Kansas Impact Recruit
By: Shawn Schaller (email@example.com)
Of the unique group of Kansas recruits playing their first college football in 2012, one true freshman seems to stand out to the coaches and media far more than all the rest. That freshman is 6’ 2”, 228 pound middle linebacker Schyler Miles.
Miles may not lead the Jayhawks in any major statistical category in this year; it’s likely he won’t even start. Right now, while penciled starter and fifth-year senior Notre Dame transfer Anthony McDonald recovers from a minor injury, unheralded Hutchinson, Kan., sophomore Ben Heeney practices with the first unit. However, fans should plan to see plenty of the touted true freshman in 2012.
Miles is the exact kind of player around whom Defensive Coordinator Dave Campo wants to build an entire defense. He possesses a balance of strength, speed, toughness and intelligence that will be almost impossible to keep off of the field, even in his very first season out of Berkeley Prep High School in Tampa Florida.
What makes Miles most useful is his position. In the ever-evolving, offensive-minded Big 12, outside linebackers continue to become more like safeties, defensive ends more like outside linebackers and so on. Middle linebackers, while undoubtedly becoming speedier and more versatile, maintain a set of responsibilities that has changed less over time that most of its defensive counterparts.
Setting the tone between the tackles, playing downhill and racking up tackles compose the primary duties of the standard middle linebacker. So far, in early practices, Miles looks the part, though it’s impossible to tell until he plays in a game.
Miles will likely have the greatest impact of any true freshman recruit for a number of reasons: he has a low-pressure situation to grow within as a member of a team with low defensive expectations; he has a seasoned vet from a big-time program to learn from in former Fighting Irishman Anthony McDonald; and, as a linebacker, he’ll have plenty of opportunities to play in spot duty and on special teams.
That sounds like a recipe for success for a talented, young athlete on a team looking for brighter days ahead.