Hello: Joe Milton

Submitted by Ace on May 7th, 2017 at 8:39 PM

With a top-notch, Hendrix-featuring video, four-star Orlando (FL) Olympia quarterback Joe Milton committed to Michigan this evening. The Pahokee native made quite an impression on Michigan's coaching staff this spring, which included a visit for M's spring game:

"Holy specimen" is the phrase I was given the other night to describe Orlando (FL) Olympia four-star quarterback Joe Milton, who is on Michigan's campus this weekend for an unofficial visit.

"Manchild" is another phrase uttered around Schembechler as well.

When Dorian Thompson-Robinson committed to UCLA, and perhaps even beforehand, the staff made Milton their top priority at quarterback, and it paid off in a commitment that's been rumored to be around the corner ever since.

Milton is the ideal quarterback to take in a class following Brandon Peters and Dylan McCaffrey: a development prospect with absurd upside. Hey Joe, where you goin' with that cannon in your hand?

Oh, right: Michigan.

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
3*, #29 QB 4*, #6 QB-DT,
#113 Ovr
4*, 83, #8 QB-DT,
#124 Ovr
4*, 90, #16 QB-PRO,
#271 Ovr
4*, #10 QB-PRO,
#243 Ovr

Milton's rankings are a bit scattered, which isn't a huge surprise for a relatively raw prospect at this stage in the process. Scout is the low outlier by some distance, which I'd bet a dollar will change before too long.

Milton has ideal size for the position. He measured in at 6'4.5", 222 pounds at the Opening Orlando regional.

[Hit THE JUMP for scouting, video, and more.]

SCOUTING

So, the arm-cannon:

Hello.

That's how you end up with headlines like this:

2018 QB Joe Milton's arm fires heat-seeking missiles

The exploding ball from his commitment video may not have required any editing.

While Milton is listed as a dual-threat on a couple sites, he's more of a pocket passer with plus athleticism—he considers himself a pocket passer, and on film it's clear he looks to throw first. ESPN, one of the sites in question, even uses a phrase usually reserved for when a pocket-passing statue is ignored by the defense and rumbles to the first down marker:

Strengths: Big, great looking passer and runner. Can drive the ball with a powerful arm and motion. Deceptively athletic, can create and make plays on his own. Can make difficult throws to all areas of the field even when off balance. Areas of Improvement: Can be erratic with his accuracy. Hot and cold. Must become more disciplined in his lower body. Bottomline: This kid has real talent coupled with ideal measurables and athleticism. Can do things effortlessly and is difficult to handle when on the move.

Every Milton scouting report reads similarly to the above: great measurables, artillery piece attached to shoulder, needs to further calibrate said artillery piece.

Scout's Greg Powers after the Pylon 7-on-7 Southeast regional:

QB Joe Milton - Milton was one of if not the most physically imposing player at the whole tournament. Has a rocket of an arm.

Rivals' Adam Gorney after the Adidas 7-on-7 championships:

Joe Milton could end up being one of the more debated quarterbacks in this class because he’s a physical specimen with an elite arm but he’s still raw and needs some polishing.

The Orlando (Fla.) Olympia four-star quarterback can zip the ball almost like no other quarterback seen at this tournament, but he also struggled timing up with his receivers and putting touch on some throws that needed it.

Still at 6-foot-5, Milton is a tremendously athletic recruit who could be special down the line and he showed off some impressive abilities throughout the weekend.

Woody Wommack after a Rivals camp in Orlando in which Milton earned an invite to their elite Five-Star Challenge camp:

When Milton is at his best, he throws one of the best balls in the country and the only knock on him Sunday was some inconsistency. But in terms of raw potential, there might not have been a player at any position at the camp with more than Milton.

There have been a couple camps when Milton put it all together, as he was in another 7-on-7 tournament at IMG in March:

When Joe Milton is on - he's on - and he was on Saturday. The Orlando Olympia four-star quarterback made a number of impressive throws including one 45-yard toss across the field where he beat the safety to the boundary and hit a wide receiver in stride for a touchdown.

