The 2022 college football season is barely behind us, but all eyes are already on 2023. For Tennessee, the offseason will be all about an offensive transition — at least from a personnel standpoint. Hendon Hooker, Cedric Tillman, Jalin Hyatt, Darnell Wright and Jerome Carvin will be moving on to the NFL this spring, leaving plenty of shoes to fill in Josh Heupel’s offense.
The good news? Tennessee has already passed their free 2023 preview with a dominating win over Clemson in the Orange Bowl. We all got a taste of the potential of next season, with Joe Milton throwing deep balls to Squirrel White, Ramel Keyton and Bru McCoy.
Following Milton’s MVP performance in Miami, his momentum, along with Tennessee’s, has gotten right back on track after that loss to South Carolina. In fact, Milton is already appearing on some 2023 Heisman odds list, and he’s pretty high up on them, too.
Per DraftKings Sportsbook, Milton is 7th overall to open with +1800 odds to take home college football’s most coveted individual trophy. Caleb Williams, the 2022 winner, has +500 odds to lead the way. Florida State’s Jordan Travis, North Carolina’s Drake Maye, Oregon’s Bo Nix, Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. and Notre Dame’s Sam Hartman are the only players in front of Milton as things currently stand.
Milton’s career has been all over the place over the last four years. He won the job at Michigan but was quickly benched after some inconsistent play. Milton landed with Tennessee out of the portal, and the same story played out again. An injury ultimately forced him to the sidelines, and Hendon Hooker took over and never looked back.
Milton stayed put in Knoxville, looking ahead to 2023 as his chance to shine. That decision looks brilliant right now, although the arrival of No. 1 overall player Nico Iamaleava could throw a bit of a curveball at those plans. Offensive coordinator Joey Halzle has promised a quarterback battle this spring, and Iamaleava has already gotten his feet wet during bowl practices. It’s pretty clear Milton has a lead here, but he’ll have to go earn it against a supremely talented player in the spring and fall.
The 6-5, 230 pound senior quarterback might have the best arm in all of football, but reining it in has proven to be a challenge over the years. To his credit, Milton showed some growth in the Orange Bowl with his accuracy down the field, and he also routinely put on a show in mop-up duty throughout the season.
Can Milton continue to take steps forward this offseason? If he can, ‘Bazooka Joe’ should be in for a big final year on Rocky Top.