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College
5-star RB Kendall Milton and his father break down an ‘amazing’ visit to UGA
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5-star RB Kendall Milton and his father break down an ‘amazing’ visit to UGA

5-star RB Kendall Milton and his father break down an ‘amazing’ visit to UGA

5-star RB Kendall Milton and his father break down an ‘amazing’ visit to UGA

Kendall Milton-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting

Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings. We were able to get an interview rep coming of 5-star RB Kendall Milton taking a four-day trip to check out the program. Read on, there’s a lot of ground to cover. 

DawgNation had an informative chat with Chris Milton from his office on Monday morning. That was the from the same chair he had not visited in 10 days.

Milton and his family had just completed a 10-day SEC odyssey of sorts. That’s because his son, Kendall, is one of the nation’s top RB prospects right now.

That trek meant a long car ride to Lousiana for family time and then a chance to check out LSU, then a trip to Tuscaloosa to take in all things in Saban world for that true college football dynasty.

That trek ended with four days at the University of Georgia. Then a cross-country Sunday flight back to LAX and then a three-hour car ride back to their home in the Fresno area.

Kendall Milton rates as the nation’s No. 1 RB for the 2020 cycle on the 247Sports Composite ratings. He’s seen as the highest of targets on the Georgia recruiting board for this cycle.

Chris Milton was able to share some good insight into the working parts of that decision. He said glowing things about all three of those SEC options, but some of his comments he made about UGA will be tangent to DawgNation audience.

That part about a tag team of UGA’s top recruiters working on behalf of the program was highly interesting. Both of those assistants, along with the head coach, spent time with him on that visit.

The big thing from these visits: Get away from the “first date” phases of a recruiting process. They wanted to see what they could from these schools when all the trappings of those first few hours melted away.

They wanted to see something real. Not some Denzel Washington or Robert DeNiro acting chops with everyone showing off the sides of their program they want to show off.

It was a 10-day search for a consistently genuine recruiting effort. To sift through all the sizzle and find the steak.

“If we are specifically just talking about Georgia in this conversation, I think they did a good job,” Chris Milton said. “They [Georgia] did 100 percent a good job in displaying consistently but again so have other programs. I definitely don’t want to take away or discount anything any other program has done but speaking specifically about Georgia they absolutely did a great job.”

What Kendall Milton said Monday about Georgia 

It was about that time when Kendall burst into that office. It is the same office that his father uses to run a successful franchise business.

He has approximately 49 employees and his company has seen 100 percent revenue growth of late. That would be in the millions of dollars with that, too.

Milton said hello, apologized for not getting back to an interview request and said that his inbox is quite full after that 10-day tour of probably the three biggest big boys in the Southeastern Conference right now.

When asked how he would sum up the UGA visit, he only needed one word.

“Amazing,” Kendall Milton said.

He also told DawgNation that the Bulldogs have already earned a fall official visit. The expectation here is that the Bulldogs might have even secured one of the two premium gameday slots for Milton. Those open up with a bye week and an open date for his Clovis High (Buchanan, Calif.) fall schedule.

Kendall delivered his quick thoughts there on the Bulldogs. His father had already shared why the Bulldogs were now in a very good position to earn that official visit.

He was able to filter through a lot of thoughts and provide the following context to the decision in regard to the following:

  • Kendall doesn’t tell him everything. He realizes that, but he feels his son will want to take all of his official visits first before he makes his decision.
  • Milton will need to whittle his 40-plus offers down to five schools for official visits. Chris Milton felt like the schools with the most buzz that Kendall brings up are: (in alphabetical order): Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas.
  • The feeling here is that those are the major contenders and Milton will likely choose one of those seven schools.
  • He offered up the following statement about what the right school will be for his son: “I think what it is all honestly come down to are the places that Kendall 0ne hundred percent feels that personable relationship with the coaching staff. Those places where he can look at the coach and kind of mirror the relationship that we have. While I’m definitely his father, I am still a friend and still a confidant and an ally. I know for a fact he is going to be looking for that as well from a coach. Maybe not the friend aspect but definitely that confidant, an ally, a mentor and that sort of thing.”
  • When the officials are all done, then look [for now] for Milton to quickly make that decision to get this recruiting process over with when it is time to finally make that move.
Kendall Milton-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting
Kendall Milton rates as the nation’s No. 2 RB and the No. 15 overall prospect on the 247Sports Composite rankings for 2020. (Kendall Milton/Twitter)

