Myles High on Rocky Top

Darren Myles isn't the highest rated defensive back in the country. He's not the most accomplished prospect in the state of Georgia or the city of Atlanta, but he's on a very short list of prospects that possess the potential to become a perfect safety.

That helps explain why so many outstanding programs around the nation are so interested in a player who ranks No. 24 among safety prospects and is rated three stars by Scout.com. On the recruiting trail, Mr. Myles is getting five-star attention.

By itself, Myles' talent is enough to put premiere college football programs on his scene, but it's the long list of intangibles that greatly enhances his intrinsic value.

To begin with his father, Darren Myles Sr. is also his head coach at Carver High School. A 15-year coaching veteran and former college player at Jackson State, he introduced his namesake to the film room right after the nursery.

The last four years Darren Myles, Jr. has been the starting safety at Carver and has learned the position inside out. Most college safeties played cornerback in high school because they had the speed to match up with the opponent's top receiver. Getting a safety out of high school who has the experience of playing the position and learning its nuances.

A great example of this is Tennessee standout Eric Berry, who was ranked the nation's No. 1 prospect at cornerback, despite having never played the position in high school. He had the athleticism and speed to be an excellent corner, but he didn't have the same feel for the position as he did safety. It didn't take him long to prove his value at safety was greater than at the corner.

LIke Berry, Myles hasn't played any position on defense other than safety although he has played several roles on offense including quarterback, receiver and running back. At 6-foot-21/2, 188 pounds he could certainly play receiver in college but he prefers to be the last line of defense.

"Because of the intelligence, I can see everything," he said when asked in an interview with Inside Tennessee about the strengths that make him a such a sought after safety prospect. "I have great vision. It really doesn't matter if it's free safety or strong safety because I like to hit. That's part of the game."

Myles has 4.49 speed but seems determined to shave that mark down even lower.

I want to improve my hips and speed," he said. "I'm working on those things right now. I run track and get a lot of speed work in. I work with my own SPQR trainer. I've got drills I've developed for track and football."

He's also working to become stronger and bigger: "My goal is to be at least 195 if not 200 this season."

Add these improvements and it's easy to project Myles at 6-3, 205, when he embarks on a college career 16 months from now. If he's capable of consistently turn a sub 4.5 time in the 40, he'll be a safety with the size to play linebacker and the speed to play cornerback — aka the perfect safety — a multitalented hybrid in the mode of a Jason Allen.

As a junior at Carver, Myles paced the Panthers to an 11-1 mark and the third round of the state playoffs. He recorded 60 tackles, broke up 23 passes the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Myles had 60 tackles, 20 pass breakups, nabbed five interceptions, got five sacks and forced three fumbles. On offense he caught 30 passes for 300 yards and five TDs, and ran 25 times for 220 yard with eight touchdowns. For good measure Myles tossed a 30-yard touchdown. Throw in his 3.3 GPA and unblemished work ethic and it's little wonder college recruiters are charging Atlanta in packs.

"I'm up to 21 scholarship offers now," he reports. "The last three came from Notre Dame, Clemson, Michigan, Alabama, Auburn, Kentucky, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Mississippi State, Central Florida, Purdue, West Virginia, Vanderbilt, North Carolina State, Wake Forest and Tennessee among others. Is there any team missing from his list of offers?

"At first I was kind of leaning on LSU but I'm not really worried about it anymore," he answered. "I like West Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Auburn, Kentucky, Alabama and Mississippi State."

He could amend that list as he makes unofficial visits this spring to these and other campuses. Tennessee got one of those visits, but Myles already knew a lot about the Volunteers and The Hill.

"My dad I had two people he coached that went to Tennessee," he explained. "Jamal Lewis, who's with the Cleveland Browns and Inky Johnson who got injured last year. I used to watch the practice and stuff so we've got a relationship with Coach Fulmer. I like the coaches. I like the way their team operates as a family, their facilities. And I like it that they are serious about academics and getting a degree."

Returning to UT earlier this month only reinforced the positive vibe Myles has about the Vols.

"I visited Tennessee earlier this month, he said. "I got to see how they operated practice, their daily routine, how they go to study hall. i got the campus tour. I got to meet the coaches and see how everybody interacted.

"I'll make some official visits later. I just want to see some places and get a feel for the campus."

You can bet the Big Orange will roll out the red carpet anytime this blue chip talent wants to drop in.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Check out the in-depth feature on Darren "Booby" Myles in the next issue of Rocky Top News.


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