, but then I started to like her music and have ever since.”
    
One of Miller’s close friends on the team is sophomore defensive end Jacques Smith.
   
 “On the football field Corey is a beast,” Smith said. “For him to play football at Byrnes High School, I think says enough.”
    
In his four years at the high school powerhouse, Miller finished with 388 tackles and 38 sacks, and lead his team to state championships in his sophomore and junior years.
    
Smith also has much praise for his friend from an off-the-field standpoint.
   
 “Off the field, he is a great guy and he is very characteristic,” Smith said. “His favorite cartoon character is Spongebob and he is always wearing funny and random shirts. He is a very interesting person and is one of my best friends.”
    
Despite growing up a Florida State fan — his father’s favorite team — Miller has enjoyed everything that UT has had to offer to him.
    
“There isn’t a thing I don’t like about being a Tennessee Vol,” Miller said. “We have an awesome fan base, amazing teammates and a great coaching staff.”