How Team Milton views Georgia right now

“There’s definitely an opportunity for early playing time out of the gate,” Chris Milton said of the Bulldogs. “Strong academic base. Just the resources of the program and the personality of the coaches. That was definitely that was good.”

Remember that part up above about an “ally” and a “mentor” and a “confidant” search?  Does Georgia running backs coach Dell McGee fit that notion?

“I can 100 percent say that he was absolutely 100 percent impressed with coach McGee,” Chris Milton said. “He was impressed with the resources and the supporting staff at Georgia. He got to know the other coaches.”

Hmm. This is the part it was interesting to learn that McGee has a tag-team partner of sorts with this recruitment. How does this pairing sit with DawgNation?

Dell McGee-Sam Pittman-Kendall Milton-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting
It appears that now both Dell McGee and Kirby Smart and Sam Pittman area all working to help bring Kendall Milton to Georgia. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

This is about the point where Milton shared the part about Sam Pittman pulling up a chair in the recruitment of his son.

“It was actually really cool to see the O-line coach really embrace him,” Chris Milton said. “Really actually spend time with us. Because when you think about it, the O-line’s only job is to truly protect the quarterback and the running backs so the play can go.”

“So I get why he wants to get to know the running back and the running back’s parents and that sort of thing. That’s who he is training those guys to be the protectors of. So there’s absolutely a relationship there.”

They arrived on a Thursday night. Their family basically spent Thursday night, Friday and Saturday at Georgia. They set off for the airport early Sunday morning. It involved the academic centers, dining halls, dorms and all the facility tours and watched the Bulldogs practice.

It was really everything except the business school that is still practically brand new with all of its upgrades. He felt that the Georgia visit “hit on all cylinders.”

“Now the ball is in Kendall’s court,” his father said.

Kendall Milton-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting
Kendall Milton will likely take all of his official visits before he makes his college decision. That’s the preference as of now. (Kendall Milton/Twitter)

What the Milton family saw from every school on their tour

Clear. Straight to the point. Informative. Definitely worth the trip.

Those were the phrases that Chris Milton used for all the schools on their Deep South tour. That was LSU first, then Alabama and then Georgia.

Milton also plans to enroll early in January. He’s training right now with the emphasis on getting ready for the first spring practice of his college football career. Not just his senior football season.

“Here’s the thing with all of these and I think I can summarize it all like this,” Milton started off. “The last three schools [we saw] were SEC schools. At the end of the day, they had several things in common. All of them had an opportunity for early playing time. Because of who’s going to be there and who’s leaving. He literally can walk in, put in work and literally play, if not start, at all programs as a true freshman.”

He cited more areas where the schools overlapped.

“They all have a good academic base and they all have good business schools,” he said. “They all have the degree he is looking for which is business with a focus in entrepreneurship. At the end of the day, they all have facilities. Really nice facilities. They all have an alumni base. So they all have that. They all share those things in common.”

What impressed Kendall Milton about Alabama and LSU

Chris Milton said he saw a corporate side and an inspirational side of the Crimson Tide. His feelings there are that Nick Saban runs his program the same way a CEO in his world steers a company.

“He truly truly delegates to his managers — and that would be his other coaches — and have them do their job,” Chris Milton said. “His job is to motivate, have the blueprint and then to execute that blueprint.”

The Saban conversation hit on the tools necessary to be successful in life.

“It was really inspiring to hear him and coach [Scott] Cochran, his strength coach, was exactly the same.”

Kendall Milton-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting
Kendall Milton breaks loose for Buchanan High on this photo from the football team’s official web page. (Buchanan High football)

To him, the Alabama program looked felt like a well-oiled machine. LSU seemed more like a program built on passion. That all starts with coach Ed Orgeron.

