O’Daniel texted back first: “Coach, you do know we have a game on Sunday, right?”
Fuller responded with photos of the Lombardi Trophy and the field at South Florida’s Hard Rock Stadium decked out in Super Bowl regalia.
“Oh, that’s right,” feigned Milloy, who coached both players at Good Counsel High in Olney, Md. “The whole town’s talking about you. Best of luck.”
The Washington area, and specifically the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, has a history of producing NFL talent, but this may be the first time two D.C.-area high school teammates will suit up for the same team in the Super Bowl.
Fuller, the 2012 All-Met offensive player of the year, starts for Kansas City as its slot cornerback. O’Daniel, a 2011 first-team linebacker and 2012 first-team running back, plays on special teams and gets reps on defense.
In a phone interview, Milloy said their potential was clear even before they set foot in high school. All three of Fuller’s older brothers — Vincent, Corey and Kyle — played in the NFL. (Kyle is still in the league, with the Chicago Bears.) Kendall Fuller commuted from Baltimore to play for Milloy’s Falcons, who had played in five straight conference title games from 2004 to 2008.
On Fuller’s first day of school, Milloy recalled, “His father walked in the office and said, ‘Coach, I’m going to give you my son, and I know you’re going to do good by him.’ ”
By the end of his freshman season of 2009, Fuller helped Good Counsel’s defense hold on for the game-winning stop of the WCAC championship game.
“He wasn’t too hard to coach,” Milloy said. “All you had to do was get him to the right damn field.”
Milloy had watched O’Daniel play as a middle schooler in a local youth league and recruited him to Good Counsel mostly as a defensive player. He spent his freshman year on the junior varsity learning the Falcons’ system and lifting weights. As a sophomore, he was playing on both sides of the ball for the varsity team.
By his senior season, he had committed to Clemson as a defender (“My personality is Clemson,” he said when he announced his decision) but was arguably the region’s best ballcarrier. Against rival Gonzaga his senior year, he ran for 336 yards and four touchdowns on 24 carries. He finished the year with 1,307 yards and 18 touchdowns, and Good Counsel won its fourth straight conference championship.
Fuller and O’Daniel went on to successful college careers. Fuller started immediately at Virginia Tech, where he had six interceptions as a freshman and was the ACC’s defensive rookie of the year. He was selected in the third round of the 2016 draft by the Washington Redskins, then traded to Kansas City in 2018 in the deal that brought quarterback Alex Smith to Washington.
O’Daniel won the College Football Playoff championship with Clemson as a redshirt junior in the 2016 season; as a senior, he ranked second on the team in tackles and third in sacks and returned two interceptions for touchdowns. The Chiefs selected him with the final pick of the third round in 2018.
That summer, Milloy went to visit his two former charges. He watched Kansas City practice and made sure Fuller and O’Daniel were settling in well. He bought a Chiefs hat and T-shirt, which he will be wearing when Kansas City faces off against San Francisco on Sunday.
He predicted a Chiefs victory.
“I think unquestionably Kansas City is going to win the game,” he said. “Plus, I’ve got two guys on the team that I’ll be rooting for.”