Running back Miles Sanders, who started only one season at Penn State, became the 17th Woodland Hills graduate to enter the NFL when the Philadelphia Eagles picked him in the second round Friday night.
The Eagles chose Sanders with the 53rd overall pick, 10 years after they used the same-numbered choice on Pitt running back LeSean McCoy. Sanders is the 19th player coached by former Woodland Hills coach George Novak to reach the NFL.
After Saquon Barkley left for the NFL, Sanders rushed for 1,274 yards and nine scores last season for Penn State. He was chosen second-team All-Big Ten and the team’s Most Valuable Offensive Player.
Sanders’ high school career started early. He became the starting running back as a freshman when the regular back moved to Ohio just before the start of the season.
Woodland Hills lost the opener to Upper St. Clair, 31-12, but Sanders (5-foot-11, 215 pounds) became the featured back throughout the season and led the Wolverines to the WPIAL championship game. They lost to North Allegheny, 21-14, at Heinz Field. That run included a rematch with Upper St. Clair in the semifinals, this time a 42-20 Woodland Hills victory.
“He was unbelievable,” Novak said. “He was one of the hardest workers we’ve ever had. In the offseason, in the weight room, strong, strong legs, strong upper body.”
Novak said when Sanders burst through the front seven, he would just outrun everyone.
“He was faster than most of the secondary guys he played against,” Novak said.
Woodland Hills won 39 games in four seasons with Sanders, and he finished his high school career with 4,573 yards, fifth in WPIAL history.