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'I learned a lot from not being able to make it': Father helps pave the way on the recruiting trail for top-ranked offensive lineman

"He's what every college coach, what every high school coach, he's exactly what you look for," Darren Sunkett said.

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — When you roll the tape from an East St. Louis football practice, it's not hard to see the 6 foot 7 inch 330-pound Miles McVay.

"Miles is just a big kid man, he's a big funny guy," East St. Louis head coach Darren Sunkett said.

A coach for more than 20 years, Sunkett said McVay is what coaches call a program changer.

"He's what every college coach, what every high school coach, he's exactly what you look for," Sunkett said.

Just like a dating app, some colleges have been trying to match with McVay forever.

"I got my first scholarship in the 8th grade," McVay recalled his first Division I scholarship offer from Bethune-Cookman.

But he was quickly reminded, that was just the dating phase.

"I was young, so I started getting a big head, and then I came here [East St. Louis] and got humbled real quick,” he said.

McVay knew his future was bright, but that his journey was going to be a long one. Good thing his father, Armando Fuqua, had everything mapped out.

"I learned a lot from not being able to make it which then showed me what the things he needed to do to make it," Fuqua said.

That meant long days, and longer workouts, beginning when he was five years old.

"He was so big after one year he had to move up to middle schoolers, so he was like seven or eight years old training with middle schoolers," Fuqua describes how quickly McVay moved on to tougher and older competition.

Soon his two-a-day workouts would pay off, and McVay's progress quickly showed during his freshman season at East St. Louis.

“We had a play where he was supposed to pull around and he's got to pick up our best linebacker, kind of like an Oklahoma drill, Miles pulled around that corner and pretty much knocked out our best guy, so we lost him to a concussion to that drill," Sunkett said that's when they knew McVay was the real deal.

Later that year he would help the Flyers win another state championship while inching one step closer to a free education.

Right now, McVay has more college options than a contest on the Bachelor has dates, but has managed to trim his list down to seven, including programs like Alabama, Missouri, Michigan State and Texas A&M.

On August 11, he will make his decision and when the time comes, he knows his pops will be standing right by his side.

"I really don't know where I'd be without him and whew, I don't even want to think about that," McVay said.

"I explained to Miles, if you follow this path and do what you're supposed to do and do all these things you'll be rewarded in the end," Fuqua said.

If he hangs on tight to those core values his family instilled in him, Coach Sunkett believes college is just the first step in a very long playing career for McVay.

"He's a natural, so as long as Miles keeps working and pray to god no injuries, he'll definitely be a first-round draft choice," Sunkett said.

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