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?
— Darth Burrito (@TisActuallyJohn) May 7, 2017
Oh, right: Michigan.
|3*, #29 QB||
4*, #6 QB-DT,
4*, 83, #8 QB-DT,
4*, 90, #16 QB-PRO,
4*, #10 QB-PRO,
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.]
So, the arm-cannon:
Strike from Joe Milton. Good ball. pic.twitter.com/aB2Th3Sxpr
— SB Nation Recruiting (@SBNRecruiting) March 25, 2017
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: