At some point in the midst of fall camp, the outcome of the Tennessee quarterback battle became clear. Michigan transfer Joe Milton seemed to be a staff favorite from the beginning, as these coaches finally got a chance to fine tune Milton’s big physical traits.
Today he was named Tennessee’s starting quarterback, beating out former five-star quarterback prospect Harrison Bailey and former Virginia Tech starter Hendon Hooker.
Heupel on what separated Joe Milton:— Madison Blevins (@Madison4Blevins) August 30, 2021
At the end of day, felt like Joe’s grasp of our offense and understanding what we’re doing - his decision making ability - led us to naming Joe starting QB. #Vols
The former four-star prospect out of Orlando, Florida was in this exact spot with Michigan last season, but he failed to hold on to his starting job. After throwing for over 1,000 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions, Milton was benched after a handful of games. An injury may have also played a role in how things ended in Ann Arbor.
Earlier this year, we spoke with Maize and Brew about what kind of player Milton is.
Milton has everything you want in a raw quarterback prospect. He’s a good leader that people seem to rally behind. He has the physique of a Cam Newton or Josh Allen. He has the arm to throw a pigskin a quarter mile. I think the biggest thing that worked against him was his poor accuracy. He missed a good amount of throws and then at some point in the season got injured. He didn’t have much help with protection and playcalling, but the guy we saw Week 1 against Minnesota never appeared again. The second Michigan made a QB change, they started to move the ball more consistently. I don’t think he does the little things well enough despite oozing with talent.
Now the question becomes this — can Milton take this job and run away with it? Tennessee has two capable players behind him, and it’s going to be interesting to see how the staff handles adversity at this particular position.