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Q&A: RB Miles Sanders on his Penn State pledge and more

By Audrey Snyder/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 3 years ago

Woodland Hills running back Miles Sanders will be one of Penn State’s four verbal commitments participating in The Opening out at Nike World Headquarters next week in Beaverton, Ore.


Woodland Hills running back Miles Sanders verbally committed to Penn State in July of 2014 and says he's still on board with James Franklin's Nittany Lions. (Audrey Snyder/Post-Gazette)

With the 2016 recruiting class up to 15 members, the 4-star running back who committed to Penn State in July of 2014, said nearly a year later he’s still sold on Penn State. Why?

Here are some of the highlights from my recent conversation with Sanders:

Q: What’s the rest of this summer look like for you?

A: Miles Sanders: “I had the 5-star challenge earlier this month, I think it was this month, and then I’ve got The Opening soon so that’ll be good and then after that I just got practice with my team and stuff and getting ready for my senior season.”

Q: It seems like you’re the kind of player where the more events you’re at, the more people see you at these showcases, the more your stock continues to rise. Do you feel like you’re still opening eyes even at this stage in the process?

A: Sanders: “Yeah, they put me in the top-50 on 247 and stuff so yeah, rankings, I don’t really pay attention to the rankings, but it’d be good to get a fifth star.”

Q: Do you think about getting that fifth and final star?

A: Sanders: “Nah, not really. If it happens, it happens.”

Q: Penn State has the 2015 class ready to go and since you’ve been verbally committed for so long are you close with anybody in that class?

A: Sanders: “Everybody. [Running back] Saquon [Barkley], [receiver] Irv [Charles], I’m close with them. In about a year they’ll be my teammates.”

Q: Your 2016 class continues gaining momentum with all these defensive linemen they’ve added lately. Have you kept up on that?

A: Sanders: “Oh yeah. It’s exciting just knowing our class is getting better and bigger.”

Q: I know James Franklin wants you guys to be active recruiters while putting your class together. What’s your recruiting pitch like?

A: Sanders: “He tells us the people he really wants and then we just tell them why we chose Penn State, why it’s the best place to be right now. … Most of them ask me why I picked Penn State and I’ll just be real with them. The coaches show love. They make you feel like it’s a family and that’s how coach Franklin is. He’s a family guy. He treats us like we’re his sons and he’s just real with us.”

Q: Penn State is also after a lot of that WPIAL talent. What are your thoughts on the talent out there since you know most of those guys?

A: Sanders: “It’s crazy. There are crazy athletes coming out of the WPIAL so we just gotta try and get them to Penn State.”

Q: Since July of 2014 you’ve been committed to Penn State. That’s a long time. I’m sure other teams don’t stop calling you so have you thought about going elsewhere and will you look elsewhere?

A: Sanders: “The calling, that’s just the recruiting process. Of course I’ve thought about other schools, but what I’ve come to realize is every time I come to Penn State the reason why I’m here is because it feels like home -- and my mom loves it here too.”

Q: If mom is on board that’s probably important, right?

A: Sanders: “Yeah, she might love it more than me actually [laughs]. I’m sticking with Penn State though, 100 percent Penn State.”

Q: Is it difficult for you when you see on social media that fans question your commitment? I know you reiterated your commitment on Twitter one night in May just to kind of calm people down it seems.

A: Sanders: “Yeah, they were switching my words up. I was thinking of taking other officials and that’s just official [visits]. I’m still 100 percent Penn State. It’s just taking official visits to take official visits, just to take them. They were saying I was going to decommit and all that and no, I’m definitely 100 percent Penn State. That’s where I want to be.”

Q: You’re on the front lines of this Penn State-Pitt rivalry and with the 2016 game on the radar what’s it like for you being a Penn State commit in Pittsburgh?

A: Sanders: “Those Pitt fans are crazy [laughs] and when I’m home I see them all around and they come up and talk to me.”

Q: Are they trying to recruit you to Pitt?

A: Sanders: “[Laughs] nah, I’m not hearing it.”

Q: Penn State has a lot of running backs on this team that are young. A year is a long time to wait and see where you might stack up. Do you pay attention to that and how many young running backs this team has?

A: Sanders: “Yeah, I do. Everywhere you go you’re going to have to compete so it doesn’t really matter to me. Coach told me when I come up here he’s going to throw me right in the rotation and then it’s up to me.”

Q: What goals do you have in mind for your final high school season?

A: Sanders: “Just to get back to Heinz [Field] that’s it. Just to win for the team and do whatever it takes.”

Audrey Snyder: asnyder@post-gazette.com and Twitter: @audsnyder4