“It seems like that was a dream job for him to be able to kind of come home and coach at home,” Milton said. “I know how he is deeply-rooted there and happy to be there. One thing that really stuck out was their ties to the South. I really saw a lot of ties to the South for that visit. It was the good parts of the South, too.”

With Georgia, he chose a one-word answer. It was kind of like father, like son.

“The one word I would summarize it with would be family,” Chris Milton said. “It seems like a big family the way every single coach interacts with another.”

He said that he saw two different sides of Kirby Smart. The 100 percent ball coach showed up. But he also saw a jovial and fun Smart, too.

“I actually like Kirby Smart,” Chris Milton said. “He has a great sense of humor, a great personality and he’s one of those people when it is time to take the ‘head coach hat’ off it is time to take that head coach hat off. He’s like: I’m personable, I’m hanging out. I want to laugh. I want to joke and be just like one of the guys.”

“But when it is time for him to coach, I’m 100 percent the head coach. Know that I love you, but I’m 100 percent the head coach there. I can just see that consistent in that program and that’s why I would say that one word as ‘family’ there with Georgia.”

When could UGA get an official visit?

With this, it feels like a game visit weekend would suit Milton best. His status as a priority target usually calls for that. Or maybe even a visit in late December after the SEC Championship game.

Milton feels that his family really checked off everything about Georgia on their trip save for that business school visit and then a true gameday environment.

Ironically, Milton’s high school team shares the same off week as the Bulldogs do on the last weekend of September. It eliminates a potential prime weekend.

His Bears will also play on a Thursday prior to a UGA home game on Sept. 14. Yet that contest will be against Arkansas State.

If the Notre Dame game earns an evening national TV slot, it is possible, albeit unlikely, for Milton and his family to take an official visit that weekend. That said, there is a huge conflict there with late Friday night game for Buchanan against LaSalle. That is no easy red-eye from the West Coast for that.

There is another Thursday game for his Bears on Oct. 3, but the Bulldogs are up in Tennessee that weekend. The Nov. 23 game weekend against Texas A&M would also stand out as another prime possibility.

There is also the possibility that Milton makes his decision prior to taking all of his official visits, but that sets up as the current plan.

The other “extra” about that UGA visit 

Any observer couldn’t help but see that the Bulldogs benefitted from moving their spring game away from Masters weekend. It was a risk with the Easter holiday weekend involved, but this one really struck a chord.

There was a who’s who of elite national recruits on hand for G-Day. All of those guys got to see UGA and perhaps 40 percent of a game weekend simulation while they were there.

It was a shared experience. It was easy to see the guys hanging out together and it was not a leap to picture thought bubbles over their heads like: “Could this be us? Could we all be down there one day? What kind of team would that be if we all played for Georgia?”

Kendall Milton-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting
Check out this potential 2020 class core: (from left to right) 4-star QB Carson Beck, 5-star CB Kelee Ringo, 5-star RB Kendall Milton, 4-star OL Akinola Ogunbiyi (back), 4-star CB Dwight McGlothern (hunkered down in front), 5-star OT Paris Johnson, Jr. and 4-star CB Jalen Kimber. (Charles Felder/Special to DawgNation)

 

Chris Milton said the scheduling quirk afforded the opportunity for Milton to bond with several potential teammates at Georgia.

Some of these guys have been in 2020 class group chat with one another for an extended period of time.

“They all finally got a chance to meet,” Milton said. “They all got a chance for some of them to meet back up and kind of hold their own private conversations about what they want to do and that kind of stuff. It was definitely something. If I’m a school, I’m 100 percent like looking at that as being advantageous just because you get all the guys together at one time and they get to see the same exact things and that sort of a thing.”

Let’s be clear: Milton has, like many elite recruits, a lot of private conversations with other elite recruits, that he does not share with his parents.

What does the above tweet here mean in regard to that?

