Miles spent his two years in Bolivia, where 4 million of the country’s 10 million residents live in poverty. There, he became fluent in Spanish, shared the gospel at every opportunity and tackled service projects, such as building houses.
“Being able to serve the Lord and dedicate myself those two years to him was a life-changing experience,” Miles, 24, said.
When he returned stateside in 2015, Boise State’s scholarship offer was still open, and the 6-foot-5 Miles accepted.
Transitioning back into football wasn’t easy. “But the coaches at Boise State did a really good job of getting me back into playing shape, and my knowledge of football, with them teaching me, went through the roof,” he said.
Miles finished Boise State in 2018 with a degree in health sciences and a notable record as a starting defensive end for the university’s football team, the Broncos. In his senior year, he shined as a pass rusher, racking up 4.5 sacks to smash his previous career high of two in 2017. He also proved formidable against the run, picking up 6.5 tackles for losses.
Andy Avalos, former defensive coordinator for the Broncos, said Miles was “an unbelievable leader, not only with his play-making ability on the field, but also as a leader making sure our mindset was always right.”
“The thing that sticks out about him is how reliable he is as a person and teammate,” said Avalos, now defensive coordinator at the University of Oregon. “He comes every day with a great attitude.”
Football has been Miles’ lifelong passion.
“Ever since I was in Little League, my goal was just to get progressively better,” he said.
Now that he’s wearing Falcons jersey “48,” Miles still has that focus.
“Even at this level, my goal is to continue to get better and be someone who can be counted on by this team,” he said.
Miles gushes when he speaks of his teammates, describing them as “awesome” and their “togetherness” as unparalleled in his football experience.
“I think we have a very special opportunity this season – obviously taking it game by game,” he said. “But I think we really have an opportunity and a good shot.”
Miles knows he’ll have to prove himself to stay on the team. He was one of 19 free agents picked up by the Falcons and could be cut when the team roster is whittled from 90 to 63 on Aug. 30.
But he’s optimistic, with God’s help, he’ll make it.
“Without our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we wouldn’t really have the opportunities to do what we do and be who we are,” Miles said. “I’m very grateful for this.”
What inspires Durrant Miles
Philosophy: "I've always been about pouring my heart into everything I'm involved in."
His heart: A native of South Jordan, Utah, he looks fondly on his hometown as the place he met wife Karra whom he married in 2017.
On worrying: "I'm too blessed to be stressed."
If he couldn't play football: He can see himself being an orthopedic surgeon, drawing on the knowledge he gained as an under-graduate in medical science.
Most important trait: Passion