• By John Antonik
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  • April 12, 2011 10:13 AM
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Freshman quarterback Paul Millard has one of those two-inch thick biographies that seem to get people excited when signing day arrives in February.

Millard threw for nearly 4,500 yards and 47 touchdowns to earn honorable mention class 5A all-state honors for his high school team in Flower Mound, Texas, but most of his college offers came from smaller division I schools. Shannon Dawson, who was recruiting him while he was offensive coordinator at Stephen F. Austin, said Millard got caught up in a numbers game when several other quarterbacks in the state committed and most of the slots were taken.

Dawson continued to pursue Millard hoping he would fall through the cracks and be available on signing day. Well, Millard did slip through and Dawson got his man – at West Virginia.

“Every college in the nation goes through there so he really wasn’t a secret,” said Dawson. “There were a lot of people who knew about him. Arizona knew about him. I have a buddy at Houston and they made a home visit with him. When you look at quarterbacks and you rate them, everybody had their committed guy and basically Paul was in that next mix of guys.”

So far, Millard has been working behind incumbent Geno Smith and to the untrained eye, he looks like he’s getting along pretty well for a 17-year-old freshman running Holgorsen’s offense; he can make all of the throws and he doesn’t get too discouraged when he makes mistakes.

“He’s getting there,” said Holgorsen after last Saturday’s practice. “He’s overwhelmed. We’ve went through the offense twice, but we’re talking about a guy who should be looking forward pretty quick to going to the prom.”

Millard chose to graduate from high school early in order to get a head start on his college career. He enrolled at WVU in January and is really now just starting to get his bearings.

“Morgantown is a pretty good city so far,” he said. “It’s a college town and I like that aspect of it. I’m starting to figure out where the buildings are – I know where all of my classes are. I don’t have to look at my schedule like I did for the first two months, and the people of the town have been really good so far.”

Millard understands that Smith has two year’s worth of experience on him and right now he is simply more concerned about getting better each practice.

“I’m not worried about where I’m at on the depth chart,” he said. “I’m just worrying about being the best player I can be. Hopefully one day I’m a starter on the field, but right now I’m just working on my skills.”

“He’s young – he’s green,” added Holgorsen. “He does not have the game experience that Geno has and he doesn’t have the confidence that Geno has, but he doesn’t get frustrated. He makes mistakes and plays the next play.”

Millard believes West Virginia fans are going to love watching Holgorsen’s offense.

“We’re pretty confident in it,” he said. “It has worked out well at Houston and Oklahoma State so we’re thinking West Virginia is the next place for it to thrive. We’re very excited about putting it in and seeing what will happen next fall.”