UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton is continuing the long journey towards his dream of returning to the football field after sustaining serious injuries against USF on Black Friday of 2018. Milton’s injuries were multiple and significant as the quarterback tore his lateral collateral ligament, posterior cruciate ligament and dislocated his knee, per CBS Sports.
Despite the obstacles, Milton provided a good report during a recent appearance on ESPN College Gameday, noting that the nerve damage is “back to 100 percent.”
“I’m a lot further along than any doctor would anticipate or predict, and that’s by the grace of God and a lot of prayers and a lot of support by close friends and people I don’t even know,” Milton said, per Orlando Sentinel. “With my nerve damage, I’m basically back to 100 percent. I have full feeling in my foot. You know that’s very rare. Sometimes it never comes back for some people, and the artery, the blood is flowing great.”
Milton Was in Danger of Losing His Leg After Sustaining Multiple Injuries Against USF in 2018
Milton was in danger of losing his leg, but doctors were able to perform surgery to restore blood flow, per Sports Illustrated. Milton is planning on redshirting the 2019 season, and UCF has not announced a timeline for Milton to return to the football field.
What is clear is that Milton wants to play football again for UCF. Milton wrote a letter for ESPN.com detailing his journey back to full health. Milton noted that it would not be “fair to put a set date on” his return, but the UCF quarterback is ambitious with his goals.
I want to be an even better player, and I think I can be. I’m going to be better as a teammate. I’m going to be better as a leader. That’s where it starts. That will make the guys around me better. I’ll be better within the pocket. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be faster. We’ll see when that time comes. If I’m not going to be able to play at the level I want to, there’s no point in me doing it. So until I get to that point, I’m not going to stop, no matter how long it takes.
UCF Freshman Quarterback Dillon Gabriel Went to Milton’s High School in Hawaii
Milton remains involved with the UCF team attending meetings, practices and games. Not only does he offer help with the gameplan, UCF head coach Josh Heupel owes him a bit of credit for recruiting. Milton continued to press Heupel on taking a look at Dillon Gabriel who played at Mililani High, Milton’s former school in Hawaii.
After few schools showed interest in Gabriel at quarterback, he received late offers from USC and Georgia. UCF was earlier and beat out other top schools with Milton undoubtedly playing a key role. Gabriel looks to have beat out Notre Dame transfer Brandon Wimbush for the starting gig.
Milton Not Only Wants to Play Again But Has His Eyes on the NFL
Milton not only is eying a return to UCF but still has dreams of playing in the NFL. At the end of his letter for ESPN, Milton outlined his ultimate goals for his career.
I feel like I got hurt for a reason. Something good’s going to come out of it. If I could write my story, if I could write my book right now, I’d play 10 years in the NFL, win a couple Super Bowls and then maybe coach at UCF after that. That would be the way to go.
But it’s for God to write, not me.
Prior to his injury, Milton drew interest from NFL teams, and his draft stock could be helped by the success of smaller quarterbacks like Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy noted on Twitter that the UCF quarterback has a standing offer to play in the showcase game when he regains health.
“The @seniorbowl is keeping @UCF_Football QB McKenzie Milton in our prayers. We have seen enough of him in practice and games over the past three years to know we want him in the 2020 Senior Bowl,” Nagy tweeted after the injury.
For now, Milton is continuing his rehab process while helping UCF anywhere he can. Milton believes he can still help the Knights win even if he is not yet ready to return to the field.
“During spring ball I’ve just tried to be like another coach on the field for the guys,” Milton told Sports Illustrated. “Helping out the other quarterbacks on the field, getting them ready for the season since I’ll most likely redshirt this year. I still have a voice in the locker room because of what I’ve done on the field so I can connect with my guys. I think my presence there makes them feel better. With [the injury] my role definitely changed but our goal remains the same. We still want to win a conference championship, still want to be the best that we can be.”