ESPN ran a fun feature over the weekend, calling on opposing coaches to break down quarterbacks from around college football. The coaches were granted full anonymity, allowing them to tell us how they really feel.
Tennessee quarterback Joe Milton was obviously a topic of interest for them ahead of his fifth season in college football. Milton will get one final shot to put all the pieces of the puzzle together after sitting behind Hendon Hooker for the better part of two years.
The coaches ESPN interviewed are very aware of Milton’s talent.
“An absolute cannon for an arm,” an SEC coach said. “There’s no vertical shot he can’t hit. He’s a little more of a pocket passer and seems to be comfortable standing back there and making throws. He’s got all the right tools you need. He can reach the far numbers; he can spray it all over the field.” (ESPN)
Everyone knows about the arm by now. Milton’s success will come down to his ability to play inside of the pocket and stand in and deliver accurate passes. We’ve seen him grow in that area looking back to last season — Milton was clearly a different guy from his brief 2021 stint as the starter.
Another coach compared him to former Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson.
“He’s the most dangerous guy,” an SEC defensive coordinator said. “He’s kind of like what Anthony Richardson was [in 2022], he’s humongous. I’ve watched him in warmups in pads and I’m like, ‘I hope he does not get in.’ But now he’s up.”
Richardson has been a popular comp for Milton this offseason as people see similarities in athletic upside and raw ability. Milton obviously isn’t as quick as Richardson, and it will be interesting to see how Tennessee utilizes him in the run game this fall.
As everyone knows, Milton is the absolute key to Tennessee’s 2023 season. If he shows us some consistency, Josh Heupel’s offense will be humming once again.