Miles, the only player last year in the Pac-12 to total triple-digits in rush yards, receiving yards, punt return yards and kickoff returns yards, also ranked 18th in the nation in kickoff return average and 35th in the country in all-purpose yards per game.
Shortly into the 2011 season, ASU faithful became increasingly educated of one simple statement—Jamal Miles does it all.
Entering his senior season, the Peoria, Ariz., native has been asked to tweak and refine his game, as no longer is he simply a slot receiver catching passes primarily in the flats, but Miles is being utilized at outside receiver with many more vertical route responsibilities than he has had in the past three seasons at ASU.
“It’s been a lesson this whole spring because I’m learning a new position at outside [wide receiver] and I hadn’t really run that many routes before, so I had to get used to running the kind of routes I have been,” said Miles. “[The coaches] have done a great job teaching me to run routes the right way and get out of breaks. “
Though change at times is not always warmly welcomed by a player entering his final season of eligibility, Miles has embraced the additions to his athletic repertoire and sees the definite benefit to the refinement of mastering his positional craft.
“I think it’s a good transition for me; it’s something new for me because it’s another position under my belt and shows that I’m versatile,” said Miles. “I have the potential to go wherever [the coaches] need me.”
If the spring’s final scrimmage is any indicator, Miles’ transition should be as quick as his foot speed on the field, as he submitted a banner effort with seven receptions for 101 yards and two touchdowns while also running a kickoff back 97 yards for another score.
Throughout the spring as a whole, Miles has shown the maturity to embrace a slightly altered offensive role and the work ethic to thrive within the new addition.
“I think I did pretty well this spring; I came out more focused than I have been the past few weeks and I was just concentrating on catching the ball,” said Miles. After that, I just used my natural abilities and did what I had to do. I would say this is the best spring game I’ve ever had as well as the whole spring, I feel like I did pretty well this year.”
With spring ball coming to a close and over three months until the start of fall camp, Miles has no intention to be complacent despite the fact that he is by far the team’s most experienced receiver as ASU’s other wide receivers combine for merely one career collegiate start.
Over the remainder of the offseason, Miles, who has grown notably encouraged by the development of his fellow wide receivers, plans to refine the technical nuances of his game such as route-running and focus, as he welcomes the challenges and responsibilities natural to a seasoned standout.
“I put pressure on myself because I believe I am a leader out here, because among these receivers out here I’m really the only one with playing experience,” said Miles. “I’m a senior this year and I feel like I have to put the team on my back.”
As Sun Devil fans are well aware, Jamal surely can do it all and in 2012 he is poised to start doing even more.