Joe Milton, Wolverine

Joe Milton, Wolverine


May 7, 2017

Joe Milton (image via Detroit News)

Olympia (FL) Olympia quarterback Joe Milton committed to Michigan on Sunday. He picked the Wolverines over offers from Florida, Georgia, LSU, and Miami, among others.

247 Sports lists Milton at 6’6″, 222 lbs., and he lists a 4.69 forty. He led Olympia to a 6-5 record in 2016, and he plays against some very good talent in the Orlando area, including the alma maters of Eddie McDoom (West Orange), Greg Mathews (Edgewater), and numerous other Michigan targets over the years. In 2016 he was 82/178 for 1,573 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions.

RATINGS
ESPN: 4-star, 83 grade, #8 dual-threat QB, #124 overall
Rivals: 4-star, #6 dual-threat QB, #113 overall
Scout: 3-star, #29 QB
247 Sports: 4-star, 90 grade, #12 pro-style QB, #279 overall

Hit the jump for more on Milton’s commitment.

When Milton was offered by Michigan, he was considered to be a strong Florida lean. He took a visit to Michigan for the spring game in mid-April, and I heard varied reports afterward. One report said Michigan’s coaching staff gave more attention to Milton than Dorian Thompson-Robinson, the supposed #1 target at the position; the other report said that Michigan’s coaching staff purposefully kept the two quarterbacks separate on their visit, to prevent one from sullying the experience for the other. Every report, though, said Michigan was extremely impressed with Milton and vice versa. Shortly after the visit, it became a “when, not if” situation in regard to Milton committing. One pull for him was that his cousin, Anquan Boldin, played wide receiver for Jim Harbaugh with the San Francisco 49ers. I put my 247 Crystal Ball on Michigan in the meantime, and it finally came to fruition after a little less than a month.

I wrote a scouting report on Michigan’s quarterback targets back in March (LINK). You can see that I ranked Milton #6 of the offered prospects, but keep in mind that Jim Harbaugh has better taste in quarterbacks than the good ol’ days of Al Borges. I still think Milton has a great deal of potential, but he’s not as polished as several of the other guys on the list. I made the comparison – and others have run with it – that Milton looks like an approximation of Devin Gardner. I think Gardner was a better overall athlete – after all, he started at wide receiver for a bit – but Milton offers some ability as a runner and has a stronger arm.

Milton will enter college with a roster presumed to include Wilton Speight (RS Sr.), Brandon Peters (RS So.), and Dylan McCaffrey (RS Fr.). Speight could very well have two years of starting under his belt, and Peters has been pushing from behind. That means Milton should be able to redshirt as a freshman, and then the battle will be on with Peters and McCaffrey for the starting gig in 2019. The Wolverines are also looking to add a second quarterback in the 2018 class, and there’s a good possibility that it will be Tyler Shough, who plans to visit next weekend.

TTB Rating: 88 (ratings explanation)

42 comments

  1. Comments: 55
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    umfarnn
    May 07, 2017 at 9:41 PM

    I feel as a recruit, Morris is a better comparison than Gardner who was considered a dual threat QB out of HS. Strong arm, plus athlete for a pro style QB, and accuracy issues. Morris seemed to stop progressing after he committed to Michigan for a variety of reasons, will be interesting to see how Milton progresses with the camps this summer and in the fall, as well as under Harbaugh in AA.

  2. Comments: 974
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    May 07, 2017 at 10:40 PM

    I like him. Granted, I’m no recruiting expert, but other than his stats, I’ve read a lot of good things from various coaches out there

    Glad to have him, GO BLUE

  3. Painter Smurf
    Comments: 253
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    Painter Smurf
    May 07, 2017 at 11:34 PM

    Cardale Jones part two. Nice tools, monster frame. Less refined than the previous two QB recruits, but great for a class with two QB’s.

    • Comments: 107
      Joined: 10/22/2015
      SinCityBlue
      May 08, 2017 at 12:09 PM

      I like this comp the best. What a huge kid. Definitely would rather push him out of bounds than tackle him…

  4. Comments: 1154
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Roanman
    May 08, 2017 at 8:51 AM

    Oooff!!! 88 is pretty good.

