The Wolverine

March 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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MARCH 2018 THE WOLVERINE 51 saw Milton, the No. 11 dual-threat quarterback and No. 200 overall pros- pect nationally, up close twice during his prep career. "The first thing that you'll recognize about Joe is just his size. He's a big, strong kid with a big arm," Johnson explained. "He has a pretty dynamic personal- ity and is a good kid from everything that I've seen. When he gets on the field, again with that size, he's tough to deal with. He's a pass-first guy even though he's a great athlete. "He's not a Deshaun Watson or La- mar Jackson type of player who can take off and run on every play — he's a thrower first for sure." It's national re- cruiting director Mike Far- rell's job to find strengths and weaknesses in high school prospects, and he was able to nitpick Milton's game just a bit. "In college everything isn't going to be a bomb downfield," Farrell said. "Jim Harbaugh will have to work with him to show him and teach him pa- tience. He needs to learn that a check down is better than a jump-ball bomb. Harbaugh is a great quarterback teacher and should be able to get the best out of Milton." When asked about Milton, Har- baugh could barely contain his smile. He spoke of Milton's great work ethic, size and athleticism, and also told a funny story about his future quarter- back meeting U-M tight end Nick Eu- banks. "One of the times Joe was here, we were walking through Schembechler Hall, and we were just having a conversation. We stopped, and we were looking at something on the wall," Harbaugh de- scribed. "Nick Eubanks was walk- ing by; and I said, 'Hey, Nick, come here — meet Joe Milton.' Nick is a big guy, 6-5, bordering on 6-6, 235, 238. Joe's like 6-4.5, 6-5. 'I could tell when Nick walked over he was sizing him up. I said, 'Relax Nick, he's not a tight end, he's a quar- terback!' Smiles broke out. Joe Milton — I won't put any labels on him, but he's very impressive looking." Harbaugh is clearly excited to work with Milton because of that size, but also because of his approach and drive. "When you ask him to do some- thing or give him something to work on, he's doing it. Within a day or two we'd have a video of him doing it," Harbaugh said. "We're excited about Joe." ❏ Milton brings a stonrg arm and great size to the position at 6-5, 220 pounds. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM THEY SAID IT • U-M head coach Jim Harbaugh: "Joe has been blessed by mom, dad and God. He's very physically talented, and he's got a real fire to be great. Every time I'm around him he's working on something. Just walking through the hall in school he's working a move or a drop. He thinks about football all the time. He's got an unbelievable drive about him to be really great — I love that about Joe." • national recruiting director Mike Far- rell: "If Milton refines his skills and gets his accuracy together he can be very, very dangerous. He could also be a complete bust if it never clicks. Joe Milton is either going to be a 'wow' guy or someone who has all the talent in the world but can't put it together. It's very possible that three years from now we'll be looking at Joe Milton as Michigan's national championship quarterback." 2018 Projection Milton enrolled in January and will likely redshirt during his freshman season for development. He will be able to learn from rising junior Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson, rising redshirt sophomore Brandon Peters and rising redshirt freshman Dylan McCaffrey. Milton has a cannon for an arm and a ton of untapped potential, but the thought is that he wouldn't be ready to play as a true freshman in college — he won't have to at Michigan. He'll be able to learn and develop under the experienced players and quarterback gurus Jim Harbaugh and Pep Hamilton. Once he's mentally ready, he could be be- yond dynamic with his natural abili- ties and physical stature. It's entirely realistic that Milton won't see the field until at least 2020, but his tal- ent may be too much to ignore for that long. MARCH 2018 THE WOLVERINE 51

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