Miles highlights Science Hill signings

Jeff Birchfield • Updated Feb 6, 2020 at 11:28 AM

Jaiden Miles decided to play college football close to home, but geography wasn’t the main factor for the Science Hill standout.

With plenty of interest from other schools, the Big East Conference defensive lineman of the year made a late switch to sign with East Tennessee State. A crosstown visit convinced Miles the Bucs’ program was the right fit.

“When I went on the official visit and met the players, that’s where I knew I was going to go,” Miles said Wednesday at a signing at the Science Hill Gymnasium. “I met the coaches, liked how they acted and took the game seriously. The players, I liked how they were together as a group.”

Miles, a two-time All-Big East selection, had 90 career tackles, 12 for a loss along with two sacks and two forced fumbles. He talked about playing for Science Hill coach Stacy Carter.

“It was a good four years,” Miles said. “When I first got here, I was getting exposed and beat up, but he believed in me. He told me to keep working.”

Miles’ favorite memory as a Hilltopper was his junior year when Science Hill beat Bradley Central 24-21 in a playoff game.

Kicker Connor Rutledge was the one who made the winning field goal against Bradley Central. He was part of the ceremony as he is headed to Maryville College.

“That was amazing. Everybody put in a team effort to get down there and I got to finish it off,” Rutledge said. “That made it even better to share that with my teammates.”

Rutledge had 58 career points at Science Hill and was over 80 percent on touchbacks.

Defensive back Josh Santiago also took part with his future plans at the University of Charleston. He had 68 career tackles with four for a loss and two forced fumbles. Playing cornerback, he had four interceptions and 10 pass deflections, while making 10 catches on offense as a wide receiver.

“This is an amazing day. I worked hard to get here,” Santiago said. “There’s a lot of hard work and dedication to get to this point.”

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