Bruce Miller wanted to prepare — a reasonable request given he had been chosen to read a statement in front of an NFL preseason game crowd. But the University of Maryland football staff would not permit an advance glimpse at the card because its contents contained a surprise.

A college football walk-on learning he has earned a scholarship has become a social-media staple. Miller’s moment, before the Baltimore Ravens hosted the Green Bay Packers on Thursday, featured all the usual pieces: An unsuspecting player, a grinning coach nearby, video cameras ready to capture the reaction and a hoard of teammates quick to swarm their deserving friend. Yet the magic never dies because the shock feels pure and the team’s excitement radiates authenticity.

“You always see the little videos; they're doing the Oklahoma drill and then they stop them,” Miller said after practice Friday, referring to the often-viral clips similar to the one in which he became the star. “But you never really think it's going to be you until it happens. I'm still in shock about it.”

Maryland’s football team headed to Baltimore following practice Thursday night to catch the Ravens’ preseason game against the Green Bay Packers and former Terp Darnell Savage Jr. The trip served as a chance to reward players for their effort and to break up the monotony of fall camp, which started Aug. 2.

During a television timeout, Coach Michael Locksley spoke to the crowd about Maryland’s upcoming season, then handed the microphone to Bruce Miller, who began reading a statement. It started without much fanfare. He introduced himself and read from a sheet of paper: “We are excited to be here in Baltimore tonight representing the Terps. At this time, Coach Locks asked me to read a special note.”

Miller then received a second card.

“On behalf of the Maryland football family, we would like to extend a full football scholarship to Bruce Miller …” the senior linebacker read as his teammates’ cheers cut the sentence short.

All the fellow Terrapins flocked Miller, whose younger brother, B’Ahmad, also plays for Maryland. B’Ahmad Miller knew what would soon unfold right before the team walked onto the field, but that didn’t diminish the emotion. He said he began crying even before his older brother did.

“I’m still shocked about it right now as a matter of fact,” B’Ahmad Miller said Friday. “He’s been working his whole life for this. People don’t even know that. His dream is my dream. We have sat up nights to early morning crying about this, talking about this.”

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Both players joined the team before the 2017 season but Bruce Miller arrived after two years at Dean Junior College in Massachusetts, while his younger brother was a three-star defensive lineman in Maryland’s 2017 signing class.

“Who wouldn’t want to play with their brother?” Bruce Miller said. “He came here. I was leaving juco. Did good there but didn’t have the most offers, no looks or anything like that. So why not go play with my brother? I felt like I could earn it. I felt like I had the work ethic to do it.”

At Maryland, Miller has played sparingly. He didn’t step onto the field in 2017 and appeared in just two games last season. Miller’s path to this point made Thursday’s surprise all the more meaningful, he said.

After the Ravens game, Miller called his mom, who had been asleep when she answered, and his dad, who cried “tears of joy,” Miller said.

By Friday morning, Miller and his teammates returned to practice with about two weeks between them and the season opener. For Miller, the work’s the same whether he’s a walk-on or on scholarship. He’ll still hope to find ways to contribute as Maryland ventures through its first year in the Locksley era. But now Miller will have this moment, this confidence-inspiring burst of joy captured and shared across social media, to carry with him into the season and beyond.

“To actually feel like it was worth it, it paid off,” Miller said, “it’s still mind-blowing.”

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