Recruiting Roundup: A Visit with Miles McVay, one of the nation’s top 2023 offensive linemen
Most folks have never heard of Adolf Anderssen, a German chess master often regarded as one of the best players during the 1850s especially when it came to international tournaments. On June 21, 1851 Anderssen beat fellow chess master and teacher Lionel Kieseritzky in an informal game which later became one of the most unparalleled wins in chess and was coined the “Immortal Game.”
The 1850s to the 1950s was known in the world of chess as the “Romantic Era” where chess players relied heavily on tactics, wild sacrifices, and extremely dynamic play.
Sounds like the world of recruiting, doesn’t it?
What made this particular “Immortal Game” so unique was the way in which Anderssen arrived at his notorious checkmate.
The game began with one of the oldest openings in chess called the” Kings Gambit.” Anderssen followed up with the sacrifice of his bishop. He then proceeded to sacrifice not just one but both rooks and then forced the notorious checkmate with the brilliant sacrifice of the queen, delivering his immortal checkmate with only three minor pieces while only capturing three of Kieseritzky’s pawns.
As a chess player, it reminds me how often in recruiting the moves made to get that checkmate are often not with the biggest pieces, but rather are in the manner and tactic in which you use the pieces and play the game. As we get ever closer to that December early signing period, Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin and his staff continue finding the best strategies to bring emerging talent to come see all that the ‘Sip has to offer.
One of the nation’s best: Miles McVay
The Rebels once again are turning up the heat on the recruiting trail, targeting some of the nation’s finest talent.
The trek from East St. Louis, Illinois to Oxford is roughly 369 miles down I-55 South. East St. Louis sits directly across the Mississippi River and is home to top 2023 Rebel target 4-star offensive tackle Miles McVay.
TheUnit Midwest Recruitment/Preps247 @McVayMiles @Clint_Cosgrove @TheUCReport @DemetricDWarren @C_Robinson247 @AllenTrieu
Had a chance to cover this big stud
2023 OT Miles McVay 6'7 345lbs
East St. Louis High School, Illinois #TheUnitMidwestRecruitment pic.twitter.com/6K9Y01gJmb
— Joe Tramble (@TrambleJoe) February 14, 2021
Could he be the next key offensive piece in the Rebels’ recruiting checkmate? I sure hope so!
Standing at a towering 6-foot-7 inches and weighing in at 365 pounds, McVay is the No. 118 overall athlete in the Class of 2023. The 4-star prospect sits as the No.10 OT in the nation and is the No. 1 at his position in the state of Illinois. According to the 247SportsComposite, he already boasts 20 offers — and it is no surprise that a good chunk hail from the SEC including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Ole Miss, Tennessee, and Texas A&M.
With McVay’s talent, it is no wonder the Rebels are looking to continue to keep their high-powered offense fueled with one of the nation’s most sought after offensive lineman.
Making an impact off the field
McVay isn’t just a talent on the field, he’s also quite a young man off the field. Sporting a 3.6 GPA, McVay is also helping others in his community. Earlier this year, he received the Chicago Bears Community High School All-Star Award. This award recognizes high school athletes for making a positive impact on their community.
In an article about McVay, Dean Criddle of the Bellville News-Democrat writes of McVay:
“He has regularly volunteered with the Demetrious Johnson Foundation to assist with their food distributions. During the Covid-19 pandemic, McVay volunteered for the Missouri cities of Delwood and Ferguson at their drive-through food pantries. Prior to Covid-19, McVay helped out at the North Side Community School by assisting with playtime or running classroom errands. He is also a role model for his younger brother in a single parent home.”
Dean Criddle on Miles McVay’s community service
We had a chance to catch up with McVay and talk about his recruitment and what is ahead for him.
A Visit with Miles McVay
The Rebel Walk: If you had a hashtag for your recruitment, what would it be?