He had a similarly strong performance at the Under Armour Orlando camp in February, per Scout's John Garcia:

Milton has been vocal about his goals at local camps, to get recognized by the hosting staff, and he showed improvement from one week to the next like Campbell did. But this rising-senior is a quarterback and camp efforts at the position are all about consistency. From drills to one-on-ones even through seven-on-seven work, Milton was the creme of the Orlando crop on Sunday. He is physically impressive on the hoof, tall and well put-together, but his arm was fluid with a quick release through the afternoon.

Milton's potential is obvious in the reports and on tape; he makes some mind-boggling throws. As his high school stats show, he's still got a ways to go before he's ready to pilot a Power 5 offense; he completed under 50% of his passes in each of the last two seasons. If he puts it all together, he could be a top-five NFL draft pick; if he can't refine his accuracy, he could struggle to see the field.

Given Michigan's young depth at quarterback, not to mention the distinct possibility they add another QB to the class, they can afford the risk that Milton doesn't pan out under Jim Harbaugh's tutelage—and if he does, watch out.

OFFERS

Milton chose Michigan over Florida and Georgia, which both pursued him heavily. He also holds offers from Louisville, LSU, Miami (YTM), Tennessee, Arizona, Indiana, Kansas State, Mississippi State, Mizzou, Oregon State, Pitt, South Carolina, and Syracuse, among others. Milton doesn't have the offer sheet of a no-doubt top-tier QB, but it's still a strong list.

HIGH SCHOOL

While Olympia competes in Florida's largest classification, they haven't produced a ton in the way of college prospects; according to the Rivals database, which dates back to 2002, Milton is the first four-star prospect to come out of the program.

STATS

Milton has complete sophomore and junior stats listed on his MaxPreps page. He went 82-for-178 (46%) for 1543 yards (8.7 YPA) with 17 TDs and 7 INTs as a junior. I think his school is counting sacks against his rushing totals, because he's listed as running for 42 yards and 3 TDs on 56 carries with a long of 31.

FAKE 40 TIME

Milton has a camp-verified 4.80 40 time, which gets zero FAKEs out of five. He's got good, not elite, straight-line athleticism.

VIDEO

Junior highlights are very much worth your time:

Sophomore highlights and single-game reels can be found on his Hudl page.

PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE

One thing is certain: Milton is going to require at least a couple years of seasoning before he's ready to see the field, and a redshirt is all but guaranteed. With Brandon Peters looking poised to take over the starting job after Wilton Speight departs (and perhaps even beforehand), Milton would compete against Dylan McCaffrey and any other QBs on campus when the job opens up in 2020 or 2021.

From there, it's anyone's guess, though you have to think that if anyone can get Milton to reach his ceiling, it's Jim Harbaugh.

UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS

Michigan isn't done at quarterback for the 2018 class. They've told QB targets they want to take two, with the likely candidate for the second spot being three-star Arizona prospect Tyler Shough, who will be on campus next weekend and is on the record as being fine with the possibility of competing with another QB in the class.

Milton's commitment moves Michigan up to 13th in the composite team rankings. Here's the class as it currently stands:

Comments

Wolfman

May 7th, 2017 at 11:22 PM ^

"I bet Milton has been in touch with Anquan Bolden regarding Harbaugh. In fact Bolden may've played for both Harbaugh's."

He did, indeed, have a conversation with Anquan about Jim Harbaugh. And never once did the subject matter, "coach, great coach qb coach" anything of that nature come up. What did come up and to which Anquan spoke is, "Jim Harbaugh is a great person who holds the welfare of his players first and foremost. I think it was obvious certain parts of their converstation such as what I mentioned was not included were given and had been discussed before. But I think this speaks to the young man's maturity. Knowing what Jim had to to offer in all that he could benefit from as to football, what he could be taught, how he could be better prepped for the NFL when that day arrives, etc., he wanted to know about the man and whethr or not his players were a means to end for him and his personal agenda or if he would be treated in the manner he desired. Our coach, it appears, has conducted himself far better toward his players than many members of the media would have you believe. One does not get tired of being treated with respect daily. In fact, I think that woud be much rarer than the opposite in the NFL. 