    • OVOXO
      Comments: 5
      Joined: 12/29/2016
      OVOXO
      May 08, 2017 at 12:22 PM

      Exactly my thought. Especially since he was only ranked #6 in Thunder’s previous ranking of offered prospects.

      • Thunder
        Comments: 2626
        Joined: 7/13/2015
        May 08, 2017 at 12:44 PM

        FWIW, #1 (Trevor Lawrence) probably would have received a TTB Rating of 100, and roughly 3 of the next 4 probably would have been placed in the 90s. Not only is it a talented pool of quarterbacks, but they would get top-notch coaching at Michigan.

  5. Ezeh-E
    Comments: 7
    Joined: 8/15/2015
    Ezeh-E
    May 08, 2017 at 9:10 AM

    Thoughts as to whether or not he might get situational snaps in year 2-3 if he is solid and Peters/McCaffrey is starting?

    I know he’s not the Belldozer, but Harbaugh seems to find ways to use each player’s strength and get them on the field.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 2626
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      May 08, 2017 at 9:29 AM

      I wouldn’t put it past Harbaugh to use him in some fashion (after all, he used Morris for toss lead sweeps), but I don’t think Milton is the type of athlete who necessitates that type of usage. He might get some backup snaps in blowout games, but I think it’s more likely that someone else takes direct snaps, like Jabrill Peppers did.

  6. Comments: 163
    Joined: 12/19/2015
    Extrajuice
    May 08, 2017 at 11:30 AM

    I was hoping for Shough, but I understand the commitment. I seriously doubt they get another 4-star QB in this class after Milton’s pledge. Just doesn’t happen very often, especially with limited scholarships and 2 highly ranked QB’s still sitting on the bench.

    Thunder, is your rating number based on the the potential ceiling of a player AFTER getting coaching from the likes of Harbaugh and company or is this 88 based on where you would have projected him had he gone to another school like LSU or Perdue? Just seems like your rating seems high considering how raw he seems.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 2626
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      May 08, 2017 at 11:59 AM

      TTB Ratings only apply to a Michigan player’s career. How he would do at LSU, USC, FAU, etc. is irrelevant.

      Shough is still a possibility.

  7. Lanknows
    Comments: 3881
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    May 08, 2017 at 1:07 PM

    Best guess – will Michigan actually sign another QB?

    I say nah.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 2626
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      May 08, 2017 at 1:13 PM

      I think so, yes. We’re down two quarterbacks this off-season with the departures of Malzone and Morris. We’ll lose at least one next off-season in O’Korn. You want to have about 5, and Milton puts us at 4 for 2018.

      • Comments: 163
        Joined: 12/19/2015
        Extrajuice
        May 08, 2017 at 1:26 PM

        Possibly, but it will be some kind of 3-star, 6’1′, dual threat QB that will ultimately re-position to CB or WR. I think there’s already a guy like that we offered but his name escapes me. I really hope Shough come to UM. He’s my pick for best QB with UM offers.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3881
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          May 08, 2017 at 1:28 PM

          I always like these kind of players.

        • Thunder
          Comments: 2626
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          May 08, 2017 at 6:02 PM

          There’s a kid named James Graham like that. I would be totally okay with him being the second QB.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3881
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        May 08, 2017 at 1:33 PM

        I think 5 is the target from a development perspective not necessarily a depth perspective. You want 1 guy every class so you can red-shirt.

        I think Michigan will offer the guys they like but I don’t think they’ll reach for a second QB just to hit a number for depth’s sake.

        Extrajuice’s scenario may be the most likely.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3881
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Jun 19, 2017 at 4:03 PM

        With Shough off the table do you still think M takes a second QB?

        On a related note:

        It’s interesting to me how blown-up (some fans’) perceptions of Harbaugh’s QB-recruiting have become. The results have been pretty average by Michigan standards, at least on paper (and that’s all we have for now).

