Dimitri Miles came out of nowhere to secure a spot in the rotation last year as a walk-on freshman who had been away from football for a year. Now, he's projected to be a starting linebacker after spending last year in the secondary. This story, the lead to a notebook, appears in the print edition of the Monday Dothan Eagle. You can give it a click on dothaneagle.com HERE.
HERE is a story from last fall on Miles' journey.
BY DREW CHAMPLIN | firstname.lastname@example.org
TROY – As a young player, Dimitri Miles was one of the bright spots on a struggling Troy defense last season.
Now, with some more experience under his belt, Miles will have a bigger role this season and he’ll do so at a new position.
Miles, a 6-foot-1, 209-pound sophomore moved from defensive back to linebacker during spring practice.
“It’s a big adjustment,” Miles said. “Now I’m in the box a lot, so against the run, you have to play different gaps and against pass, you have to be in different areas. I was there all spring, so it’s going to be good.”
Miles was listed as a starter at the WILL (weak side) linebacker position entering fall camp and he’s done nothing to relinquish that spot. His frame allows him to put on more weight. Last year, Miles played in the final 10 games and had 23 tackles and an interception. His best game came on national TV at FIU, when he had seven tackles and an interception.
Miles is still a walk-on. He came to Troy last year after sitting out a season and working. Despite a solid junior and senior season at Lafayette (Ga.) High School, Miles went unrecruited.
Now, he’s out to prove people wrong and he’ll continue to do so as a linebacker.
“I feel like that’s going to be my spot,” Miles said. “That’s going to be the best place for me. Wherever they want me to play, I’ll play, because I just want to win.”
Miles and his teammates are also out to prove people wrong. Troy finished 113 th nationally last year in total defense.
“The scheme’s not new,” Miles said. “Everybody knows what to do and we’ve just got to get it done. No excuses.
“Nobody thinks we can play defense, so we’ve got to come out and show them we can play defense.”
Trojans ready for full gear : Monday’s practice will mark the fifth one and the first in full pads. That’s sometimes what separates the men from the boys.
“We really had intensity with shells on,” running back D.J. Taylor said. “Tomorrow we’ll just step it up another level. Today I felt like we got better as a group and tomorrow I feel like the intensity will be up. I’m excited.”
Some players, including Taylor, have been sidelined by heat exhaustion. Taylor said he went to the hospital after the first practice last Thursday and missed some practice time.
“It was a wakeup call,” Taylor said. “They told me I didn’t have enough salt in my body, so I’ve been working on eating a lot of potassium and getting a lot of fluids in my body.”
Anderson out: Senior running back Chris Anderson, Troy’s third-leading rusher last year with 217 yards and a touchdown, is not practicing during fall camp. Head coach Larry Blakeney said Anderson is expected to report on Aug. 15, the first day of classes, as he has been dealing with a personal matter back home.