Miles McVay: #Syrupaction — That’s something me and my dad came up with
The Rebel Walk: What is a typical day for you during the offseason?
Miles McVay: A typical day is wake up, eat breakfast, and then we have practice in the morning. Then on Mondays and Thursdays, I have explosion training. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I have football training, working on drills and watching my game film to see what I can do better. Lastly, on Friday I have recovery. That’s every week until school starts.
The Rebel Walk: What is the song right now that gets you amped up and motivated?
Miles McVay: One song would be “Shiesty Summer” by Pooh Shiesty.
The Rebel Walk: How did finally being able to take visits and interact with coaches on campus help shape your recruitment?
Miles McVay: I was able to see the schools and talk to coaches and get that feeling like, “Yeah, this is where I can see myself,” and just get the overall feeling of the school.
The Rebel Walk: What programs that are recruiting you right now have stood out the most?
Miles McVay: There’s a few, but I don’t want to say any names right now because I’m about to drop a Top 12. So stay tuned for that.
The Rebel Walk: What are some of the key factors that will come into play when you start narrowing down your top choices?
Miles McVay: A few things that helped narrow down the list was how I felt at the school. Could I see myself there for 4 years? Do I fit in the scheme of the offense? Those are just a few that come to mind
The Rebel Walk: Who is or has been your biggest influence?
Miles McVay: I feel it’s probably my dad. He’s been with me since the beginning, and he knows me just as much or even better than I know myself.
The Rebel Walk: You are undoubtedly one of the nation’s most sought-after OTs in 2023. Even with your impressive skillset, what do you believe is your strongest — but sometimes most overlooked — skill you have?
Miles McVay: I think people overlook my football IQ. I eat, sleep, and breathe football so I know and see a lot when I’m on the field.
The Rebel Walk: If you play in the SEC, what do you think is an ‘x-factor’ that sets you apart — and tell us why programs should be taking a look at Miles McVay?
Miles McVay: My ability to recover and my long arms. I also hear I have some great feet. Those are a few things I hear about.
The Rebel Walk: You are obviously on the Ole Miss radar. What sort of things would you say you could bring that might create some more opportunities by incorporating a skilled athlete like yourself in the mix to the Rebels’ O-Line?
Miles McVay: I can move and get out on screens. I’m an all-around athlete, and I bring opportunities — anything they would like me to do I can do it at any time.
The Rebel Walk: What recruiting advice do you have for other athletes during these different times?
Miles McVay: I would say If you are able to, go camp and get your name out there. The more people that know you, the better off you are. And last, work on your game and try looking at what you can do to make yourself better.
Fit In The Sip
It’s one thing when you see a player like McVay on film, but when you have the opportunity to watch him in person you can instantly see why he’s one of the top athletes in the country.
McVay and some of his teammates made the trip to Oxford for some camp time during June. You can bet the coaching staff — especially O-line coach Jack Thornton and offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby — recognizes what this talented young man could mean to the Ole Miss offense.
Of course McVay has the natural lineman’s frame that you can’t miss. What makes him even more of an asset is how he really understands the art of his blocking assignments.
— Jed May (@JedMay_) June 18, 2021
His awareness and football IQ help him know how to tailor his blocks for what is in front of him. McVay already shows a keen ability to understand zone blocking on pass protection. His size, mixed with long arms and solid feet, will be trouble for an opposing defensive lineman to get past, and that’s exactly the type of player you want on the front lines.
Chess legend Bobby Fischer once described his game as such: “Chess is a war over the board. The object is to crush the opponent’s mind.” There’s no doubt with his on and off-the-field smarts, the heady McVay can crush an opponent’s mind as well as his body.
The Rebels made a solid impression on him and we shall see if McVay feels the same when he Drops his Top 12 soon!
(Feature image photo credit: Chris Johns, STLSportsPhoto)
For more Ole Miss recruiting info, follow our Rebel Walk Director of Recruiting Lee Ann Herring here.