Each season the talented quarterback has been in Knoxville has been unique. He first joined Josh Heupel’s squad out of the NCAA Transfer Portal following three seasons with the Michigan Wolverines. After winning the starting gig for the 2021 season, Milton found himself backing up Hendon Hooker by the end of the year.
Then, Milton went into 2022 knowing it was Hooker’s team, but opted to stay and grow inside Heupel’s offense. When Hooker went down with an injury later during his tremendous season, Milton took over and led the Volunteers to a victory over the Clemson Tigers in the Orange Bowl.
Now, Milton is ready for his second chance to lead Tennessee, and he’s better suited now than he originally was to be their quarterback. However, he made sure to point out his mindset hasn’t changed over the last three years, he’s simply always ready to rock.
“Nothing’s pretty much changed,” explained Milton. “I kind of go every day as I was last year. Just preparing, and you know, getting ready. You never know when your time is called, just like last year I didn’t know my time was called, I just kept repping it. Kept getting better, and just pushing Hendon [Hooker].
“I get more reps, I get to talk to Nico [Iamaleava] and the rest of the quarterback room, Gaston [Moore] and Navy [Shuler]. I get more reps. Just the mental aspect of it, just because I have to explain it to every one else. They also prep you to be more prepared for when those situations come.”
Evidently, Milton is taking on his role of being the veteran of the Tennessee quarterback room in stride, hoping to drop some knowledge and help out the young signal callers around him in Knoxville.
Still, the weight of great expectations will be placed firmly upon his shoulders moving forward. Milton’s performance against the Tigers, when he threw for 251 yards and three touchdowns, lended credibility to the fact that he’s talented enough to pick up where Hooker left off. However, it’s a different story doing it over an entire season.
Tennessee is hoping to stay in the College Football Playoff picture moving forward, and Joe Milton will either keep them there or help them sink. Never doubt his preparation though, as the star quarterback is doing everything he can to be the best possible player for the Volunteers.
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