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Football: Woodland Hills star ranks among nation's elite

Written by Brad Everett on .

One of the top juniors in the country hails from the WPIAL.

Woodland Hills running back Miles Sanders was named the No. 42 overall player in the nation when Rivals.com announced its first Class of 2016 rankings Monday. Sanders ranked as the country's No. 4 running back and the only player from the WPIAL to make the Top 100.

Sanders became the first junior to commit to Penn State earlier this month, choosing the Nittany Lions over a list of scholarship offers that included Pitt, Michigan, Michigan State and Nebraska.

It's a combination of power, speed and elusiveness that has caught the eye of many coaches and talent evaluators. Sanders is 6-foot, 195 pounds, runs a 4.39 40-yard dash and has benched pressed 300 pounds.

"Every running back is different," Woodland Hills coach George Novak told the Post-Gazette recently. "Some guys are power backs. They run into people coming at them. Some have moves. They have different moves to get by people. Some guys shoot speed and outrun [defenses]. The thing about Miles is he does all three. He has great natural instincts and great vision."

A starter since his freshman season, Sanders has rushed for 1,705 yards and 26 touchdowns, this despite missing several games each season because of injuries. He's had seven efforts of 100-plus yards, including five last season. He finished last season with 1,064 yards and 14 touchdowns on 128 carries (8.3 yards per carry).

Woodland Hills opens the season at Peters Township.