O’Neill transferring, prepares fervently for next step

Quarterback Miles O’Neill passed for three touchdowns and nearly 200 yards against Swampscott last Thanksgiving. Photo by Spenser Hasak

Miles O’Neill would seem to be in the ideal spot. He’ll be a senior in the fall, and – barring any serious complications or setbacks – he’ll have his college future decided by then.

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Magicians quarterback has a slew of college offers in his pocket already, and he’s waiting for more. So far, he’s been approached by the likes of Boston College, Texas A&M, Michigan State, Penn State, Maryland, Pittsburgh, and several more. In all, he said, he’s heard from 15 Division 1 colleges and universities.

“It’s been awesome,” said O’Neill, whose Magicians were 8-2 last fall. “It’s unreal. I’m just taking it all in.”

He still has to go on some school visits, so he’s nowhere near ready to commit to a school.

“I’m planning on doing that really soon,” he said. “I’ll have a better idea about what’s out there.”

O’Neill, who has a 4.0 GPA going into his senior year, wants to make sure he winds up at a place that doesn’t simply concentrate on football.

“A very important factor for me has to be the academics, too,” said O’Neill, who plans to major in some aspect of business in college.

O’Neill isn’t just talking the talk about preparing for life after high school. Even though he doesn’t have to impress anyone else in the college scouting or recruiting department, he is transferring out of Marblehead for his senior year anyway and will attend the Hun School in Princeton, N.J. He says there is no correlation between the locale of the school and the presence of Princeton University just a few miles away.

“I’ve been asked that question a lot,” he said. “But there’s no relation at all. Just a coincidence.”

Rather than position himself for entry into an Ivy League institution, he said, he feels he needs a dress rehearsal for college in more ways than one.

“He wants to challenge himself with better competition,” said Jim Rudloff, his coach at Marblehead the last three years. “He’s had some really good offers. Right now, he’s the top quarterback in Massachusetts.

“This is a big deal for Marblehead,” said Rudloff. “I support him all the way in what he wants to do. The unfortunate thing is that we are not going to have Miles playing here for his senior year. Obviously we don’t want to see him go. He’s been going to our youth camps, Coach (Mike) Giardi’s youth camps … we’ve had him in one capacity or another since he was nine years old. We’ll be sad to see him go.”

Rudloff wanted to clear up any misconceptions that O’Neill is already down there.

“He’s still up here,” said Rudloff. “He will finish the year. He went to his senior prom last Friday. He’ll go to the Hun School in the fall.”

O’Neill said he’s met both the head coach and quarterbacks coach at Hun, and that “both of them are great coaches.”

“They’ve already helped me,” O’Neill said.

Of course, he said, the two he worked with the most at Marblehead have given him a great foundation too.

“Coach Rudloff is a great coach,” said O’Neill about the man who has piloted the Magicians to multiple league championships and a Super Bowl title two years ago. “He’s taught me an awful lot.”

The other coach at Marblehead who has had perhaps a greater impact on O’Neill is Giardi. Along with being the quarterbacks coach, Giardi is also head basketball coach – another sport O’Neill plays.

“I’ve spent a lot of time with him,” O’Neill said. “I have a great relationship with him, and I’m going to miss him. I’ve grown a lot since eighth grade, and he’s a big reason why I’m where I am today.”

O’Neill also says that going away to school as a senior will give him the opportunity to see what it’s like living away from home.

“It’s almost like it’s a dress rehearsal,” he said.