“I would love to be able to sit here confidently and say ‘This is who I know is number one and this is his number two’ but honestly right now I don’t know,” his father said. “I truly honestly don’t know just because of how he is. That’s just how he is cut. He’s a lot like me. I don’t show all my cards in too many situations. I guess this is how he picked up my genes.”


Miss any Intel? The DawgNation recruiting archive will get you up to speed just as fast as former Georgia All-American LB Roquan Smith found the ball after the snap.

The post 5-star RB Kendall Milton and his father break down an ‘amazing’ visit to UGA appeared first on DawgNation.

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  • Welcome to Good Day, UGA , your one-stop shop for Georgia footballnews and takes. Check us out every weekday morning for everything you need to know about Georgia football, recruiting, basketball and more. The biggest question regarding the addition of JT Daniels and how it affects the Georgia quarterback room Will the NCAA grant JT Daniels' immediate eligibility for the 2020 season? That's it. That's the big question for Georgia football and its recent acquisition at the quarterback position. There's more uncertainty regarding that aspect than anything pertaining to Georgia quarterback room for the coming 2020 season. More so than the health of Daniels' surgically repaired knee, how the lack of spring practice reps hurts both him and Jamie Newman and how Newman a guy many have tabbed as a first-round pick and possible Heisman Trophy contender reacts to another highly-touted quarterback entering the competition. THANK YOU USC Excited for the future #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/ewfhBG3ved JT Daniels (@jtdaniels06) May 28, 2020 And it's because trying to accurately predict how the NCAA is going to rule on Daniels' eligibility is probably a harder task than predicting when there will be a vaccine for COVID-19. Last year we saw players like Luke Ford very publicly not get granted a waiver to play as he moved closer to home. But we then saw Justin Fields and Tate Martell, two quarterbacks with a similar profile to Daniels, be granted immediate eligibility. There's never been any real consistency in recent seasons when it comes to getting a waiver. That's why so many are pushing for a one-time transfer rule, but that won't happen until at least next January. We still don't even know if Cade Mays, a former Georgia Bulldog, will be eligible for Tennessee this coming season. And on the surface, there is a much easier case to be made for Mays getting one than Daniels, with Mays being from Knoxville, Tenn., to go along with his parents' lawsuit against the University of Georgia. And Mays entered and exited the transfer portal in January and filed a waiver shortly afterward. And the NCAA has a lot more pressing matters on its plate at the moment due to COVID-19. So expecting a quick and fast decision on this might not be wise. Related: Kirby Smart: Georgia football workouts new normal completely different' than pre-COVID19 Until we know whether or not Daniels will be able to play in 2020, we won't really understand the full reasoning behind the decision to bring him in. If he's not eligible until the 2021 season, Kirby Smart's vision is a clearer picture. Newman would clearly be the presumed starter for Georgia this season and then head off to the NFL next season. Then Daniels would compete with the likes of Carson Beck, Dwan Mathis and Brock Vandagriff for the starting job in 2021, where the Bulldogs open the season against Clemson. In that scenario, Daniels could also make sure his torn ACL and meniscus have fully healed, after tearing them in the opening game of USC's 2019 season. Going almost two years without playing a competitive game might not be ideal for Daniels, but there are worse alternatives than getting a full year in a system before taking it on the road. Georgia has only taken one transfer that had to sit out since Smart took over prior to the 2016 season. That was J.R. Reed and he proved to be a very significant piece for the Bulldogs, starting in the first season he was eligible to play for Georgia as he was a starter on the 2017 team that played for a national championship. And Georgia's 2021 offense figures to have a much more experienced bunch and much fewer questions than it does entering the 2020 season. George Pickens and Dominick Blaylock will both be juniors and the likes of Kendall Milton, Broderick Jones, Darnell Washington and Jermaine Burton will be sophomores. There's a lot of perceived upside with Daniels, given his recruiting profile. He was the No. 3 ranked quarterback in the 2018 recruiting cycle, behind only Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields. And it's even more impressive considering he skipped his senior year of high