Miles Boykin explains how his brother inspires him
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Wide receiver Miles Boykin was the Notre Dame offensive player of the game last week against Ball State. He is most recognized for his one hand catch that led the team to a Citrus Bowl victory. Before that, he mostly flew under the radar.
Before being named Citrus Bowl MVP, Miles made just one start last season.
He has 3 career touchdown catches to date but none bigger than the 55 yard game winning score against LSU on January 1st.
A moment Miles appreciates because he knows it could any play could be his last.
"I can't take it for granted, anything that you do," Miles said.
He learned that appreciation when his older brother George had the game of football taken away from him in a split second.
In 2011, George was a tight end at Providence Catholic High School when he took a life changing hit at practice.
He suffered a serious head injury.
That was the last time George played football.
"It's very tough, because it also shows how hard this sport is to play. There are dangers that go along with this sport, I think we all know that. But just to see my own brother not be able to play the game that he loved anymore, it hit me hard, just as hard as it hit him," Miles said.
The following season Miles found a way to get George back onto the field in spirit. He changed his number from 20 to 81 - George's old number.
"I just asked him, 'Can I have 81 and wear it?' And he said 'Yeah' without hesitation, so ever since then I've never had a different number," Miles said.
"Every time he takes the field now, it gives me goosebumps because I know if he didn't approach me that time, he might not be wearing number 81," George said. "Honestly, I can't put it into words. It's a feeling that you only get when you have love within a family."
"Every time I step onto the field, I'm thinking of him, thinking of my family so it just means a lot to me to wear that number," Miles said.
Miles has made his big brother proud.
With hard work, patience and faith, George has recovered and even flourished.
Now the sky's the limit - literally. George is completing his master's degree in aviation with the goal of becoming a commercial pilot.
"My grandma, my uncle and my mom used to take me to the air show and we'd go see the planes and I was like 'I want to do this, I want to do that,'" George said. "It was a good opportunity to be introduced to aviation and ever since then I've been loving it."
"Now he's flying around, he does private flights already and he's flown to South Bend a couple times already so I'm just waiting for him to fly commercial and take me to Hawaii or something," Miles said.
For now, George is happy making the trip from Chicago to South Bend to see his brother play.
"We flew into South Bend and when we took off, we went right over Notre Dame Stadium which was pretty neat. Not a lot of people can say they did that unless they're in the Goodyear Blimp," George said.
Now in his senior year as Miles' career takes flight, he continues to be inspired by his brother.
"Any time you step onto the field, I always have him in my heart and always have him in my mind. Just thinking about this could be my last snap or anything. You can't take it for granted," Miles said.
George is just 4 classes away from finishing his master's degree in aviation and transportation from Lewis University. His dream is to fly for a commercial airline someday soon.