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Star SF linebacker signs with Fresno State

Sacred Heart Cathedral linebacker RL Miller grins while his cousin, linebacker Jerry Mixon Jr., signs his National Letter of Intent to play at Oregon in San Francisco on Dec. 21, 2022. | Ethan Kassel/The Standard

Sacred Heart Cathedral linebacker RL Miller officially signed his National Letter of Intent to Fresno State during a Wednesday afternoon ceremony at SHC’s auditorium.

Miller became the second San Francisco defensive player to sign with the Bulldogs this month, following Riordan edge rusher Isiah Chala.

While Miller had announced his decision a day earlier via Twitter, removing any suspense surrounding where he was taking his talents, it was entirely necessary for him to sign with his friends and family present.

Miller signed alongside Oregon-bound Jerry Mixon Jr., his teammate, cousin and close friend. One is seldom seen without the other, whether they’re on or off the field.

“This is what we dreamed of,” Miller said.

At Mixon’s request, athletic director Caesar Smith mentioned that the pair regularly bowl together, and Mixon claims he could be a professional bowler if he chose to.

The pair frequent the lanes at Classic Bowl in Daly City and Hometown Bowl in South San Francisco, typically accompanied by SHC teammates Ryder Brooks and Kendric Sanders, as well as 2022 graduate Derek Reagans III.

“I’m the best in the group, though,” Mixon said with a smile. “Kendric, he’s the weakest.”

Sanders later claimed that he regularly bowls around a 150 average, while his friends’ scores range widely.

The tight-knit group and lighthearted anecdotes about bowling on a day where the two signed their college commitments was about more than just generating a few laughs. It’s representative of the bond that the two have, one that they share with the entire senior class that brought SHC football into the top half of the West Catholic Athletic League (WCAL) for the first time since 2008.

Just like whenever he took the field for the Fightin’ Irish, Miller was surrounded on Wednesday by both his friends and his extended family, a boisterous and proud group wearing shirts and sweatshirts with his number 4 on it, only this time in Fresno State red instead of Sacred Heart Cathedral green.

“I wouldn’t be able to do it without them,” Miller said. “When I went down for my official visit, (Fresno State) just welcomed me and my family with open arms.”

Miller had initially committed to Arizona State, but reopened his recruitment two weeks ago after the Sun Devils brought in a new coaching staff. New head coach Kenny Dillingham chose not to retain linebackers coach Chris Claiborne, who had recruited Miller.

Unless Oregon and Fresno State match up in a postseason game, it’s unlikely Miller and Mixon square off in college. The two schools don’t have any future games scheduled over the next decade, meaning that SHC’s playoff game against St. Francis may be the final time the two take the same field for the foreseeable future.

Of course, that doesn’t rule out the possibility of the two squaring off in the NFL, a frontier that the two both have their sights set on. Considering their physical size and skills, it may just be within reach.

“We’re hoping one day to change our families’ lives,” said Mixon, whose cousin, Joe, plays running back for the Cincinnati Bengals.

For now, the two will still have at least a couple more months alongside each other on the hardwood, whether that’s at a bowling alley or on the basketball court. Both start for SHC’s basketball team, which currently sits at 4-2. The Fightin’ Irish travel to De La Salle on Thursday.