school to enroll early at USC. Daniels didn't always show that same 5-star potential though once at USC. In his freshman season, he tossed 14 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. He's the only quarterback to play for USC since Clay Helton took over that didn't throw for at least 25 touchdowns and 3,000 yards. Of course, that was in Daniels' freshman and he was not the sole reason the Trojans went 5-7 in 2018. It's not fair to put all the shortcomings with USC on the shoulders of an 18-year old who was still growing as a player. And that growth is why adding him to the 2020 quarterback picture would make things incredibly murky at the most important position on the offense. Smart has already acknowledged how the lack of reps stemming from the cancellation of spring practice will hurt the quarterback position more than any other. Now if you have a more serious competition this fall between Newman and Daniels, you would be diluting those reps even further. You'll have less time to get a more accurate picture on what Newman or Daniels can do while guiding the offense. 'The more they give us time-wise the more we will be able to do,' Smart told reporters on Thursday. ' The less they give us the less we will probably be able to do, but that is not something we have decided right now.' Related: Social media split on reaction to Georgia football landing JT Daniels Adding in Daniels to the 2020 mix also sets up another situation similar to that of Justin Fields and Jake Fromm in the 2018 season. Georgia had two capable options at quarterback that year in Fromm and Fields. Fromm was the more known quality while Fields offered more upside. Smart largely stuck with Fromm, though he would insert Fields into the game at seemingly random times, including during the fourth quarter of the SEC championship game. No one was satisfied with how Smart played out the situation and he has been routinely criticized for the handling of it. Fromm regressed in his final season in Athens while Fields was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. Having two quarterbacks to choose from in Newman and Daniels could give Smart the opportunity to show he's learned from his past mistakes. Or it could allow him to make them once again. Right now, Smart doesn't have a decision to make when it comes to Daniels. There was a talented player on the market, and Smart added him to the roster. It's consistent with how he's run every other aspect of the Georgia program. That was the easy part. The hard part comes once the NCAA makes a decision on Daniels and his eligibility. It will either push the discussion about what Daniels brings to 2021 or it starts a very serious quarterback competition for Georgia in a time when practice reps are limited and crucial. More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation Kirby Smart: Georgia football workouts new normal completely different' than pre-COVID19 Making a case for why these 2019 signees will or won't breakout this fall The Georgia football freshmen that are most physically ready to contribute early BREAKING: Georgia football adds an anchor 2022 commit in CB Marquis Groves-Killebrew Georgia football podcast: An open letter to Jake Fromm from a UGA fan Georgia quarterback D'Wan Mathis fully cleared for game action after MRI Dawgs on Twitter Welcome https://t.co/RZol8xtGOO Demetris Robertson (@d_rob4) May 28, 2020 There's nothing like a Saturday Night in Athens Watch some of our favorite moments from last year's matchup against Missouri #ATD #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/SFnXK456Kd Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) May 28, 2020 GO DAWGS!! Coach Kirby Smart (@KirbySmartUGA) May 28, 2020 UGA QB, J.T. Daniels pic.twitter.com/ydSH54hvlL AxEdits #GeorgeFloyd (@DawgsEdited) May 28, 2020 Good Dawg of the Day Happy birthday to the goodest boy! #UGAX pic.twitter.com/sfXl2aLyIM Georgia Basketball (@UGABasketball) May 28, 2020 The post The one big question that looms over JT Daniels and the Georgia quarterback position for 2020 appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia redshirt freshman D'Wan Mathis has received clearance to take part in games after undergoing an MRI one year after his emergency brain surgery. A source with knowledge of the situation confirmed the positive results of the MRI on Thursday. Mathis had been cleared to go through practices since last November, and Smart said indicated he would be a full participant in spring football drills before the COVID-19 pandemic suspended all collegiate sports activity on March 12. RELATED: Mind Game, how UGA's D'Wan Mathis is overcoming brain surgery UGA does not typically tackle its quarterbacks to the ground in practices. The Bulldogs go full speed and 'thud,' players wrapped up without being taken to the ground to avoid injuries. The 6-foot-6, 205-pound Mathis was rushed to Piedmont Athens Regional Hospital last May after the UGA medical staff, led by director of sports medicine Ron Courson, diagnosed his symptoms as life threatening. 