The Wolverine

June/July 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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64 THE WOLVERINE JUNE/JULY 2017   COMMITMENT PROFILE Many Michigan fans were quite bummed out when Las Vegas Bishop Gorman four-star dual-threat quar- terback Dorian Thompson-Robinson committed to UCLA not long after visiting Ann Arbor for the spring game. That all changed May 7. Orlando (Fla.) Olympia four-star dual-threat quarterback Joe Milton pledged to the Wolverines via video and put a lot of U-M fans at ease about the quarter- back position moving forward. Listed at 6-5 and 210 pounds, Mil- ton is a specimen. He has been com- pared to Cam Newton because of his big body, huge arm and ability to run. Milton waited more than a month to commit, but he knew that it would be Michigan almost immediately after visiting for the spring game April 1. "Ohana means family, and family sticks together," Milton kept saying about his feelings for Michigan. "The coaches told me that I was their top target, and they said that they like everything that I do." Milton's connection with pass- ing game coordinator Pep Hamilton might've been the biggest factor in him picking Michigan. The two of them hit it off immediately and cre- ated that family feel. "My relationship with Coach Pep is great," Milton said. "We have a great connection. I just feel like our bond is great — you can't break it. But when it's time for him to be a coach and it's time for me to be a player it's all about business. "We were talking before my visit and we were already having a great connection. When I got up there we were on the same page, and we already knew what was going to happen and how it was going to feel. It was an intro- duction, but it didn't feel like it." Milton's seven-on- seven coach Keiwan R a t l i ff k n e w t h a t Michigan had posi- tioned itself very well once his quarterback returned to Florida. Ratliff didn't know exactly when Milton would commit, but was quite certain it would be Michigan when he did. "There's no doubt he loved it up there," Ratliff said. "I didn't speak to him much about the trip, but he was ready to commit once he left. I assumed that meant things went really well." There will always be some con- cern that Milton, being from Florida, could get cold feet figuratively and, perhaps cold feet literally, at Michi- gan, but those issues don't concern him. He wants to make it to the NFL and believes Harbaugh and Hamil- ton can help him do that. "I feel like Michigan is a great school and a great program," he said. "If I make it to the NFL I could end up go- ing somewhere that's cold and I think Michigan is a place that could get me used to the weather changing. With the NFL you never know where you're going to end up at." A high school ju- nior talking about the NFL might seem a bit extreme, but with Mil- ton's skill set and the coaching he'll receive at U-M it's not much of a stretch. Rivals.com na- tional analyst Mike Far- rell also thinks a pro- fessional career for the No. 6 dual-threat quar- terback and No. 113 overall prospect nationally is entirely possible if he puts it all together. "Size-wise he's there," Farrell said. "Look at a guy like Patrick Mahomes. He was the No. 10 pick in the draft recently — he's a big-armed kid, but he just couldn't stay in the pocket. "He didn't have a ton of talent around him, but he was always bail- ing out at the first sign of pressure and his launch angles were all over the place. However, he still put up crazy numbers because he was allowed to freelance, and his arm got him drafted. "Milton has a great arm, too. It's very premature, and his accuracy has to im- prove quite a bit, but build-wise, size- wise, mobility-wise and arm strength- wise, that's everything the NFL likes. He has a lot of developing to do, but when I see a guy like Mitchell Trubisky going so high after one season and a guy like Mahomes being picked so high based on his arm, Milton has NFL potential, there's no doubt about it." Milton completed 82 of 178 passes (46.1 percent) for 1,543 yards with 17 touchdowns and seven intercep- tions as a junior. He also rushed for 42 yards and seven scores in 2016. Olympia head coach Kyle Hayes says that Milton benches 240 pounds and squats 500, and recorded a 4.8 40-yard dash at Nike's regional camp in Orlando, Fla., earlier this spring. Despite solid measurables, Milton was not invited to The Opening fi- nals or The Elite 11. — Brandon Brown FILM EVALUATION Strengths: Joe Milton has great size at 6-5, 210 pounds and possesses a cannon for an arm. He has legitimate throws of 70-plus yards on his junior highlight tape and shows the ability to make all of the passes, whether it needs to be a fastball or a touch toss over the top. Throw in the fact that he's a phenomenal athlete who can be a legitimate run- ning threat on any play, and he's got the ability to be unstoppable in college. Areas Of Improvement: The major knock on Milton is his apparent lack of accuracy. He completed just 46.1 percent of his passes during his junior season, but a lot of that is a product of the offense he plays in. Because of his abilities, many of Milton's throws are beyond 30 yards down field, and the completion percentage therefore drops. He won't succeed in college with a completion percentage like that, but Jim Harbaugh and Pep Hamilton should be able to mold his elite natural skills into something much more serviceable. Michigan Player Comparison: Michigan has never had a quarterback quite like Milton but Devin Gardner is close. Gardner was a bit smaller and slightly more athletic, but definitely didn't have the Howitzer that Milton displays. Milton will also be playing for quarterback gurus, while Gardner definitely did not and likely didn't reach his full potential. — Analysis from TheWolverine.com Rivals rates Milton as the No. 6 dual-threat quarterback and No. 113 overall player in the country. PHOTO BY BRANDON BROWN Michigan Lands Its Quarterback In Four-Star Joe Milton

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