Chris Milton can recall a recent chat with his son Kendall. It was shared within the context of yet another official visit they are on this weekend.
For Team Milton, this one to Georgia is already underway.
📍 #GoDawgs 🐶
— Kendall Milton (@therealkmilt) June 13, 2019
It begs a natural question: For another 48-hour official which really gets going today, what else can Georgia do and show and put together that they haven’t already seen?
“Man, I don’t know,” Chris Milton said. “I honestly don’t know. My question to Kendall was ‘Bro, what else are you looking for?’ and he never really gave me an answer. This was from all the schools to be completely honest. It was like ‘what are you looking for’ and ‘what are you hoping to see’ with this.”
“His whole thing was ‘I don’t know’ and he was said he was just like ‘checking the fit’ and that’s why I think he has a whole different mindset of what he is looking for.”
Milton and his family boarded an early flight on Thursday to Georgia. The official visit for the nation’s No. 21 overall prospect (247Sports Composite) actually began when he reached Athens on Thursday evening.
The weekend offers another very good long look at UGA. The Bulldogs had a three-day unofficial in April. But all unofficials are not created equal. Certainly not those for Milton.
Anytime the 6-foot-2, 225-pound rising senior visits a school, it is something more than that. Anywhere. Unofficals have seemed like officials to him since his sophomore year. Maybe even longer.
Milton saw almost everything in Clarke County on that G-Day trek. Maybe even Watkinsville, too. It was his first visit to Athens.
That trip was filled-to-the-gills with everything from academics to dorms to practices to the weight room to the training table to locker rooms to indoor facility and everything about and around Sanford Stadium.
So what’s left to see? It might just be who sees it all this time.
How will this Georgia official be different?
There will be one thing about the visit that will be different. That is the numbers. Team Milton is coming in strong.
Milton has family in the Atlanta Metro area. His great uncle lives in Atlanta. They will be a part of this official. So will his grandparents.
“They live out here in California,” Chris Milton said. “They are actually flying out to see my uncle which is my dad’s brother. They will spend some time with him and then they will come to hang out at Georgia with us until Sunday. They will go back out to Atlanta to hang out a few more days and then come home.”
It marks the second official where the family roster extended beyond Kendall, his mother and his father. His older brother, KaLonn, made the LSU trip. He recently graduated from Fresno State after his own football career. Naturally.
The Miltons are a very athletic family.
“Brother went to LSU last week and after getting stuck in the airport at Dallas he was like ‘I’m cool’ and said you guys are on your own for the rest,” Chris Milton said.
Kendall Milton has another uncle that made quite a name for himself in football. Kevin Hardy, a former All-American and Butkus Award winner at Illions, was the No. 2 overall pick in the 1996 NFL Draft.
He was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars and played for Dallas and Cincinnati until his final season in 2004.
What does the new timeline look like for Kendall Milton?
Let’s balance the present day with what lies ahead: Milton feels his son could commit any time after these officials have been completed.
It could be a few days after the last one to Alabama in the third week of June. Or the marination time for his college decision could stretch to mid-July.
All those scenarios seem plausible.
“I think it is a real thing,” Chris Milton said. “I am kind of urging Kendall to move up his commitment so he can actually enjoy his senior year in high school without the extra stuff since he is going to graduate early. So he can enjoy the last semester and truly be a senior in high school without having worrying about [college] football and just the high school stuff.”
The timeline for this decision seems to continually be ramping up.
Why the Kendall Milton timeline moved up considerably
It is interesting to notice the pace of his officials. The plan back in April was to try and get at least one or two official visits in over the summer. The aim then was to save his Buchanan High (Clovis, Calif.) bye weeks and weekends for gameday officials in the fall.
Georgia was trending to get one of those prime slots. That all changed.
Milton now burns it up on an uncommon official visit pace that is very uncommon. It just hasn’t happened like this for an elite priority 5-star recruit and four of the biggest of the big boys in college football.
He will make the entire trek of four schools in less than three weeks. Flying cross country from California no less.
June officials are just now a thing for a lot of elite targets wishing to wrap their processes up prior to the senior season. For starters, that has only been made possible since the NCAA shifted around the timelines and official visit windows with the deployment on the new early signing period in December.
Milton has been to or will now see:
- Ohio State official: May 31-June 2
- LSU official: June 7-9
- Georgia official: This weekend
- Alabama official: June 19-21
Milton then has the Opening out in Texas on that last weekend in June. If he arrives there as an undecided commitment, he would be a very popular interview from the national media.