'The honest truth, waking up in a hospital bed, and seeing my parents, and seeing how my head looked and everything, man, it was humbling,' Mathis, whose skull surgery involved a metal plate secured by screws, said following the Sugar Bowl. 'I was like, wow you are so blessed, be thankful that you are still here.' Terence Mathis, D'Wan's father, stated simply that 'Georgia saved my son's life.' The comeback D'Wan was in the ICU unit for days following the surgery and lost more than 20 pounds after his skull was cut open to remove the life-threatening cyst. It took months for him to gain back his weight and strength but Mathis was determined to return to practice. By November and into the bowl season, Mathis was working out with a modified helmet and running the scout team, earning the praise and confidence of Georgia coach Kirby Smart throughout the offseason. 'D'Wan's been scout-team quarterback the last couple of weeks now and has done a tremendous job,' Smart said last November. 'He helped with the Bo Nix scout team stuff. He's able to simulate some of these guys we've played, so that has been a big bonus for us.' Smart indicated during a virtual G-Day Game telecast last month that Wake Forest graduate transfer Jamie Newman had not yet clinched the starting job. RELATED: Kirby says we don't really know what we have at QB' ' You evaluate our quarterbacks, and you look at it and you say I've got a guy who had a major surgery, I got a guy that just came out of high school, I've got a guy that's been a No. 2 last year, Stetson, and then I have a transfer from Wake that we don't know a lot about, as far as in our system,' Smart said. 'So we have a lot of unknowns at that position.' QB competition Smart's assessment of the QB competition wasn't much different on Thursday, just hours before USC transfer J.T. Daniels announced his commitment to Georgia. 'W e don't even know the threshold or the capacity of some of our players,' Smart said. 'We did not get to go through spring ball with necessarily some of the positions, especially on offense, of guys to see what they can handle.' RELATED: Smart says there's going to be a good QB competition' More than once source close to the team told DawgNation that Mathis was throwing the ball equally well if not better than Newman in the team's voluntary workouts outside of the supervised winter conditioning. Mathis ran the 100-yard dash in 10.8 seconds in high school and his running skills and athleticism were on display in the 2018 G-Day Game Mathis was 15-of-28 passing for 113 yards in the game and caught a double-reverse pass from Matt Landers for a 39-yard touchdown. D'Wan, he's explosive,' Jake Fromm said of his former understudy. 'I think he converted three or four first downs in a row with his legs. 'The guy can run the ball, he can throw it 70 yards, he's going to be a great player.' Investing in Georgia Mathis made his commitment to Georgia quarterbacking duties clear when he chose to stay in Athens after on-campus activity was suspended. Mathis applied for and was granted a special exemption. It provided insight into the trust he has built with Courson and the UGA medical staff, and his comfort in living in Athens. 'D'Wan came back on spring break and told me he loves where he is from, but that he needed to go back to Georgia,' Terence Mathis said in a March 28 interview. 'Georgia could have given up on my son, but instead, Kirby and his staff have treated D'Wan as though he was their own son. They've used every possible resource to stay behind him and keep him engaged with the team after saving his life.' But now Daniels is in play, and there are suspicious the UGA quarterback room may have reached its tipping point. If Daniels receives a waiver for immediate eligibility its hard to imagine four quarterbacks getting repetitions as Georgia competes for a national championship this season. Freshman Carson Beck is also expected to be in the mix, along with redshirt junior Stetson Bennett. Mathis was Ohio State's quarterback of choice in the 2019 signing class before Justin Fields jolted Georgia by transferring from the Bulldogs' program following his freshman season. RELATED: D'Wan Mathis shares signing day story, Ohio State denied interest in Justin Fields Mathis determined the Buckeyes were not being forthcoming in December of 2018 when they said they were not recruiting Fields, and he chose to trust in Georgia, signing and enrolling in January of 2019. It remains to be seen how Mathis' future will play out, but the Oak Park, Mich., product is once again healthy and ready to compete full-go on the football field. 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