LINCOLN — Early in his senior season at Canton (Ohio) McKinley High School, defensive end Antoine Miles had mostly settled on Cincinnati as his choice for a college football career.
But Miles held off on committing to the Bearcats to see what other offers he might collect.
That “just in case” moment arrived Friday, when Nebraska graduate assistant Vince Marrow pitched the Huskers to the 6-foot-3, 250-pounder. Miles committed to NU on the spot over offers from Cincy, Pittsburgh and West Virginia and interest from Indiana and Purdue. Why?
“There are a lot of Ohio-Nebraska connections on that roster,” said Miles, who said he knew little about the Huskers' defense and would take his official visit Dec. 14. “That's always a plus. A lot of players are from Ohio, and some of the coaching staff is, too.”
Like coach Bo Pelini and offensive coordinator Tim Beck, Marrow hails from Youngstown Cardinal Mooney, a traditional power in the state similar to McKinley, which plays its home games at the NFL Hall of Fame and finished 8-3 this year.
A midrange three-star prospect, according to Rivals and Scout — and still unrated by 247Sports and ESPN — Miles finished with 73 tackles, 17 tackles for loss and 11Ĺ sacks this year.
First-year McKinley coach Todd Filtz said the Huskers' 16th overall commit projects to end or tackle at Nebraska, where he predicted coaches would “put some weight on him.”
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“He's an explosive defensive player,” Filtz said. “His first step to the quarterback has to be among the fastest I've seen.”
Filtz said Miles is versatile and “football savvy.” Smart enough to see what an offense is trying to do and disrupt it.
Miles said he's open to play anywhere the Huskers put him.
“I'm pretty sure I'll fit in somewhere,” Miles said.
He's the third defensive end commit for the class, joining junior college star Randy Gregory and high school commit A.J. Natter, and possibly the first of many defensive line commits during the next two months. Nebraska has offered several junior college targets and visited other high school prospects this week.
The Huskers are looking to rebuild a line that loses seniors Eric Martin, Cameron Meredith and Baker Steinkuhler, who missed the Big Ten championship because of a knee injury. NU's lack of dependable depth meant that Meredith, a 260-pound end, had to replace Steinkuhler in the trenches.
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