Harper Woods – LSU football coach Les Miles wasn’t sure where to stand, where to sit.
Miles attended the first day of the Sound Mind Sound Body camp on Thursday at Chandler Park Academy but not in the same role as some of his Division I colleagues like Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio and Minnesota’s Jerry Kill. They were among the coaches who spoke to the enormous gathering of high school football players before moving outside for hands-on on-field work.
Miles had a different role.
“I’m here as a dad,” he said.
Manny Miles, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound quarterback and multi-sport standout at University High in Baton Rouge, La., is here measuring himself against other quarterbacks in the 2015 class.
This is foreign turf for his father, who because of an SEC rule that does not allow coaches to leave the state for camps, is not permitted to participate as a coach.
“I don’t know that I’ve ever really been to a camp where my son was a prospect and I had no camp responsibility,” Miles said. “I was thinking when I came over, ‘So where am I going to stand? I guess I sit in the stands. I’m trying to remember. Do I get to walk around? I’m going to get in the line with the other parents and wherever they’re at, that’s where I’m at.”
It has been a unique process for Miles.
“You have a son who wants to measure himself with other really great athletes, and he wants to see what’s out there,” he said. “You compete against some of the best in the country, you realize where your skill level is. He’s looking forward to competing.”
Miles has a high opinion of his son’s skill level. Manny Miles also is a right-handed pitcher who threw two no-hitters as a sophomore and is a starter on the soccer team.
“I have to be real honest with you – I think he could have played for me in the last season,” Miles said. “He’s a very good athlete. He can throw it.”
Of course, Miles, who has been fielding calls from other coaches about his son, has tried recruiting him.
“I said to him, ‘Under what circumstance could you come to LSU?’” Miles said. “He says, ‘None.’
“He said, ‘Dad, you’re the head coach. I don’t know see that path.’ Right now, I’m recruiting him. The good news is, I can work on him pretty good.”
About three years ago, Miles was in southeast Michigan with his family. He and his wife, Kathy, a former Michigan women’s basketball assistant, met while they were both at U-M. Miles played football for Bo Schembechler and was an assistant coach for the Wolverines.
He gave his family a tour of the U-M campus.
Would Miles like to see his son follow in his footsteps and play at Michigan?
“I would love to see him at Michigan,” Miles said of his son, who wants to play football and baseball in college. “The first place that I took him to tour was Michigan, and he fell in love with the place. He said, ‘Dad, I know why you went here.’”
They are spending one day at the Sound Mind Sound Body camp before heading to Oklahoma for another camp. Miles believes his son will turn heads and attract a crowd.
“Everybody wants to see him -- it’s really pretty cool,” Miles said. “I think there’s enough interest that it’s getting out. I would hope he would have an opportunity to do what he normally does because if he does, there will be interest beyond this camp.”