The best player in America? All the talk this season has been on Baker Mayfield, the Oklahoma quarterback that won the Heisman Trophy. There’s a reason for all of the talk and the guy is good.
But, unbeaten Central Florida quarterback McKenzie Milton has to be as good as anyone out there. The sophomore quarterback led his team to a surprising big win over the SEC West champion Auburn in the Peach Bowl and he looked really impressive doing it.
Milton made some incredible plays leading the Scarlet Knights to a big win. But, then, he’d been
doing that all season long.
When the UCF Knights went 0-12 in 2015, they went to Oregon and hired their offensive coordinator Scott Frost, the former Nebraska quarterback.
In his first recruiting class, Frost and staff signed 20 new players including a 2 star quarterback from Mililani, Hawaii. McKenzie Milton was not a 5 star recruit. He wasn’t even a 4 star, or a 3 star, he was ranked as a 2 star.
Scott Frost apparently sold Milton on what his coaching had done to Marcus Mariota at Oregon while he was their offensive coordinator. Milton traveled about halfway across the world and came to UCF in 2016.
It didn’t take long for Milton to move into the starting lineup as a true freshman. Milton started 10 games and helped the formerly hapless Knights win 6 games in the regular season and qualify for a bowl game. The Knights finished 6-7 and Milton threw for just under 2,000 yards and 10 touchdowns. Milton was listed as 5-11, 170 at the time which probably explains why the recruiting services had him as a 2 star recruit.
There were few expectations nationally for UCF coming into the 2017 season and they also don’t play much solid competition. Their most difficult opponent was 19th ranked Memphis and they beat them twice, the first time convincingly. They also beat up on Big 10 doormat Maryland. People may not have paid that much attention to the Knights until they did the same things against SEC power Auburn in the Peach Bowl.
McKenzie Milton looked like Superman most of the season throwing for 4,037 yards and 37
touchdowns as a true sophomore. He’s also very nimble and ran for a very Marcus Mariota like 613 yards and 8 touchdowns.
He was incredible in the American Athletic Conference championship game and a rematch with Memphis. He threw for an incredible 494 yards and 5 touchdowns. He also ran for 68 yards and another score. In all fairness, it was also his worst game because he threw 3 interceptions, which gave him 9 total on the season.
His other really impressive game came against Auburn in the Peach Bowl. Milton threw for 242 yards and 2 touchdowns with no picks. Then, he had his best rushing game of the season when he ran for 116 yards and another score.
His most impressive play was near the Auburn goal line when he started to run. When he took off, he saw an open receiver in the end zone and stopped so quickly and hit his target for a touchdown.
My nephew, the football coach, sent me a text proclaiming how amazingly good this Milton kid is.
UCF talked a little trash before the Auburn game, but then they came in and backed it up. They beat the Tigers 34-27 to remain undefeated and 13-0.
Will McKenzie Milton leave early for the NFL? He’s listed as 5-11, 185 now. That’s not exactly an NFL prototype quarterback size. The NFL likes their quarterbacks 6-3 and up and he’s probably not even 5-11 if he were to be measured. There are the Russell Wilson and Drew Brees exceptions, but they are rare and neither of those guys went high in the draft and they played through their senior
I will expect 4 seasons out of Milton.
UCF coach Scott Frost was hired by Nebraska after they won the conference championship. Frost decided to finish what he started and led his team to a win over Auburn and complete the unbeaten season. The question I have at the moment is will Milton follow Frost to Nebraska. McKenzie Milton has proven he can play at a high level and against the big boys. Will he stay at UCF? That remains to be seen.
If you missed any of Milton’s games this season, you missed a treat. That kid can ball.