State of Sports: On second thought, Londonderry's Ty Miles picks UNH

Feb. 9—THE University of New Hampshire football staff got a second chance to recruit Londonderry's Ty Miles, and took full advantage of the opportunity.

Miles, a 6-foot-5, 290-pound senior at Londonderry High School, officially became a Wildcat on Wednesday when he signed a National Letter of Intent to play football in Durham.

Miles gave a verbal commitment to Holy Cross in July, but continued to explore his other options when Holy Cross head coach Bob Chesney left the program in December to become the head coach at James Madison. That's when UNH swooped in and put the full-court press on Miles, the state's top prospect.

"I was planning on signing on the first signing date with Holy Cross, but I had to rethink all of that and choose what was best for me," Miles said. "At that moment (Chesney leaving) I was like, 'Wow. I don't know what I'm going to do.'

"UNH was respectful when I committed (to Holy Cross). They wanted to know why I chose Holy Cross and everything and I explained it. They left me alone. When I reopened up (his recruitment), they came back and honestly fixed all the things I told them I wished they did better. They definitely did that and a lot of other things, which was great. ... This second time around they couldn't have done anything better."

Miles, who missed most of his junior year with a knee injury, took an official visit to UNH in late January and texted UNH coach Rick Santos to inform him of his commitment a couple days after the visit. Miles received his scholarship offer from UNH at the New Hampshire Football Showcase at Saint Anselm College last summer.

He had close to 20 Division I scholarship offers, including UMass, URI, Holy Cross, Fordham, Columbia, Bucknell, Brown, Cornell, Navy, Dartmouth and Harvard.

"I didn't want to push him away from Holy Cross just because they changed head coaches, but as the staff started to trickle away and go different places it became evident that he wasn't going to go there," Londonderry coach Jimmy Lauzon said. "UNH double checked to see if they still had a chance. To be honest, the first time around I don't think they thought they had a chance. After talking with them, I think they thought he'd probably end up at a higher level. And then when he committed to Holy Cross, UNH was probably like, 'Wow. We could have had a chance at him.'

"I do believe he is an FBS-level type kid, but the college football recruiting landscape right now is a little unorthodox (with the transfer portal). Definitely not what we're used to, and I think that played a role in him going FCS. In a lot of ways, it could be a blessing and it could be the best thing for him and the state."

Miles was one of three finalists for the inaugural Yukica Player of the Year Award, which is given annually to the top NHIAA football player. He said he inquired about the possibility of following Chesney to James Madison, but Chesney couldn't promise a scholarship would be available.

Miles said he likes the size of the UNH campus and got a good "vibe" from others in the program when he took his official visit. He clearly liked the attention the UNH coaching staff showered him with during the past few weeks..

"Multiple times a week they'd come in and see me," Miles said. "Not one coach, not two ... pretty much the whole coaching staff would stop in to see me. I didn't tell them this, but they were No. 1 for a while in my head.

"UNH showed a lot of love. There was just something about UNH that hit me a couple weeks ago that I was like, 'OK. This is where I really want to go.' Couldn't be happier with my decision."

Miles, a two-way tackle, is expected to play offensive line at UNH. He's a three-sport athlete at Londonderry (football, baseball and basketball).

His No. 1 strength?

"I think it's his athletic ability," Lauzon said. "He's got great balance. I think the best thing about Ty is he played his best against our best competition. If there was a challenge on the other side, it brought out his best."

Miles plans to take at least one class at UNH during the summer. He said while it's a great feeling to be wanted by college football programs, the recruiting process made him anxious at times as well.

"It was stressful because I wanted to give people an answer, but I didn't really have one for a while," he said. "Now with everything sort of set in stone and done, when somebody asks me, 'Where are you going?' I can say UNH. It does feel good."