Moving the Chains with . . . EIU defensive end Jordan Miles
today at 8:30 am
Eastern Illinois head coach Adam Cushing isn’t surprised by the success of defensive end Jordan Miles, the true freshman who leads the Ohio Valley Conference in tackles-for-loss.
“He’s certainly the guy we recruited,” Cushing said recently. “In the spring, it was his first time playing college football. It’s never been the speed of the game (that’s been difficult) for Jordan because he moves pretty fast as you can see out there. He’s an explosive young man.
“It’s more just about him trusting himself. You saw it really come on at the end of the spring (season). If you look at his film from early in the spring to the end of the spring, he was a different player.”
According to his biographical sketch on eiupanthers.com, Miles appeared in all six games of the conference-only 2021 spring season. Miles made starts in the final five games and finished with 23 tackles, including 12 solo stops.
The Indiana native tied for the team lead with six tackles-for-loss and was the team leader with two sacks.
“And he’s taken that same jump (in the fall). He’s done that because of the way he shows up to work every day. If you watched him practice today, you’d think it was game day because of how fast he practices. It’s not a coincidence that he’s finding success on Saturday,” Cushing said.
Listed at 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds, Miles leads EIU with 11 quarterback hurries and is tied with Tim Varga for the team lead with four sacks. He has also forced two fumbles, blocked a kick and was named the conference defensive player of the week earlier this fall.
Get to know EIU defensive end Jordan Miles in our Prairie State Pigskin Moving the Chains Q&A.
Hometown: Indianapolis, Ind.
High School: Decatur Central
What other Division I universities offered you a scholarship?
Air Force, Central Michigan, Illinois State, Western Illinois and (Division II) Grand Valley State
Why did you choose Eastern Illinois?
I came to choose Eastern through a faith base. Of course I also had family members that came here throughout the past. My grandparents and my uncles came here, but it was not only that but also the timing and the coaching staff really sold it to me. They reached out to me just about every day and always checked up on me on a personal level not only with football. That’s what basically sold me, that they were connecting with me so well.
You mentioned your family history with those who had attended Eastern. How excited were they when you picked EIU?
They were very excited. They were a little shocked because they didn’t know I had an offer until I told them. When they heard that, we had a little family dinner about it. It all just clicked perfectly.
Were any of your family members involved in athletics when they attended Eastern?
I believe my grandma was a swimmer. My grandpa might have golfed.
Coach Cushing has talked about your growth as a player multiple times since you arrived on campus. To what do you attribute that success?
It’s connected well overall. They (coaching staff) really harp on channeling and becoming one together. All that’s how we move as a whole unit. That helped me reach other people. After coming here, they really helped me start talking to other people and becoming more social. Of course, that led out to the field because then you play your heart out for someone else. That’s what it’s all for in the game.
Your coach has also discussed how hard you practice. Where does that work ethic come from?
That comes from my family. They always tell me anytime I’m not doing something, somebody else is on the other side of the world or another area in a different time zone getting the work in. So if I’ve got that available time to do any work, I’ve got to give maximum effort so that people can’t get ahead.
How challenging was it as a true freshman to play a spring season followed by a fall season?
It most definitely took a toll on your body. But with the rest and recovery it’s really up to the athletes to stay on top of it. You get plenty of time to recover. The games start going faster and faster. It’s really up to the student to keep up with it. I feel like I’ve been trying to do my best to help others with that as well.
It’s all clicking and rolling. Once it gets rolling, it just keeps going.
Have you done anything differently with your diet than when you were in high school?
Coming to college has definitely changed my diet. In high school I was a very picky eater. I didn’t really like as much. But when you come to college and you don’t have those home-cooked meals, you’ve got to adjust and figure out what’s new out there and try different things that you’ve never had. I definitely eat more (food) in college as well due to the position that I play and the weight I need to gain to stay at this position and be effective.
Basically I eat more protein, add my vegetables in there and you’ve got to have your snacks throughout the day in order to maintain that weight.
What have you improved the most on from spring to now?
I’ve really worked on my explosiveness and just having trust in myself and the ability that I can perform to this level and greater. Coming in as a freshman you try to understand throughout that short spring season that we had that there’s a difference between high school and college. If you’re willing to put in the work, there’s not that big of a difference.
As long as I have teammates there that are willing to help me and push me, I feel like we can all make it.
What are you most looking forward to about Thanksgiving?
The meals. Most definitely that’s the No. 1 thing. No one can ever forget Thanksgiving, the home meals and also watching the Thanksgiving games with the family since you don’t get much time with them during the season. You see them at the games and maybe afterward, but not much otherwise.
Your biographical sketch states your major is digital media technology. Please describe that.
Digital media goes into multiple things throughout the web. You can go into graphic designing or you can go into editing videos or taking photos. Something that I didn’t know prior to getting into college is that it’s a real creative mind major and that’s something I really enjoy. It’s pretty much anything that you see out there on the web from advertisements to even the screen on your phone. Everything that you pull up is digital media.
What is your long-term goal with that?
I’d like to produce films or something with filmmaking along with edits for film or even take photos at sports events, concerts, even personal shoots.