Signee profile: Darren Myles

Many freshmen have no idea what they hope to achieve in their first season of college football. That's not a problem for one Tennessee signee, however.

Asked what his goal is for his rookie season, Atlanta-based safety Darren Myles, Jr., quickly replied, "I want to become a Freshman All-American."

It's not out of the realm of possibility. The last high school safety Tennessee signed out of Georgia (Eric Berry) was a Freshman All-American in 2007. And Myles, like Berry, is exceptionally gifted. Consider recruiting expert Chad Simmons' analysis of him:

"He is a very smart player that puts himself into good position to make plays in the secondary. He will come up and play the run, but he also has very good ball skills. His speed is solid, but he knows how to read the quarterback and that is what leads to him making plays.

"He could play strong or free safety on the next level, but may be best at strong because he can get up in the box and stuff the run if needed. Myles knows the game, he knows his position, and he should help Tennessee very early in the secondary."

Coached by his father, former Purdue running back Darren Myles, Sr., Junior was rated America's No. 8 safety prospect by Scout and No. 5 by ESPN last winter. Although many opponents steered clear of him after he intercepted six passes as a junior, he still finished a standout senior season with 90 tackles, five forced fumbles, 16 pass breakups and an interception.

As touted as he was back in February, Myles has become an even more imposing prospect since he signed with the Vols. He says he has added 10 pounds of muscle and now packs 193 pounds on his 6-1 frame. And he adds that he has "gotten much faster" after running track all spring. He ran the anchor leg on Carver High's 4x100 relay team that placed sixth in the state meet and also ran a leg on the school's 4x400 relay unit.

Myles is a versatile guy who also excelled as a ball-carrier, receiver and punter for his high school team. He says Tennessee's coaches already have one spot in mind for him, though.

"Free safety," he said. "When I come down on you I hit with passion and energy. I'm aggressive and I have ball skills while the ball is in the air."

Because all 12 SEC schools recruit the Atlanta area heavily, Myles easily could've signed with one of Tennessee's conference rivals. A lot of folks wish he had.

"Somebody came up to me and said I should've gone to Alabama, that he wanted to see me in Crimson," Myles recalled with a laugh. "Another one said I should've gone to LSU since I'm originally from New Orleans. Most people just say, 'Darren Myles. Oh, yeah, you're the guy that's going to Tennessee.'"

In addition to football and track, Myles participated in basketball during his days at Carver High.

"I used to play basketball but I didn't play this year," he said. "I sat out this year to get ready for football. Besides, we never really was too good (in basketball)."

Myles says he is academically eligible and plans to attend the first session of summer school at UT.

So, what will this heralded young prospect bring to the Vol secondary besides a glowing reputation?

"I bring intensity, tempo," he said. "I get people moving. I bring energy to my team – in practice and in the game. I also bring leadership. I lead by being vocal and by my actions."

If he can bring all of that, he really might be a Freshman All-American.

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