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.
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?
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.
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.”
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?”
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.”
— Chris Milton (@fatherofballers) April 22, 2019
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.”
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