Myles Berry really had no choice. He had to be an athlete because it’s in his blood.
Berry’s uncle, Eric Berry, played college football at Youngstown State and his father, Harold Berry, was an all-state baseball player in high school. Mother, Carolyn, also got in the act as a high school track star.
So with all that competitive nature running through his veins, it was only natural that Myles gravitated toward sports at an early age.
“I think I was playing right out of the womb,” Berry said. “I’ve just always had a bond with sports in general.”
The bond since birth has led the 6-foot-2, 190-pounder down a path to success in both football and track at Greensboro’s Dudley High School. But it’s on the gridiron that Berry’s talents have resulted in an opportunity to play major college football at East Carolina.
The Pirates received a verbal commitment from Berry on April 24th, just over three weeks after receiving a scholarship offer from the American Athletic Conference program while on campus for a Junior Day function April 1st. Berry, a safety-linebacker, chose ECU over Army, Air Force, Howard and Navy.
ECU associate head and defensive line coach Robert Prunty first made contact with Berry last February, two months after Dudley had claimed the state 4-A championship in Raleigh with a 54-0 blasting of Cape Fear. Berry had one of the Panthers’ three interceptions in the game against Cape Fear’s highly touted quarterback Justice Galloway-Velazquez in helping Dudley (15-1) to its sixth state championship.
The title game ended a year in which Berry produced 78 tackles and two interceptions on a squad loaded with Football Bowl Subdivision prospects like quarterback Hendon Hooker (Virginia Tech signee), offensive lineman Bryson Speas (N.C. State), junior cornerback D.J. Crossen (11 major offers to date), junior cornerback Myles White (ECU offer) and Berry.
“Every day is a battle in practice at our school,” Berry said. “You’re competing against an offense with Hendon Hooker at quarterback, then on defense you’re trying to match every play with D.J. Crossen and Myles White in the secondary. There are really no days off. I think that has been why my development has gone through the roof, honestly.”
That development began for Berry at age nine when he first received his first taste of organized sports at the Ragsdale YMCA. He starred at running back and defensive back for the recreation league Ragsdale Green team, while also establishing himself as a sprinter and eventually a hurdler with the Carolina Flamez track club.
Berry’s high school athletic career actually began a few miles from Greensboro in High Point at T.W. Andrews. He ran the hurdles and started on the football team at Andrews as a sophomore in 2015. Berry played multiple roles for the football team when he made 26 tackles and a team-leading three interceptions on defense, returned 15 punts for 104 yards and averaged 31.9 yards per boot as the team’s punter.
A move to Dudley after the 2015 season put Berry on the field for one of the state’s premier programs, and one well known for producing major college talent. Cornerback David Amerson (N.C. State), defensive tackle Demario Pressley (N.C. State), linebacker Chris Register (Clemson), safety Kenny Okoro (Wake Forest) and former East Carolina defensive back Derek Blacknall are just some of the college players who have developed at Dudley.
Berry was familiar with the ECU football program when Prunty made the first contact with him last February, but he had never been to Greenville or visited the campus. But treks to Greenville for Junior Day and then the annual spring game, along with constant communications with Prunty, convinced Berry to become a Pirate.
“Coach Prunty was contacting me every day, getting to know me personally and building a relationship,” Berry said. “I really liked that he and the rest of the staff take pride in building that connection with their athletes.
“Then I got to campus, and the facilities are beautiful. Plus, I know I can get a good education at East Carolina. So, after going home to pray about it, I decided to commit.”
Despite his pledge to the Pirates, Berry does expect to see more schools between now and the signing period, the first of which could be in December if an early date is approved. He says James Madison, Princeton, Stanford and Virginia Tech are still on his radar.
“Academics are important to me,” he said. “I know getting an Ivy League education is second to none. So that’s definitely an option for me. One of the Virginia Tech coaches was at Dudley today (Monday) watching us do seven-on-seven drills.
“I definitely love East Carolina. But I’m still open to other visits and in the end making sure I’ve made the best decision for me.”
The Pirates have recruited Berry to play a hybrid safety-linebacker position.
“They’re looking at me at a nickel position, like a linebacker-safety hybrid,” Berry said. “My strengths, I would say, are my IQ, my tackling and my coverage.”
Berry is the fourth player to join ECU’s recruiting Class of 2018, and the second from the Greensboro area. Defensive end Trey Love, who committed to the Pirates in early April, plays at Southwest Guilford High School.