        Harbaugh’s landed the #16, #9, #6, #14, and #20 ranked QBs across 4 classes. I don’t think any of them were a first choice (though McCaffrey and Peters weren’t too far off).

        While that’s certainly respectable it doesn’t seem like much of an upgrade to what Hoke and Rodriguez got (at least on paper) and it’s a step down from the Carr pinnacle.

        Just interesting that some perceive this to be such an advantage for M. It seems to me the advantage thusfar lies in development far moreso than talent acquisition. (Rudock’s late season improvement, Speight’s sophomore leap.)

        • Thunder
          Comments: 2626
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Jun 19, 2017 at 4:27 PM

          I don’t know if they’ll take a second QB or not. I think they should. James Graham or Michael Barrett would suffice, IMO, since they’re Wildcat-type guys, with Graham being the better QB option.

          I agree about the QB recruiting to an extent, but these guys are better than Morris, Bellomy, etc., and by a wide margin. It’s probably a step down from peak Carr, but you’re also talking about a Michigan team that was a national championship contender for a decent portion of the 1990s and early 2000s. Michigan had roughly a decade of muddling around from 2005 (7-5) to 2014 (5-7), and Harbaugh is just getting out of that. Carr didn’t have to deal with those kinds of lingering issues about the direction of the program.

          I think this also goes back to our argument about recruiting vs. development. If you can’t develop your guys, did you do a good job of recruiting? If you can develop your guys, then I would argue that you did a good job of recruiting. For example, whether Jim Harbaugh recruits the #1 or #40 pro-style QB, it was a good job of recruiting if he gets that guy to play at an All-Big Ten or All-American level.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3881
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Jun 19, 2017 at 8:16 PM

            Morris was the #3 composite rank QB. The guys we got will probably be better players (not saying much) but if you compare apples to apples at the same point in their career’s it’s a step down.

            I think when you recruit guys like Peppers, Gary, Henne, Hart — development doesn’t matter so much. The development/talent coin can land on either end. Both matter.

            To your last point I agree – it’s all about the results. If Speight is the all-conference caliber QB I think he can be under Harbaugh, the conversation is moot. I

            I’m just seeing a lot of confidence in QB talent from our fanbase that IMO seems misguided. Nobody Michigan is getting is scaring anyone in Columbus. Nobody is obviously better than Mallet, Gardner, or Morris were as recruits.

            • Comments: 1154
              Joined: 8/13/2015
              Roanman
              Jun 20, 2017 at 6:55 AM

              I never saw Mallet’s film, so I can’t speak to him, but I saw Gardner and a lot of Morris. both of those guys were widely suspected to be seriously overrated as QB prospects.

              Morris had the big comeback game as a sophomore against somebody … I can’t remember … I’m thinking CC or Rice and made a big reputation early. Then he hit the camps really, really hard. If you remember it was a big deal when, having failed once or twice previously, he finally made it to The Opening or Elite 11 or whatever the QB thing was then. The comment on him was always, “What an arm, he’ll be great if he can improve on his accuracy.” People knew he had a problem. When he got sick, his rating was propped up by his commitment to Michigan. And of course, it never happened for him.

              Gardner was to nobody’s way of thinking a big time pocket passing prospect. He clearly needed to be in a system in which he could run it and then pull in linebackers and safeties. When he drew the mellifluous moron to scheme our offense, he was toast from the day he stepped on the field.

              Peters and McCaffrey are both significantly better prospects than either of those guys and are widely acknowledged as such. Particularly in light of the system they are coming into.

            • Lanknows
              Comments: 3881
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Jun 20, 2017 at 10:57 AM

              @Roanman

              This is revisionist history and I think you know it.

              4 years from now you’ll say it was “widely known” that McCaffrey is too skinny and raw or that Peters lacks either elite arm strength or elite running ability. Pick whatever doubts you want – they exist for all but the true blue-chip prospects like Gary and Peppers.

              Easy to pick guys apart in retrospect.

