comscore Former Mililani High quarterback McKenzie Milton to leave Central Florida | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Former Mililani High quarterback McKenzie Milton to leave Central Florida

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS / NOV. 18, 2017
                                University of Central Florida quarterback McKenzie Milton attempts a pass against Temple during the first quarter in an NCAA college football game in Philadelphia in 2017. Milton has entered the NCAA transfer portal and plans to leave the UCF to play elsewhere in 2021 rather than contest the starting quarterback job with fellow Mililani High graduate Dillon Gabriel.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS / NOV. 18, 2017

    University of Central Florida quarterback McKenzie Milton attempts a pass against Temple during the first quarter in an NCAA college football game in Philadelphia in 2017. Milton has entered the NCAA transfer portal and plans to leave the UCF to play elsewhere in 2021 rather than contest the starting quarterback job with fellow Mililani High graduate Dillon Gabriel.

Quarterback McKenzie Milton’s decision to transfer from the University of Central Florida has already drawn interest, his father said.

Milton entered the NCAA transfer portal on Thursday and announced his intention to transfer in an ESPN interview.

“The phone is already ringing,” Mark Milton told the Star-Advertiser. “It is going to be an interesting next few weeks. He is going to take his time and see where the right fit is.”

Some early speculation has centered on Nebraska. Scott Frost, the Nebraska coach, recruited Milton to UCF in 2016 and last month publicly offered Milton an opportunity to coach when his playing days are over.

Milton was the Knights’ starting quarterback for three seasons before suffering severe knee, ligament and nerve damage in his right knee during a November 2018 game. He has not played since but has made a significant recovery to the point that he has been able to run UCF’s scout team this fall and there was speculation he might play by the end of the season.

In the ESPN interview, Milton said he decided to look elsewhere for 2021 rather than contest the starting quarterback job with fellow Mililani High graduate Dillon Gabriel. “I know my clock is ticking. I’ve only got one more year to play, and the momentum Dillon has, I wouldn’t want any controversy in the locker room. He’s earned the right to be the starter here at UCF. I see that, and I feel it’s best for both UCF and myself that I move on elsewhere. I’m trying to chase the dream of playing in the NFL, so I’ve got to give myself the best opportunity to do that.”

Gabriel, who succeeded Milton at Mililani and followed him to UCF, has started both years there.

Milton finished eighth in 2017 voting for the Heisman Trophy that was won by Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield. Milton passed for 4,037 yards and 37 touchdowns in leading UCF to an unbeaten season.

ESPN said Milton told teammates of his decision on Thursday.

“It is very emotional, but it’s one of those things where Dillon and I are on our own paths,” Milton told ESPN. “He’s on his at UCF, and I just feel like mine is coming to an end, so I feel like the torch is passed. He’s going to continue to do great things. It’s a hard decision, but it also makes the most sense.”

Milton added, “There’s no bitter feelings toward UCF. I will always bleed black and gold. It’s the end of a chapter for me and my playing career here, and that’s probably the bittersweet part of it. We were able to accomplish a lot in my time here, and it’s been nothing but a blessing.”

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