“I’m urging him to have a choice by the beginning to the middle of July,” Chris Milton said.
Contrary to what most might think, they do not spend their weekdays or airport delays chopping up the pros and cons of each trip.
They will do the travel, see what they need to see and then move on. Milton and his wife are successful professionals and accomplished in their careers. But they still have to work each week.
“It is hard,” Chris Milton said. “Maybe in passing while we are on a trip. If we see something, we talk a little bit. But I don’t know. But we don’t sit down and have that ‘de-brief’ like everybody probably thinks we do. A lot of that has to do with Kendall because of his maturity and his vantage point. Because of the type of kid he is.”
“We really really trust his judgment on this type of stuff. He sees some things we don’t see. He hears some things we don’t hear. Just because it is a different lens or filter that he sees it from. He’s pretty spot-on.”
“Once we finish these officials, we will take time to sit down, de-brief him and allow him to make a decision.”
Any early judgments prior to the entire four-team official visit gauntlet might be rendered moot.
The “grind” here were those unofficial visits. That’s when they left with notebooks full of information after meeting upon meetings. Those were the ones which were dissected. That’s what led to this final four grouping.
“For us, the official visits are basically to confirm the feeling we had the first time around and to get just a little bit more granular into what each program has to offer,” Chris Milton said. “So the information right now is actually not that overwhelming. Because these visits are more about relationships. We’ve seen everything else.”
“When we stepped on each of these campuses for the first time, these schools were shooting their shot hard then. So it is a little different for us with these officials.”
The formula at work with the Kendall Milton decision
Milton enjoyed a comparison with these officials and the dating world. The early dates have already gone well. That’s why each team made his son’s final group.
This is more about seeing if those “feels” from those first encounters sustain themselves.
He said he has used a dating analogy with other fathers about giving advice about getting involved with the whole process of being a college prospect.
“It is just like dating a female,” Chris Milton said. “It is you know the girl that likes you versus the girl you know that loves you. The girl that likes you is the girl that likes everybody. You take her out to a nightclub and she starts hugging every guy in the club because she knows everybody.”
“Whereas the one that loves you, she is going to let you know that you are the only one. You are important to her and she’s going to put all of her efforts into making sure the relationship works.”
He sees that in the same light as his son picking one of these four schools. In all reality, a great or “wow” official from any of these schools might not move the needle a lot here.
Nor is it the school which shows off the fewest warts or slight blemishes to their fit.
“The one is ultimately going to get him to sign on the line is the school that he feels had the most sincerity,” Chris Milton said. “The ones that didn’t [BS] him and told him what it truly is and not what they think he wants to hear.”
The nation’s No. 3 RB prospect (247Sports Composite) is just not the type to get excited over shiny things.
“For him, I think it is a matter of looking over what his goals are,” Chris Milton said. “Looking at what they have to offer and determining — based on what his goals are — who is likely to get him the closest to success based on the information given.”
Milton was able to share a specific view of what he thinks the formula will be behind his son’s decision.
- Comfortability: 33 percent
- Opportunity and development on the field: 33 percent
- Life after football: 33 percent
“It is definitely going to be a comfort level,” Chris Milton said. “But he understands his success is what has to do with him and his own work ethic. .. He controls what he can control. It will be the same thing at the next level. The comfort level will be the fit. The program where he feels most in line with the coach. Definitely, the camaraderie and brotherhood there with his teammates and that is those [players] that are there and those that are coming in. I think those are going to be some of the biggest things for him.”
Georgia is already on the level with at least a third of that formula. When asked by DawgNation after G-Day what was his biggest impression about UGA after that last unofficial visit, he had this to say.
“I would say the dedication to the athlete’s careers after football was a big highlight for me,” Kendall Milton said.
How Georgia has stood out in this recruiting journey
Milton is looking for consistency. With that, Georgia has been there and shown that for some time. How long has Milton and his family felt like a priority to UGA?
“Honestly from day one,” Chris Milton said. “The first time coach [Dell] McGee stepped foot in California to see Kendall he noticed he was a priority.
DawgNation has been writing about Milton for well over a year. He said this fall he’s basically had some kind of social media or text or some level of contact daily with UGA since the start of his junior season.
The film doesn’t do Milton justice. As far as his size goes. He now stands 6-foot-2 and weighs in at 220 pounds. Milton also eels McGee was convinced about his son’s worth once he saw him perform in person.
“Once he saw Kendall live, that’s when I feel that Georgia put both feet really in the water here,” Chris Milton said.
Georgia wowed the Miltons on the last unofficial by presenting to him some information that spoke to his desire to be an NFL back.
