Fitting The Bill

When Donovan Miles transferred to Brooke Point High School prior to his junior season, he came with notices of great talent. However, his handling of assimilating a new school and program impressed his new coach just as much as his performance on the field.

"When he came to us, I had heard of him and I emailed his coach," said Brooke Point head coach Jeff Berry. "He told me, ‘Donovan Miles is going to be a blessing to your program.' Of course, when you hear things like that, you take it with a grain of salt, but it didn't take long to realize he was a special player. He does things you just can't coach.

"When he came in last year, he didn't step on anybody's toes. He knew we had some leaders in place, so that wasn't his role last year. But by his enthusiasm at practice and him being one of the first guys down to the field and one of the last guys to leave, he showed people how it should be done."

Miles, whose family moved from Springfield, Va. to Stafford prior to his junior year, wasn't outspoken in his first season at Brooke Point, and isn't likely to change that trait this year, although he undoubtedly will be one of the teams leaders.

"He is not real vocal on or off the field," said Berry of his star linebacker. "He leads by his actions. But he is great for our program. He is one of our hardest workers, and the other players on the team see that."

That Berry highlights many of Miles' outside the game and off the field characteristics is an indicator of the regard in which the coach holds his senior standout.

"First and foremost he is a really good person," said Berry when asked to describe the player around which his defense is built. "That is the thing we are most proud of. He is a leader, and he is very humble. He cares the most about our program. Right after he told me that he had committed to West Virginia, he said, ‘Now let's get ready for Brooke Point football 2007.'

"He also gets very excited for his teammates. He's well liked by them, and really by all the school. The way he acts, you'd never know he is one of the best players on the team."

As good as Miles is off the field, however, Berry believes he is just as good between the lines.

"On the field, he does things that you can't coach," said Berry of Miles, who will again man the middle linebacker spot for Brooke Point. "He gets to the ball in a hurry, and he usually brings a big hit when he gets there. He doesn't have blinding speed, and we've never timed him in the 40. We didn't see the need to. If there was a play to be made in the open field, he does it. We put our best, toughest kid in the middle of the defense and try to highlight him and let him make plays.

With his size, Miles has the potential to play either the middle or outside spots in West Virginia's 3-3 defense. While he will have some adjustments to make in learning the new scheme, Berry believes he is well equipped to handle the task.

"His football IQ is high. I am sure the challenge and speed of the game will be an adjustment for him, but I don't think it will take long He picks up things very well. He is not afraid to be wrong or to ask questions. He just wants to learn. I can tell you with his talent, I think Coach Casteel will find a place to get him on the field."


West Virginia assistant coach Bill Stewart mined some long-standing relationships during the recruitment of Miles.

"Coach Stewart has a lot of ties here in Virginia, due to his coaching stints at William & Mary and VMI," Berry said. "He knew my father, who was the coach here at Brooke Point. He is just one of those guys who is real personable. I don't think you could find anyone to say a bad word about him. Coach Stewart and West Virginia have really opened their arms to [Donovan] and made him feel at home."

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