Magnus

May 7th, 2017 at 9:06 PM ^

Anyway, I like this pickup for Michigan. You have a couple guys on the roster who are coming along nicely and/or who are polished, and now you can take a couple years to develop someone who might end up being great. Milton has a stronger arm than anyone else Harbaugh has had a chance to work with, except perhaps Shane Morris.

I Like Burgers

May 7th, 2017 at 10:42 PM ^

Shane was the first QB I thought of when reading that Hello post.  Lots of similarities: cannon for an arm, has some good mobility, struggles with accuracy and touch.

The good news for Joe is he has Harbaugh to work with him instead of Gorgeous Borges. So that's a plus.

Kevin13

May 8th, 2017 at 10:10 AM ^

Milton's film and think he has a much higher ceiling then DTR.  GIve Harbaugh and Pep a couple of years with this kid and he could develop into something very speical. Nothing else you can't teach that size and with his athleticisim he doesn't make it as a QB, I think he could contribute somwhere else.

Oh Deer

May 7th, 2017 at 9:08 PM ^

Safe to say that arm strength won't be a problem with Joe. WOW! His mechanics, however, yikes. Will be fun to see what he turns into under Harbaugh.

Jeff09

May 7th, 2017 at 9:16 PM ^

Awesome commitment video. Didn't know the youngins still listened to Jimi. Excited to see what he can do in ~4 years, haha. Welcome to the family!

Leroys Horde

May 7th, 2017 at 9:20 PM ^

That cannon...  A few of those plays I think the DBs just gave up and were like "Nah it's cool, nobody can throw a footbal this far."

I also liked on quite a few of those plays that he passed up the 5-10 yard run for a great downfield pass.

GotBlueOnMyMind

May 7th, 2017 at 9:33 PM ^

Hi recruiting profile reminds me of Shane Morris. Elite arm strength and plus athleticism, but appears to need work on fundamentals and consistency. Hopefully, being coached by Harbaugh from the start will enable Milton to reach his potential

alum96

May 7th, 2017 at 9:59 PM ^

"Feels" like Cardale Jones who goes to school (I know, I know - I saw the update earlier today) but that type of QB who is big strong, cannon arm, accuracy could be in question, mobile but not a "run first guy" but will truck you if he hits you once he gets 10-15 lbs in college S&C.

Wolfman

May 7th, 2017 at 11:11 PM ^

Seems like a match made in heaven, "If you get that ball close to him, meaning the throw does not have to be on the money, can, in fact preferably, be outside the reach of defenders which does not mean it is outside the reach of DPJ and chances are he'll come down with it. I like it. 

M-Dog

May 7th, 2017 at 10:04 PM ^

Michigan beat out Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee for a kid from central Florida.

Just another day in the Harbaugh office.

 

EconClassof14

May 7th, 2017 at 10:13 PM ^

Glad Joe saw how much Harbaugh's teaching will help him develop into his NFL potential. It's much better for him to he here rather than being just another raw QB who never pans out at a QB graveyard like LSU or Florida. 

 

Fezzik

May 8th, 2017 at 2:33 AM ^

I was thinking they are recruiting QBs like Peters beats out Speight this year. In this scenario Speight likely grad transfers and Malzone is rumored to be a transfer as well. O'Korn will be out of eligibility. That would leave RS Frosh Mcafferey as back up and true freshmen or walk ons as third string in 2018.

FatGuyTouchdown

May 8th, 2017 at 2:59 AM ^

likes to take 2 quarterbacks in a class. Especially if you take a complete project like Milton, it makes sense to double down on another QB. This prevents situations like Russell Bellomy against Nebraska. I'd imagine that after this year, they'll only have 3 scholarship QBs on the roster (not including the recruiting class).