Shreveport Times Elite 8: North Caddo’s Omarion Miller fulfills ‘Big D’s’ dream

Jimmy Watson
Shreveport Times

Described as “a really good kid from a very small town,” North Caddo’s Omarion Miller is a superior athlete who has little trouble hauling in a touchdown pass with safeties hanging on him or receiving a basketball on the wing and scoring from 15 feet out.

It isn’t all good news for one of the most talented athletes in Vivian's long history. Even four-star recruits struggle at times.

On a recent recruiting visit to LSU with North Caddo defensive coordinator Chase Thompson and teammate Gianni Black, Miller was craving Chick-fil-A, something he’s almost always doing. It’s what he requested from assistant coach Reagan Smith on a recent Monday afternoon trip to Shreveport for a photo shoot. He couldn’t visit the fast food establishment on the Baton Rouge trip, however, because Chick-fil-A’s are closed on Sundays.

“So, we went to a seafood place called The Juicy Seafood Restaurant,” Black said. "Omarion was struggling so bad trying to open the crab legs and lobster tail we couldn’t stop laughing.”

The Shreveport Times Elite 8, photographed on July 23, 2022. Omarion Miller

It’s rare for anyone getting an opportunity to laugh at, or with, the 6-foot-2, 196-pound Miller, who was once committed to LSU but now plans to attend Nebraska. Miller’s talent has earned him the No. 4 position on The Times Elite 8 list of top 2023 football recruits in the Shreveport-Bossier area. He is the No. 11 player in Louisiana and the No. 24 wide receiver nationally per the 247Sports Composite.

Miller and first cousin KJ Black were dependent on their grandfather, Dexter “Big D” Long, who died of Covid-19 complications in December 2020. 

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“Big D always knew ‘O’ was a football player, but ‘O’ always wanted to be play basketball and his dream was to make it to the NBA,” said former North Caddo basketball coach Rickey “Dep” Evans. “But during the summer of his sophomore year, his talent and athleticism started getting the attention of nationally recognized football programs. And now ‘O’ is fully committed to playing football fulfilling his grandfather’s dream and seeing how far his talent will take him.”

Miller and Black, who has a Mississippi State offer, both lost their fathers tragically. Omarion’s father was killed in an automobile accident two minutes from his home, while KJ’s dad was shot and killed, according to the boys’ uncle, Travis Black.

“They both played football together since flag and were always better than the other kids because their papas taught them how to be tough,” Black said. “Omarion didn’t play football until the 10th grade. Once the coaches saw how he dunked a basketball, they tried him on the football field and he hasn't looked back.”

The Shreveport Times Elite 8, photographed on July 23, 2022. Omarion Miller

The death of “Big D” led the North Caddo coaching staff and uncles to be more instrumental in keeping Miller heading in the right direction and making sure he’s delivered where he needs to be. Coaches John Kavanaugh, Louis Dennis, Thompson and Smith, along with uncles Travis Black and Dexter Long Jr., are among the men who have stepped in. They’ve taken Miller to exposure camps, out to eat and provided a willing ear when he needed one.

“This entire community has helped in some way,” Smith said. “We feel like this support has helped both ‘O’ and KJ to flourish and honor their grandfather’s memory.”

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Miller’s athleticism allowed him to earn Times All-City first-team recognition last year in both football and basketball. He caught 76 passes for 1,502 yards and 20 touchdowns as a junior and he was named The Times Male Athlete of the Year. His greatest impact, however, might be the way he affects teammates.

“Omarion is incredible on and off the field,” Gianni Black said. “On the field he makes everything look so easy. It’s like he’s untouchable when he steps on the field. He knows he has a lot of pressure on his shoulders, but he doesn’t let that phase him. He’s just an amazing person to be around.” 

Jimmy Watson covers Shreveport-Bossier area sports. Email him at jwatson@shreveporttimes.com and follow him on Twitter @JimmyWatson6.