A few weeks ago, I made a post brushing on some of the undrafted free agent players that the Jets invited to camp and have a good chance on making the roster. One of these said UDFAs were Rontez Miles, a safety out of the University of California (PA). The 6’0″, 203 pound athlete performed well for the Vulcans, winning several awards including
- PSAC Freshman of the Year
- Four All PSAC-West selections
- Two-time Division II All American honors
- Back to back Defensive Player Of The Year awards
- And more
Miles was also one of the few Division II football players invited to the NFL Combine, and at one point before the draft he was projected to go as high as the fourth round. The fact that the Jets were able to sign him as an UDFA is a huge accomplishment.
Rontez Miles began his football career with his half-brother, Vondre Griffin. They both attended Wooland Hills High School together, a school that has produced many NFL stars including Rob Gronkowski and Jason Taylor. As young men, the two half-brothers were determined to follow their football careers together, from high school to college and eventually to the NFL. This promise may have hurt Rontez’s career, because while he received offers from programs such as Pitt, West Virginia, Arizona State, and Colorado, the most infamous school Vondre Griffin got an offer from was Kent State. Rontez turned down several offers so that he too could attend Kent State with his half-brother.
Unfortunately, the football dream for the two didn’t go as planned. Vondre Griffin was expelled from Kent State for legal issues, including marijuana possession. After Griffin’s expulsion, Miles saw no point in continuing his career at Kent State and dropped out. After attending community college for a year, Rontez Miles still received interest from a few football programs, including California (PA). The Vulcans head coach, Mike Kellar, arranged a lunch interview with Miles, who greatly impressed Kellar. A few months later, Rontez was playing football for the first time in his life without his half-brother, who had failed to meet the necessary elgibility.
Rontez Miles went on to have an outstanding career for the California Vulcans, as one can see from the accolades mentioned above. Rontez was the defensive captain for the Vulcans twice in a row, and he was known for his hard-hitting and his great hands. Rontez Miles also excelled at covering ground and pursuing the ball-carrier in tremendous fashion.
However, one of Miles’ most impressive moments was not on the field. Kellar reminisced during one team meeting just before the start of Rontez’s senior season, Kellar questioned the team about their goals for the upcoming year. While everyone else discussed on the field dreams, Rontez mentioned how he looked forward to graduating the year, which greatly impressed Kellar. “I’m thinking back to that first meeting in the restaurant and the drive home,” Kellar said, “and I’m almost in tears, listening to him speak.”
However, just around that time disaster struck for Vondre Griffin. Griffin was charged with criminal homicide and possessing a fire arms without a license. However, Vondre Griffin pleaded that it was self defense, and an eye witness was able to support this argument. Rontez Miles is optimistic that his half-brother will be cleared of the criminal homicide charge, and hopes to one day have his brother watch him from the crowd.
Miles must still focus on football, and must work to make the roster, and possibly even a starting job. Miles has impressed Rex Ryan during mini camps, and if he can beat out Jaiquawn Jarrett amongst others he may even be a week 1 starter. It would be spectacular for Miles to carry out the dream that he and Vondre Griffin once pursued together, and this will be a huge moral victory for the two half-brothers.