Cyler Miles, a 6'-4" 215 pound quarterback from the highly successful Mullen High School program in Denver, Colorado, made the trek to Illinois this past weekend. Despite possessing great speed, Miles is a more natural pocket passer.
"I like sitting in the pocket, reading and breaking down the defense and getting the ball to the open receiver. I'm really comfortable and mobile in the pocket. I rarely let a defense get the best of me back there by eluding pressure."
Part of his athleticism involves 4.47 40-yard dash speed. Most quarterbacks that fast run at every opportunity, but Miles is definitely a pass-first quarterback who only incorporates his speed when necessary.
"I look at my speed as kind of an extra. It's an outside tool. I play quarterback, and I don't consider myself a running quarterback. I only really use it if the play breaks down. As a quarterback I have a strong arm, and I like to sling it."
Miles is already being tabbed among the group of top quarterbacks in the country. He knows he'll need to keep working to remain in his position.
"I need to keep working all around, but probably consistency and maybe maybe the short game. I threw a lot of deep balls last year, but I want to get better with my quick passes. I want to get better as a leader too."
Mullen High is a consistent producer of Division One talent. Mullen's Jonny Miller, now at Syracuse, preceded Miles as the signal caller at Mullen. Miles is grateful for having not only great teammates, but great coaches as well.
"I split time sophomore year, but this year I got the starting role. It means a lot. I'm very thankful to be in a program like Mullen. All the coaches are so helpful, and they'll get you to the next level. I just thank God to be in this position. Great education and great program."
Still, he knows he and a lot of his teammates will need to step up before next year. With a large group of seniors graduating, many new players will assume the responsibility of maintaining Mullen's level of success.
"We lost a lot of guys. The expectations, I'd love for everyone to come out every day this summer and bust their butt and take it one game at a time. We have that as our goal, but I don't want that to be our only goal. Practice by practice and game by game. I want the team to work hard all year and step up since we lost so many guys."
Miles's success has already garnered him numerous offers, and he's started to investigate potential schools. For Miles, it's all about how he'll fit.
"I'm kind of looking around while I'm there and thinking, ‘Can I see myself here for 4 or 5 years?' Other than that, the offense they run, the sincerity of the coaches, the academics, and how I'd fit in."
With plenty of offers on the table, Miles certainly has a variety of choices when it comes to choosing a school. A few stand out above the rest right now, though.
"I'd say Washington, Illinois, Arkansas, Tennessee, Colorado, Baylor a bit. Those are the main ones I guess. Clemson too."
Miles got a chance to see Illinois first-hand last weekend. Though a long way from home, Miles felt like he needed to come out and see what the Illini were all about. He came away feeling positive about the program.
"It was a good visit. We fit a lot in in a day and a half. I was pleased with how the coaches showed me as much as they could. I spent some time with the coaches and the players. I liked it a lot."
Miles liked what he saw of the Illinois campus. He also praised the closeness of all of the players, and he took special notice of Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase.
"Everything's real close together. It's a big campus and a lot of people go there. But as an athlete, everything you need, it's all kind of right there. If you do need something, the buses help out. There's a lot of fun things to do. Nathan said he hangs out with his teammates 24/7."
In addition to Scheelhaase, Miles has a good bond with Illini quarterbacks coach Jeff Brohm.
"Coach Jeff Brohm the quarterback coach, we just got in contact awhile back. I gave him a call here and there. He's a real cool dude. He's real sincere, and he's a real guy. He doesn't feed me fake stuff, and I like that about him. He's laid back too."
Miles hasn't taken many visits this spring. On top of Illinois, Miles has checked out two Pac-12 programs. But he says that the Midwestern setting of Illinois might just be what he's looking for.
"I went to Colorado and Washington this spring. It's a lot more simple and flat at Illinois. I like that. It won't wow you with any pretty buildings or scenery, but it's a simple college town. I like the simple life college towns."
Miles isn't done yet, though. He plans on deciding early, and he feels as if he'll need to see a couple more schools before he can wrap things up.
"I think I'd want to take maybe one or two more visits and get it out of the way before the season starts. Maybe that means before the summer and maybe that's during. I'm not real sure yet."
The Illini certainly have competition, but they're right in the thick of the pursuit of Cyler Miles.