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 3881
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Jun 20, 2017 at 11:05 AM

                I think another way you can look at recruiting success (beyond offers and rankings) is who the top targets are. Michigan under Harbaugh has generally lost theirs to schools like Stanford, USC, UCLA and maybe some SEC powers. Gardner and Morris were both top targets from what I recall — that they came probably has more to do with the fact that they were Michigan natives than any recruiting tactics on the coaches part. That doesn’t change the outcome – you either get your guy or you don’t.

                • Thunder
                  Comments: 2626
                  Joined: 7/13/2015
                  Jun 20, 2017 at 11:30 AM

                  Meh. I don’t think that’s very relevant. If Michigan’s top guy is from Los Angeles, obviously you’re going to have a lower chance of winning that battle than if he’s from Inkster or Warren or Detroit or Bloomfield Hills. Harbaugh recruits more nationally and sends out more offers, so he’s naturally going to miss more. Hoke was big on recruiting Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, etc.

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 3881
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Jun 20, 2017 at 4:13 PM

                  QB offers are highly selective. Generally the top target gets the first offer and others have to wait. You saw that this year with the kid who went to UCLA. Milton and Shaugh had to wait. Same is happening now with the top targets in 19 and 20.

              • Thunder
                Comments: 2626
                Joined: 7/13/2015
                Jun 20, 2017 at 11:31 AM

                I’ll split the difference. There were some big concerns about Morris (accuracy, health, football IQ, inability to make the Elite 11, etc.). Gardner was considered to be an elite prospect, and I don’t think there were many doubts about him.

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 3881
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Jun 20, 2017 at 4:11 PM

                  You’re right about Morris – and his offer list reflected the concerns. Of course this was roundly dismissed by most Michigan fans because he was always a Michigan lock (nevermind the other Michigan locks getting offered). The optimism was generally doubled down upon in the whole rush to get him on the field to replace Gardner.

          • Painter Smurf
            Comments: 253
            Joined: 8/12/2015
            Painter Smurf
            Jun 20, 2017 at 6:20 AM

            QB recruiting has definitely changed. I think the prospects have realized that an easy path to getting on the field trumps the team you play for. So the top QB prospects seem to spread out over a wider group of schools nowadays. And getting a top kid to be the second QB in a class seems like a tough sell, unless there is immediate playing time on the table.

            • Comments: 974
              Joined: 1/19/2016
              je93
              Jun 20, 2017 at 9:01 AM

              Unless you’re SC or Georgia

  8. Comments: 1154
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Roanman
    Jun 20, 2017 at 3:35 PM

    Lanky.

    Not revisionist at all. The people who watched both those kids throw, all knew that they were nice prospects with a chance, but both had big items to overcome. I stood there on a number of occasions with coaches and trainers watching Morris, Malzone, and Gino WhaterverhisnamewaswenttoRutgers throw the football. The conversation regarding our two guys always went the same. Morris better find some touch and really improve his accuracy and Malzone is pretty small. More than one guy I spoke with marveled at Morris’ 5 star ranking.

    Everybody knew Gardiner needed to be on a spread team including Gardiner, which is why he worked out periodically at wide receiver.

    That you, along with the rest of the Michigan faithful bought the hype on those guys is understandable, I would have too but for having kids the right age to cause me to be there, see some kids and meet some guys who new what they were looking at. Actually with regards to Morris, it was pretty plain that he had just a raft of work to do on everything other than throwing it through a wall.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 2626
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Jun 20, 2017 at 4:01 PM

      Rescigno is the other De La Salle QB you’re thinking of.

      On a side note, I always thought Gardner had the chops to be a pro-style QB. I don’t think he needed to be in a spread offense a la Rich Rodriguez, but it could have worked. I actually thought Borges did a good job of utilizing Gardner, but he, Hoke, and Nussmeier didn’t develop enough guys around him, particularly on the OL.

      • Comments: 1154
        Joined: 8/13/2015
        Roanman
        Jun 20, 2017 at 4:47 PM

        I am prepared to concede the possibility of hatred when it comes to
        Al Borges.

