USF Walk-On Has 'Everything to Lose,' Says Brother
Joel Miller's father, his high school coach and five eyewitnesses told FanHouse that Leavitt grabbed Miller by the throat and struck him twice in the face during halftime of USF's game against Louisville Nov. 21.
Tuesday morning, Paul Miller, Joel's older brother, called 620 WDAE-AM in Tampa to defend his brother and verified that there was an incident between his brother and Leavitt.
"I'm not going into much of the story because this whole thing is way bigger than me," Paul Miller said on the Ron and Ian Show. "I don't want to take the chance of ruining anyone's career."
During the four-minute interview, Paul Miller said since his brother is a walk-on and is not on scholarship, "if he opens his mouth at all, he has everything to lose."
According to FanHouse's report, two days after the incident Joel Miller told his father, teammates and staff members he went to Leavitt's office to discuss the incident. Instead, Miller left feeling disrespected, threatened and intimidated, according to his teammates.
"Coach I want to talk to you about what happened," Joel told Leavitt Nov. 23. "Before you say anything," said Leavitt, according to what Miller told others in USF's program and his father, "just know I am the most powerful man in this building."
Paul Miller was asked specifically about that conversation between his brother and Leavitt.
"And that's why I'm calling right now," Paul Miller told WDAE. "I talk to my brother often and from what I gather Leavitt, for lack of a better term, is an 'a-hole.' He's impossible to talk to.
"I've never been in a room with a Division I football coach so I don't know the conversation. But he's impossible to talk to. He's just not a very nice man. He's not a very good coach as far as I'm concerned."
Paul Miller said his brother just wants to play football.
"The whole team saw it -- oh whatever, we'll just leave it at that," Miller told the radio station. "It's just one of those things. I'm calling on his behalf, so everyone knows he's a good kid and he's a tough kid and he doesn't deserve any heat he gets."
When asked about the allegations by FanHouse on Monday afternoon, Leavitt responded: "I'll visit with you about recruiting," he said. "All the stuff we do in there [the locker room] ... I'll visit with you about recruiting.
"Things that happen or don't happen usually are kept within the team -- whether they happen or don't happen. If you want to talk about recruiting, I'll talk about recruiting."
The school announced Monday afternoon it will "review the matter promptly."
Contact FanHouse reporter Brett McMurphy at email@example.com