MORGANTOWN - Donovan Miles yearned for this moment, even dreamed of what it would be like when he could finally become a player who could make an impact for the West Virginia University football team.
Miles, a linebacker for the past four years who converted to fullback during spring drills, will be a key member of several special teams this fall and could also see playing time in the offensive backfield.
"I want to be on all of the special teams. That's my goal," Miles said Tuesday, a day after WVU started summer conditioning workouts. "I want to make a big impact on special teams."
A Stafford, Va., native, Miles contemplated transferring to a small college after his playing time was limited during the early part of his Mountaineer career. But he had fallen in love with the culture of the state, and that played a factor in his decision to stay.
"I expected to be red-shirted my freshman year, but I was down on myself," Miles said. "It was a tough time. I love this state, the people and all my teammates so much. I can't see myself leaving."
But one fateful day after the 2011 season, Miles heard his telephone ring. Assistant coach Steve Dunlap was on the line, asking Miles to come by his office later that afternoon.
"I was trying to think what I had done the last week," Miles recalled. "I didn't think I was in trouble. I had gone to every class."
Dunlap and some of the offensive staff met with Miles and inquired if Miles would be interested in switching to the offensive side of the football. The player who had been hesitant in heading into the office jumped at the chance to earn additional playing time.
"I have to learn techniques and how to get from Point A to Point B," he said.
Now he is looking forward to being on the field in what promises to be one of the most anticipated football seasons in quite some time. WVU enters the Big 12 Conference this fall.
"That's in the back of our mind, but we're not worrying about it right now," he said. "We're worrying about Marshall. The Big 12 will come."
Coming off a huge win in the Orange Bowl, Miles knows the team has high expectations this season.
"You want to be respected and looked upon as one of the top teams in the nation," Miles said. "But you have to work hard to maintain that identity."