As you’re reading this, Darren Myles is preparing to break some recruiters’ hearts.
It’s a necessary evil. Managing 32 scholarship offers is nearly impossible for the 6-foot-2, 180-pounder. So Myles, one of the top defensive back prospects in the southeast, is whittling his list down to 10 to 15 schools.
Tennessee, LSU, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Alabama, West Virginia, Michigan, Rutgers and Purdue will almost certainly be on the preliminary list, according to his father, Darren Myles Sr.
Those are the schools, Myles Sr. said, that have been recruiting his son the hardest. It’s no surprise that there’s that much interest for Myles, especially after a junior season in which he registered 60 tackles, five for a loss, five forced fumbles, five sacks, 16 pass break ups and six interceptions.
UT leads the others in terms of ties to the Myles family. Two former Vols, cornerback Inky Johnson and tailback Jamal Lewis, played for Myles Sr., who is the now the coach at Carver High School in Atlanta.
“It’s definitely a big thought in my mind and big thought in his mind also,” Myles Sr. said of the insight into UT’s program. “He knows how the players get along together.”
The family has been especially impressed with how UT dealt with Johnson’s career-ending shoulder injury suffered in 2006. Johnson is still a significant part of UT’s team, often leading the team in prayer and pep talks. Johnson also receives the same academic and financial support of any active athlete.
“He’s had an opportunity to see how a program treats a player who no longer has any athletic eligibility, like Inky,” Myles Sr. said. “He’s still being taken care of from an academic standpoint.”
The younger Myles admits he gets more information about UT than any other school he’s interested in, seeing that he’s in close contact with Johnson. Myles also visited UT recently.
“I like the University of Tennessee,” said Myles who was selected to play in the Under Armour All-Star Game in Orlando, Fla., in January. “I have a lot of background. I know people that went there. I have a good relationship with the coaches.”
Myles jumped onto the recruiting scene when he was named the most valuable player among defensive backs at a Nike camp held in Tuscaloosa, Ala., this spring. Before, some wondered if Myles was a safety or a cornerback. When he showed the ability to cover some of the region’s top prospects at corner, his recruiting stature soared.
“I would say he’s probably as well rounded as they come in terms of football,” Myles Sr. said. “He’s cerebral. He’s aware. He knows what’s taking place scheme-wise.”
Myles was so knowledgeable that his father decided it was time to get his son on offense early in his high school career.
In addition to playing Myles at receiver, Carver also implemented the “D-Ro” package. The name is a play off of the “Tebow” package with Florida quarterback Tim Tebow attacking defenses on the ground in 2006 in relief of starter Chris Leak and Myles’ full name, Darren Roland.
Usually a more conventional passing offense, Carver goes spread option when Myles is playing quarterback.
Myles completed 28 passes last season for 190 yards and two touchdowns. As a receiver, he caught 25 passes for 200 yards and five touchdowns.
“We ask a lot of him,” Myles Sr. said.
The double duty doesn’t raise doubt as to what position Myles will play in college. Defense seems Myles’ certain, future, and permanent home.
“He loves contact,” his father said.
Myles is a bit behind other like prospects. Most have already whittled down their list of prospective suitors. He admits he grew frustrated with the recruiting process early. Now, he’s changed his attitude.
“Enjoy the moment,” Myles said. “A lot of people wish they were in my shoes.”
Camping For Prospects: UT will hold its football camps this week. The junior Vols camp for ages 7-12 and special teams camp for kickers, snappers and punters will be held Monday and Tuesday. The all position camp will be held Wednesday through Friday.
The camp is a good opportunity for prospects to inspect UT’s campus and for coaches to evaluate prospects first hand.
UT will get another opportunity to evaluate skill position players July 18-19 for its seven-on-seven passing camp.