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Gwinnett Grads: Miles thrilled to be back on field, in S.C. rotation

A year on the scout team as a redshirt tests the patience. Kenny Miles' was tested a few games longer.

The running back didn't play in either of South Carolina's first two games this season, sitting out a close win over N.C. State and a tough loss at Georgia. A full 2008 redshirt season and two 2009 games into his college career and Miles had not played a down.

"Of course it was frustrating (to redshirt). You never like to practice all week and not play in a game," said the Brookwood grad, the Daily Post's player of the year in 2007, when he rushed for 2,544 yards in just 12 games. "At the same time, I knew I wasn't ready physically and mentally. So it was just a matter of getting in there (on the scout team) and helping the first-team defense get ready."

After two games this season, South Carolina figured out Miles is a big help in meaningful games, too. The redshirt freshman rushed five times for 56 yards in one first-quarter series vs. Florida Atlantic in the Gamecocks' third game, then was even more important last week.

He carried 13 times for 52 yards, both team-highs, in an upset of fourth-ranked Ole Miss. His next closest teammate had five rushes for 18 yards, making it clear that Miles had moved to the front of South Carolina's rotation of four tailbacks.

His 18 rushes for 108 yards and two catches for 13 yards all have come in the Gamecocks' past two games. He figures to get more heavy action today against South Carolina State.

"It's a blessing to be out there playing, it really is," Miles said. "There's nothing like it. Your redshirt year you get to be on the field, but it's a whole different monster this year when you're playing in front of 80,000 fans screaming and going crazy."

The 5-foot-9, 183-pounder hasn't been proclaimed the starter yet, but he isn't too concerned with the depth chart.

"I just try to study my playbook, study my plays and make sure I'm always ready to go," Miles said.

FOOTBALL

VSU's local WR crew

A Gwinnett-heavy receiving group helped Valdosta State defeat West Alabama 35-6 last weekend, combining for 14 catches for 204 yards.

North Gwinnett grad R.J. Bastone led the way with seven catches for 93 yards. South Gwinnett's Jackson Dean (three catches for 58 yards), Berkmar's Isaiah Jupiter (three catches for 40 yards) and Buford's Kody Case (one catch for 13 yards) also contributed on offense.

Quick hits

Grayson grad Lorenzo Washington blocked a punt last week in Alabama's win over Arkansas. ... Brice Butler, a Norcross grad, caught the first touchdown pass of his USC career last weekend as the Trojans defeated Washington State 27-6. The wideout's 29-yard score was USC's second TD of the game. ... Kentucky senior tight end Ross Bogue, a North Gwinnett grad, also had his first career TD catch last weekend, a 2-yarder for the Wildcats' only score in a 41-7 loss to No. 1 Florida. ... Duluth's Kennard Reeves had four rushes for 41 yards in Vanderbilt's 36-17 win over Rice. T.J. Greenstone (Collins Hill) had three solo tackles, one for a loss, and Greg Billinger had two tackles and 11/2 sacks for the Commodores. ... Norcross grad Trent Hawk helped Furman beat Western Carolina 33-14, scampering 20 yards on a fake punt and punting three times for a 39.3 average. Teammate David Hendrix (Buford) caught two passes for 35 yards.

SOCCER

Watts' game-winner keeps S.C. undefeated

Peachtree Ridge grad Christine Watts scored the game-winner in the 56th minute last weekend, helping 11th-ranked South Carolina remain unbeaten with a 1-0 win over Kentucky. The Gamecocks (10-0) and No. 1 Stanford are the nation's only two remaining undefeated teams.

Watts scored her second goal in the SEC victory over Kentucky, stealing the ball at midfield and carrying it to the 18-yard mark, where she fired a shot off the post and in.

GOLF

Burger off to strong start at UGA

Emilie Burger has not only jumped into the Georgia women's golf team's lineup as a freshman, she has emerged as one of the top players.

Burger, ranked 28th nationally with a 70.73 stroke average, tied for seventh at last weekend's Mason Rudolph Invitational. She shot 5-under 139 in the rain-shortened event, following a 69 with a final-round 70 at the Vanderbilt Legends Club in Franklin, Tenn.

Two weeks earlier, Burger tied for third overall at the Cougar Classic in Charleston, S.C., with a three-day score of 4-under 212. She shot 67 in the first round, then 75 and 70.

Gwinnett Grads is a column that runs on Saturdays spotlighting the achievements of past Gwinnett standouts. Coaches and parents are urged to send suggestions via e-mail to will.hammock@gwinnettdailypost.com or via fax to 770-339-8081.

A quick look at where to watch former Gwinnett standouts in today's college football action:

Noon - Wisconsin at Minnesota, ESPN

Brookwood's David Pittman (No. 9) plays wide receiver for Minnesota.

12:30 p.m. - Alabama at Kentucky, WPCH

Grayson's Lorenzo Washington (No. 97) plays defensive line and Norcross' Darius Hanks (No. 15) plays wide receiver for Alabama. North's Ross Bogue (No. 86) plays tight end for Kentucky.

3 p.m. - Elon at Furman, SportSouth

Buford's David Hendrix (No. 14) plays wide receiver, Parkview's Pete Sanders (No. 44) plays fullback, Norcross' Trent Hawk (No. 17) is a punter and South Gwinnett's Cortez Johnson (No. 18) is a cornerback for Furman.

3:30 p.m. - LSU at Georgia, CBS

GAC's T-Bob Hebert (No. 53) plays offensive line, Peachtree Ridge's Derrick Bryant (No. 36) plays cornerback and Peachtree Ridge's Kevin Minter (No. 46) plays linebacker for LSU. For Georgia, Norcross' Fred Munzenmaier (No. 48) plays fullback, GAC's Caleb King (No. 4) plays running back, Brookwood's Rennie Curran (No. 35) plays linebacker, GAC's Christian Robinson (No. 45) plays linebacker, Peachtree Ridge's Drew Butler (No. 13) is a punter, Buford's Dallas Lee (No. 64) is a center, Dacula's Jeremy Sulek (No. 11) is a wide receiver, Parkview's Jason Veal (No. 49) is a linebacker, Wesleyan's Josh Parrish (No. 55) is an offensive lineman, Parkview's Jordan Stowe (No. 92) is a kicker, Buford's Billy Johnson (No. 94) is a snapper and Brookwood's Andrew Jensen (No. 96) is a kicker.

7:30 p.m. - Georgia Tech at Mississippi State, CSS

For Georgia Tech, Duluth's Jason Davis (No. 45) plays defensive back, South's Zach Krish (No. 74) is an offensive lineman, Central Gwinnett's Josh Aiken-Phillips (No. 67) is an offensive lineman, Buford's Chase Hudson (No. 63) is an offensive lineman, Berkmar's Onu Okebie (No. 87) is a wide receiver, Parkview's Jared Polak (No. 27) is a linebacker, Norcross' Chris Tanner (No. 17) is a kicker and North Gwinnett's Tyler Jarry (No. 31) is a running back.

8 p.m. - Oklahoma at Miami, ABC

Dacula's Cameron Kenney (No. 6) is a wide receiver for Oklahoma.