With his otherworldly arm strength and all-around eye-popping physical attributes, Joe Milton’s become one of the most talked-about quarterbacks of the 2023 college football season.
He’s garnered attention at the college and professional level, but why did Milton transfer to Tennessee?
Why Did Joe Milton Transfer to Tennessee?
Milton entered the transfer portal following the 2020 college football season, and after a campaign of smoke and mirrors and denial, he landed in Knoxville to become the starting quarterback of Tennessee. Many point to him losing the Michigan job as the reason he entered the portal, but the setup under Josh Heupel was the reason he chose Tennessee over other landing spots.
In an April 2021 article in The Athletic, quarterback coach Donovan Dooley explained how Milton was won over by what he heard from head coach Heupel and the rest of a Tennessee offensive staff that turned the Vols from being a college football afterthought into one of the most explosive offensive teams in the country.
Although Milton has seen his fair share of setbacks since his transfer to Tennessee, the quarterback is confident that he made the right decision coming to Knoxville. During SEC media days, he spoke extensively about the impact the program has had on him, both as a player and as a man.
“I’m different in what I know and what I see,” Milton said via 247 Sports. “I feel like the knowledge that I learned at Michigan was helpful, but the knowledge that I know now from my coaches … those guys have trained me so well to know the offense, but also to understand just offense in general.”
“It could be any offense, right? Smooth is fast. That’s one thing Coach Mitch speaks about, talks about, that smooth is fast.”
“I was 19-20 at Michigan, right? Now I’m 23,” Milton explained how his time at Tennessee as matured him as a person as well as a player. “As a man, you see mistakes that you made in your previous life, and you just want to fix ‘em. There are mistakes I made in my life, and I just wanted to fix ‘em, and I fixed ‘em.”
When did Joe Milton Transfer to Tennessee?
Reports began to circulate that Milton had transferred to Tennessee early in April 2021.
However, at that time, the former Michigan quarterback had denied that he had enrolled in the program, asserting that his options were still open and citing Washington State as another program that he was still considering.
He made it official on Apr. 26, 2021, with a post on Instagram showing him in the distinctive orange and white of the Vols, while tagging his location as the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Milton maintained that he wanted to finish his education at Michigan before making any official announcement of his transfer to Tennessee.
Milton transferred to Tennessee after three seasons in Ann Arbor. He’d landed at Michigan in the 2018 recruiting class, a three-star prospect and the 15th-ranked pro-style QB in the nation.
During his first two years with the Wolverines, he sat patiently as the backup to Shea Patterson and Dylan McCaffrey. In those two years, he attempted just 11 passes for 117 yards with two touchdowns.
In the globally disrupted 2020 season, Milton got his opportunity to start for the Wolverines. However, a difficult campaign for the program and some early struggles for the third-year quarterback saw Milton replaced by now-Iowa quarterback Cade McNamara.
He never regained the job and announced his intention to enter the portal at the end of the year. The rest is history.
How Far Can Joe Milton Throw the Football?
For his travels, his trials and tribulations, his struggles, and his growth, the football story of Tennessee quarterback Milton always comes back to one thing: arm strength. The enigmatic passer boasts one of the strongest arms in the nation, but how far can he really throw the ball?
Reportedly, it’s 97 yards.
While at the Manning Passing Academy earlier this year, Milton told ESPN that he can throw the ball 97 yards in the air. While he’ll likely never need to unleash that during a game, there are already multiple examples of him effortlessly unloading a 65-plus-yard downfield rocket in live action.
Additionally, Milton flexed his arm strength with an unofficial 109.4 mph baseball fastball.