        Nice speaking voice tho.

      • Painter Smurf
        Comments: 253
        Joined: 8/12/2015
        Painter Smurf
        Jun 20, 2017 at 6:14 PM

        I always thought Gardner was a sandlot player, not too dissimilar from Forcier. Not sure there is any one system he could have excelled in. Gardner had no feel for zone read, and he always struggled with timing patterns. Confident that Gardner would have washed up under Harbaugh. Almost think his best shot would have been in a Big 12 style offense with quick rhythm throws and draws. My two cents anyway.

        • Thunder
          Comments: 2626
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Jun 20, 2017 at 8:57 PM

          You bite your tongue! Devin Gardner was on the pathway to superstardom until Brady Hoke and his 2013 offensive line ruined everything!

          • Comments: 1154
            Joined: 8/13/2015
            Roanman
            Jun 20, 2017 at 9:06 PM

            After Denard, Gardiner is the kid I feel sorry for. He deserved a better program.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3881
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Jun 20, 2017 at 9:14 PM

            I think this is intended as sarcasm, but it’s how I feel.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3881
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Jun 20, 2017 at 4:24 PM

      My point is you can pick apart any guy. Peters and McCaffrey are good prospects but not sure things or not without their areas of concerns. If they fail (and it’s likely that at least one does) it will be obvious in retrospect. Much harder to say RIGHT NOW that guy X will be a stud and guy Y will be gone.

      I agree with you that Morris ranking was most dubious amongst the people we are talking about, but consensus opinion (especially in the fanbase) was very high. This continued well into his years at Michigan. Not every fan wanted Morris to replace Gardner (despite available evidence to the contrary), but many did – based on recruiting profile.

      Disagree with you about Gardner. He moved to WR because he was behind Denard and wanted to play.

      For the record: I was never convinced on Morris. My comment from the TTB commitment post “While we like to think we know who the QB will be, the assumed Gardner to Morris transition may be more like the Driesbach to Henson transition, where the less hyped recruits in between become like Griese and Brady. So don’t underplay Bellomy or the 2012 class QB just because you like how Gardner and Morris look in high school.”

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3881
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Jun 20, 2017 at 4:25 PM

      Those concerns on Morris also go for Milton – no?

      He’s part of the “LOOK AT ALL THE QB TALENT” picture that I’m reading and that, apparently, you are advocating.

      • Comments: 1154
        Joined: 8/13/2015
        Roanman
        Jun 20, 2017 at 4:42 PM

        I think Milton is another tight end. I would be pleased to be wrong on this one. If you recall, my comment on Milton when he first showed up on our radar was, “Hope he can catch.” I think he’s got a chance as a QB. He for damn sure has the big arm. But I wouldn’t put much money out there on him becoming the guy. I am pulling for him tho.

        I really like both Peters and McCaffrey. I think they both have real nice arms, show some consistency in their motions, can make the throws and are pretty accurate. The best news is that they will be looking at each other for the foreseeable future.

      • Thunder
        Comments: 2626
        Joined: 7/13/2015
        Jun 20, 2017 at 4:46 PM

        FWIW, I think Milton sees the field better than Morris. I said all the way back when Morris was an underclassman that he had trouble seeing the whole field, only looked to his left, and locked onto his receivers. And those concerns were on top of the inaccuracy issue.

        • Painter Smurf
          Comments: 253
          Joined: 8/12/2015
          Painter Smurf
          Jun 20, 2017 at 6:08 PM

          Morris only looked good as a soph, and that soph performance plus his arm strength were enough to maintain his lofty recruiting service rankings. He looked mediocre as a JR and SR, and his mono is only a partial excuse.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3881
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Jun 20, 2017 at 9:31 PM

        They can’t all be successful but I like them all (except Malzone). I have high faith in Harbaugh QB development given his expansive resume. I would feel the same way if he had 3-star guys.

        I don’t think the talent level is anything unusual for Michigan though. Room for improvement to land their top targets. Perhaps in ’19 or ’20 it’ll happen.

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