Memorial safety perfectly positioned to take step as Titans leader on defense

Published 5:55 am Tuesday, May 31, 2022

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A senior-heavy Memorial Titans squad had an unlikely leader this past season.

With scholarship players all over a dominant defense, Memorial Head Coach Brian Morgan turned to a sophomore to get the secondary lined up.

Daevon “Newton” Iles earned his nickname after transferring from Newton his freshman season. The safety returns along with a few other starters from last year’s squad that held the district’s top-ranked defense.

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“He is really, really intelligent on and off the field,” Morgan said of Iles. “He is a great student. He is in the early college program. He will graduate high school with his associate’s degree. He is really intelligent on the field, as well. He made all of the calls on the field as a sophomore. He did all of the secondary stuff.”

Morgan said all of the mental and character attributes mixed with his size and skill make Iles the perfect player.

“He is a long athlete that can run,” Morgan said. “He really used this track season to get faster. He has a huge upside to him.”

Iles said he had to get comfortable in his role with the team.

“I was definitely nervous,” he said. “After my first game, I knew I had my brothers beside me. I was good after that. I felt like the game slowed down for me in our second game against Barbers Hill. I was able to see how fast paced it was and get used to it.”

Iles said the fact Morgan gave him the responsibility to call plays provided confidence.

“It made me feel like he believed in me,” he said. “I knew he thought I could get the job done.”

Now, the incoming junior said he priorities are what keeps him grounded.

It is all about time management.

“Get your work done,” he said. “Football is not going to come first. Get the work done and then go play football. That is all it is.”

Iles wants to study engineering after high school.

Morgan said Iles might have to study engineering at one of the nation’s big football programs.

Iles received his first scholarship offer from Incarnate Word. Morgan said it will be the first of many for Iles.

“He is a high-level Power Five football player,” Morgan said. “He is only going to continue to improve. He is a legit Power Five safety.”

The safety said he tries to model his game after former Seattle Seahawks thumper Kam Chancellor.

Right now, Iles is more focused on the high expectations the Titans face each year.

“We know the expectations are high,” he said. “We are supposed to go deep into the playoffs. I feel like we have to step up and do what we have to do to play ball.”

Morgan said Iles is not a loud leader, but he is a great example.

“He understands the game so well,” Morgan said. “He understands what we are trying to do and can communicate it to the secondary.”