“They showed him where he is now with his size to where he could be monetary-wise with an NFL salary if he hits certain benchmarks,” Chris Milton said. “They were the only school that did that where he could actually look at a board and see all the running backs taken in the draft and see where Kendall would go in the draft today just based on his numbers and what it would take to continually move up those rounds.”
“I think that was pretty good. Granted we were impressed with the business school and all the other fine academic stuff. But at the end of the day, we would be going there to play football and we know that. That was pretty good when Georgia did that.”
Milton also used the term “hellafied” to describe the offensive line class that Georgia is building. It is already well known to DawgNation as “The Great Wall of Georgia.”
The recent additions of Josh Braun (6-foot-6 at least and 350 pounds) and Tate Ratledge (also that height and 315) have been noticed. But then there are two other highly regarded OLs, including a 5-star OT, to boot.
Line coach Sam Pittman might finish 2020 off with the greatest O-line class in UGA history.
It is no coincidence that Braun and Ratledge are in town this weekend. So is the nation’s No. 3 OG from Oklahoma in Andrew Raym. The wonder here is will Pittman will charge those guys with walking in front of Milton everywhere they go?
Those dudes might eclipse the Georgia sun.
“It is smart,” Chris Milton said. “If I am bringing in a guy and I am trying to sell him I am going to show you the guys that I have to protect you. I don’t think that’s a bad gig, right?”
The other thing here about Georgia with Kendall Milton
Chris Milton has noticed the constant warmth the Georgia recruits project on social media and in all situations. Ratledge says he is a “must have” for this class and then his girlfriend tells it like how it really is.
— AB (@abellebraden) June 12, 2019
That has made an impact.
“That is what is pretty cool,” Chris Milton said. “You see the recruits. That’s the one thing I have seen from this school [Georgia] versus every other school here. It is that ‘C’ mon man. We got you’ and ‘We are here come run behind me and we have got you’ and you see that going on.”
There is another topic to explore here. It says a lot about Kendall Milton outside of all this recruiting stuff.
It does involve that “hellafied” term for that wall Pittman is building.
“Just like with Georgia and how they are putting together this ‘hellafied” line,” Chris Milton said. “It is big. I mean the No. 1 line in the country in the nation as an offensive line. But at the end of the day, the onus is on Kendall to read his block correctly. The onus is on Kendall to hit the hole when he is supposed to and do all of that stuff. We absolutely look at the resources here but we truly understand it is what we do with all of those resources that make all of this stuff manifest.”
The other contenders for Kendall Milton
Kendall Milton is looking for a fit in which he can arrive and do the work to earn a spot as a No. 1 or No. 2 back. His father confirms that.
“He’s going in to be a No. 1 or a No.2,” Chris Milton said.
They do look at depth charts. Who is there now? Who is trending hard to the NFL? Georgia fits well here. See Brian Herrien now entering his senior season. See every “dead leg” run against elite competition authored by D’Andre Swift.
“He’s looking for a situation where he is coming in to legitimately compete for that No. 1 spot,” his father said. “No question.”
And Milton can be that at any of these schools. He’s been running 4.5s in the 40 meters since he was a freshman. A perplexing (4.76) laser time in the 40 is out there from the Opening regional this year. But the word on that one is that everyone timed slower than their norms out of that lane that day.
What has been the “de-briefing” so far from the Ohio State and LSU officials?
“Between the two of them here I am going to try to choose my words right here,” Chris Milton said. “So actually leaving Ohio State and LSU to be completely honest a couple of things that Kendall saw for both of them was 100 percent a family feel coming from a coaching staff and definitely an opportunity to come in and play.”
LSU holds the crown for the best food on an OV so far. The Miltons also have family there, too. The same thing can also be said for the Ohio State region.
He felt that both visits allowed him the chance to see real people. Fathers and men. Not just millionaire coaches and their army of polished recruiters. Chris Milton had a long heart-to-heart with first-year (full-time) Ohio State coach Ryan Day.
“We had a real real conversation,” Chris Milton said. “Just about very personal things. Which was good.”
At LSU, there wasn’t that heart-to-heart with an on-field coach, but a recent hire as a defensive analyst. Milton appreciated the words he shared with former USC All-American Kenechi Udeze.
“We got to meet those guys as men,” Chris Milton said. “Take the LSU off your shirt stuff there. Take the Ohio State off your shirt. Now, let’s talk. That’s really what we try to achieve.”
This highlight reel below should reference the need for such a detailed report.
This is a big visit for both Milton and Georgia.