Wolverines quarterback Milton enjoys Florida homecoming as Michigan preps for Alabama
By Joseph Salvador, Florida Citrus Sports
ORLANDO, Fla. — Joe Milton stood in the warmth of a December morning in Florida and spoke of the reason he chose to attend Michigan over one of the offers he received from schools closer to home.
“The snow,” said the Orlando-grown quarterback. “I’m used to it now instead of having to wait for the NFL and adjust to it. I’d rather get used to it now than later.”
Milton has big dreams, and Monday was a good place and time for it: As the 6-foot-5 redshirt freshman spoke to media, children around him rode roller coasters and go-karts as part of the Vrbo Citrus Bowl Day for Kids at Fun Spot America. Ahead of Michigan’s matchup against Alabama on Wednesday, one player from each team was paired with one child from the local community and they all spent the morning together.
“An event like this does a lot for me,” Milton said. “It helps me give back to people in need or people who want to be around people like us. I’m from around this area here, it’s very exciting.”
A lot about Milton’s 2020 is very exciting. He’s got 40 friends and family coming to Wednesday’s game at Camping World Stadium, a short drive from Olympia High School, where he built a library of YouTube highlights as a star for the Titans in high school. Michigan starting quarterback Shea Patterson is leaving after facing Alabama, and so the Orlando native will compete for next year’s starting job against Dylan McCaffrey.
It will not be easy, as McCaffrey has more game experience. Milton has appeared in eight games in his two years and thrown 12 passes as a Wolverine. Still, his skill-set have not gone unnoticed by his teammates.
Put simply, Milton has a cannon.
“He’s a great team player, a great quarterback, and he hasn’t gotten his shot yet, but when he does he’s going to take off with it and help us to win,” Michigan linebacker Cameron McGrone said.
Milton is preparing off the field as well. In order to further his development as a leader, he took courses on the subject.
“I took a lot of leadership classes over the summer and this semester, basically just trying to find out what bad leaders do, so I can improve on the things I need to work on as a leader,” Milton said.
Part of that is patience and loyalty. Milton said that despite being away from home and having to wait for his shot, he hasn’t considered other schools.
“I haven’t looked anywhere else, I’ve remained humble and true to God,” he said. “Nothing’s been on my mind to go somewhere else. If you stay patient and humble, it’s going to come one day.”
Meanwhile, he’ll happily take a day at the park — and a day without snow.
“It feels great,” Milton said. “The weather, the humidity, things like that feel great for me.”