Miller Forristall is Johnny Lawrence from The Karate Kid meets Rob Gronkowski.
A 3-star tight end from Cartersville High School, Forristall is 6-foot-5 and just so happens to have over a decade of experience competing in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He’s also one of Alabama’s most recent commits.
“There’s no flying-secret-death punch or anything,” Forristall told the AJC.
Forristall, who committed to Alabama back in June, got his start in martial arts because of his father, Shawn Forristall. A former linebacker for Cal State Fullerton, he relocated to Atlanta after his playing days and needed something to satisfy his athletic desire.
The father took up martial arts after dabbling with it in college. Eventually, he opened his own studio, Atlanta Budokan, and has even expanded to Smyrna and Acworth.
Naturally, Miller got involved at a young age and even began participating in competitions.
“We got him involved at five or six, and he just excelled at Brazilian jiu-jitsu,” his father said.
And it’s certainly translated over to the football field: from balance to hand-eye coordination to hand strength.
As a result, Forristall, the No. 15 tight end in the country, is not your prototypical tight end. He can stretch the field and moves surprisingly well in space for a kid with his size. He’s a joker for Cartersville — he’ll line up in the backfield, the slot, out wide or play with his hand in the ground.
Much like martial arts, football has been a way for Forristall to test himself. And when he received his offer from Alabama, he knew immediately where he wanted to play at the college level.
“It’s the pinnacle of football,” Forristall said. “I always said I wanted to play at the highest level possible. I never dreamed of playing on a stage like that. Never in a million years did I think I’d be playing in the Iron Bowl or at Alabama. It’s surreal. I didn’t start picking up offers until after spring ball. It’s overwhelming.”
As it stands, though, Miller is unsure if he’ll continue practicing martial arts when he enrolls at Alabama in January. He wants to be 100 percent committed to football and academics.
Would he ever consider approaching coach Nick Saban about continuing his fighting career?
“I don’t think I’m going to propose that,” Forrister said jokingly.