Back from the mission field: The ASU defensive lineman and Missoula pitcher

One is a 6-foot-4, 280-pound defensive lineman for Arizona State.

The other is a 6-foot, right-handed pitcher for the Missoula Osprey, the rookie league affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Perhaps the only thing Gannon Conway and Adam Miller have in common is they both speak fluent Spanish after serving two-year missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Gannon Conway, a senior for the Sun Devils, played at Mesa Community College before serving in the Dominican Republic from 2008-2010. When he returned, he walked on at Arizona State. As a junior in 2012, No. 95 played in 10 games and recorded nine tackles. Going into the 2013 season, Conway is contending for a starting spot on the defensive line.

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) dives in for a touchdown as Arizona State defensive end Gannon Conway (95) closes in during a 2012 game in Tempe, Ariz.  (AP Photo/Matt York)

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) dives in for a touchdown as Arizona State defensive end Gannon Conway (95) closes in during a 2012 game in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Conway was recently featured in the Arizona Republic, where he talked about life as a missionary.

“It’s you and the Lord, and if you’re not trying to grow, there is no point being out there,” Conway told Jeff Metcalfe, the writer. “You’re constantly having personal moments like, ‘What do I need to do to be better?’ The biggest thing I learned that’s helped me out in football is perseverance. Sometimes you have those moments on your mission when you think, ‘Man, am I even supposed to be here?’”

According to the article, Conway, 24, is third-oldest in a family of 10 children, including two born since his father remarried. His mother died of cancer while he was on his mission. Conway married his wife Ashley in May 2011.

Gannon Conway, a senior defensive lineman for Arizona State, served his mission in the Dominican Republic. (Arizona Republic)

Gannon Conway, a senior defensive lineman for Arizona State, served his mission in the Dominican Republic. (Arizona Republic)

The Sun Devils open their season by hosting Sacramento State on Sept. 5.

Adam Miller served his mission in Mexico. He played for BYU before joining the Missoula Osprey this summer. He recently threw against the Orem Owlz on Aug. 24, going three innings, giving up five hits, two runs, two walks and recording one strikeout. Miller win-loss record for the season is 1-4.

Adam Miller is a pitcher for the Missoula Osprey. He served his mission in Mexico. (The Missoulian)

Adam Miller is a pitcher for the Missoula Osprey. He served his mission in Mexico. (The Missoulian)

Miller was recently the subject of a lengthy Missoulian article written by AJ Mazzolini. In the article, Miller talks about his decision to leave baseball for two years and mission life in Mexico.

“I kind of made a commitment before I left to completely dedicate myself to what I was going to do down there, and I knew I’d receive blessings for doing so,” Miller said in the article. “Baseball is something I loved, but I knew if I completely cut myself loose from baseball, when I came back it was going to be there in greater abundance for me. And it’s definitely turned out that way.”

After a solid junior year at BYU last spring, Miller was drafted in the 20th round of the draft by the Diamondbacks. Taking two years off has been a blessing for his arm, Miller said.

“When I was in college, a lot of scouts were thrilled by the fact that I’d taken a two-year break for my arm,” he told Mazzolini. “It was like coming back with a brand new arm.”

 

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