2018 Season Countdown: #80 Joe Milton

2018 Season Countdown: #80 Joe Milton

June 24, 2018

Joe Milton (image via Orange Observer)

Name: Joe Milton
Height: 6’5″
Weight: 220 lbs.
High school: Pahokee (FL) Olympia
Position: Quarterback
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: #5
Last year: Milton was a senior in high school (LINK). He was 90/188 for 1,317 yards, 10 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions; he also ran 59 times for 262 yards and 5 touchdowns.

The quarterback position is a unique one in many ways, and one reason in college football is this: a whole year of recruiting goes by, and most schools only take one QB. So when you’re The Guy in any given class, the eyes of the world (in this case, the Michigan sphere plus some others) are upon you. There are only a few people who care about NFL quarterbacks once they drop past the second round or so, but every school gets a guy who is The Future. The current guy can’t get it done, but watch out for this rocket-armed, scrambly, laser-guided-missile dude we got out of Nowhere, Kentucky.

For Michigan in 2018, Nowhere, Kentucky is actually Olympia High School in Florida. And the rocket-armed, scrambly guy is an M1-A1 Abrams melted down and poured into the mold of a 6’5″, 220 lb. cyborg. Central casting in Hollywood ain’t got nothin’ on Joe Milton.

The problem is that, unlike Hollywood, Michigan only gets so many takes before errant passes turn into losses and the director gets fired. Milton never completed more than 50% of his passes in any of his three seasons as the varsity starter at Olympia, and his 10-to-6 TD-to-INT ratio isn’t very impressive for a guy headed to major college football. Reasons for this poor completion percentage range from “He’s flat-out inaccurate” to “He throws the ball too hard for his guys to catch” to “He doesn’t have a good supporting cast.” What’s the real answer, and does it matter? He’s on campus now, and Michigan has to make the best of it.

Aside from the bazooka attached to his right clavicle, Milton can run a little bit (rumors are he ran a 4.6 forty, though others say his fastest time is a 4.8). He’s also reported to be a Leader with a capital “L.” That leadership thing is something that has never been uttered about Brandon Peters, the guy who could be around for the next three years and has more snaps in a Michigan uniform than anybody else on the roster (hint: the other guys have zero combined). Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson might be a leader, but he might also be a one-year rental.

Will Milton play this year, or will he redshirt? Odds are he’ll stay on the sideline. Patterson will start unless something bizarre happens, and the backup role appears to be pretty neck-and-neck between Peters and redshirt freshman Dylan McCaffrey. The coaching staff seems to be high on Milton, but he’s unlikely to make the leap necessary to surpass those other guys in year one. I’m putting him here on the countdown, because he might be a valuable scout team quarterback, and you never know what will happen if injuries or bad attitudes infect the guys ahead of him on the depth chart.

But if you’re driving down Main Street one Saturday afternoon this fall and see a brown, oblong projectile headed for your windshield, this isn’t your Donnie Darko moment. It’s just that 52.1% of the time, the ball ends up in some unexpected places.

Prediction: Redshirt


  1. Avatar
    Comments: 1863
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    Jun 24, 2018 at 1:43 PM

    I seriously doubt the hype Milton is receiving

    Hopefully he’ll be an asset a few years from now, but in 2018 & 19, he should have a lot of clean up (and learningl to do

  2. cayman go blue
    Comments: 14
    Joined: 6/22/2018
    cayman go blue
    Jun 24, 2018 at 2:30 PM

    I think this is too low for Milton and here is why:

    the new redshirt rule is tailor made for a kid like this.

    I can almost guarantee you that the coaches are putting together a handful of packages for Milton. They will role him out for 4 games to see how it goes.

    I would put Joe around #65 since he will see the field in a limited capacity.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3849
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Jun 24, 2018 at 3:02 PM

      I don’t foresee Michigan creating packages for Joe Milton that other quarterbacks can’t run. He’s not a Wildcat-type quarterback. They could come up with a few plays that he just reps over and over, so they can get a look at him. I wouldn’t say that’s out of the realm of possibility. But I would come back to the idea that his presence wouldn’t be necessary for the success of the team. If the staff is going to do something like that, then they could just as easily come up with a package for Dylan McCaffrey. In fact, it would be a bit odd if they packaged some plays together for QB#4 if they didn’t do the same thing for QB#3, and McCaffrey is ahead of Milton, by all accounts.

      • cayman go blue
        Comments: 14
        Joined: 6/22/2018
        cayman go blue
        Jun 24, 2018 at 3:28 PM

        I am basing my comment on Sam Webb. He has mentioned some packages for Milton on multiple occasions. I assume that is coming from the coaches but could be his one speculation.

        The reason it could make sense for Milton but not Peters/McCaffrey is that they are projected to be the actual 2nd and 3rd QBs. They need to actually learn the entire playbook so they can run the offense if Patterson gets hurt or is ineffective.

        Milton is only an emergency QB option for 2018, so they can just rep him on a few plays that they can break out. If nothing else, maybe they can use him for a Hail Mary from their own 15 yard line 🙂

      • GKblue
        Comments: 359
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Jun 24, 2018 at 10:16 PM

        I can’t fault your logic Thunder, however this new liberal rule for redshirting opens up a new flexable way to treat freshmen.

        I do not think Milton is ready to handle the playbook or read defenses. Something like the use of a special package for him as encouragement and/or to pacify him probably is not too far out there. It will be interesting to track rosters and games played by freshmen in the future.

        One thing I surely hope for is that Peters or McCaffrey get game time as merited. I think they will be getting the serious snaps as backups this year with Patterson as the starter. Milton to redshirt.

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