Beau Miller

Emerald kicker Beau Miller practices kickoffs Tuesday.

Beau Miller isn’t your normal high school football player. He doesn’t start his day off like one either. The Emerald kicker and punter usually heads to the gym at 9 a.m. before getting a quick bite to eat.

He then sits down to start his school work, but he’s not at Emerald High with all of his teammates.

Miller is a student at the South Carolina Whitmore School, a virtual public charter school. 

But why did Miller choose this route?

His answer is quite simple and direct: He wanted a better shot to play at the collegiate level. Being able to attend a virtual charter school would allow him to focus on his craft.

Founded in 2011, SC Whitmore offers academic opportunities to students who don’t fit the traditional schooling methods. 

“I travel (with) Kohl’s Professional Kicking Camp,” Miller said. “So it gives me free time. I can still do (my work) on the road.”

Kohl’s is considered one of the best kicking camps in the country. It not only offers kickers instruction, it evaluates them, too, while also serving as a hotbed for college recruiters.

“It ranks you in the country,” Miller said. “And at the end of the year, that’s where all the coaches go to get kickers and punters.”

Homeschooling is commonplace for many athletes who desire to play at a higher level. Just this past Monday, five-star high school basketball recruit and junior LaMelo Ball, younger brother of Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball, decided to go the homeschool route, allowing him to focus more on basketball.

While Miller isn't homeschooled, the virtual program, just like homeschooling for LaMelo, allows him to focus on his craft.

Miller went to Emerald his freshman year, but started Whitmore’s virtual online program once his sophomore year rolled around. He played with the Anderson Cavaliers that season, before returning to Emerald this season for his junior year as just a player for the Vikings.

While being away from his teammates and not having the feeling of engaging with the regular student body all the time can be tough, he sees it as a necessary sacrifice.

“It does feel different,” Miller said. “But I mean, it’s just something that I have to get over. Once I get to where (I want) to go, I don’t think I’ll mind much.”

Miller gets it done on the field, too. In last Friday’s matchup against Palmetto, Miller was pivotal in keeping Emerald’s 13-10 win intact by pinning Palmetto on their own 20-yard line with his longest punt of the evening.

And to go along with his success on the field is a healthy and positive relationship with his teammates despite not being present all the time.

“Everybody out here is my boy,” Miller said.

“I haven’t really noticed a difference,” Emerald coach Tim McMahon said. “He comes to practice every day, he works. He’s one of our kids.”

Contact staff writer Julian McWilliams at 864-223-1814 or on Twitter @JulianMack105