Picture Georgia coach Dell McGee holding up two digits when it comes to the 2020 recruiting class.
McGee needs two of those “Show Dawgs” and “End Zone Stalkers” he likes to tweet about.
It is even more of a thing for 2020 with the clear NFL potential D’Andre Swift plus just one year left of eligibility for Brian Herrien. James Cook is a multi-purpose talent for run and pass game.
Zamir White is a question mark with the ability and determination to morph into an exclamation point in a slow but steady rollout during the 2019 season. While the Bulldogs did sign unheralded 4-star Kenny McIntosh in their 2020 class, there’s more work to do in this class.
Georgia likes to see at least five elite talents sitting in McGee’s room. That’s why McGee and Kirby Smart have been recruiting California 5-star Kendall Milton on pretty much a daily basis going back to the 2019 cycle.
Maryland 5-star RB MarShawn Lloyd is also a clear priority to shape the future of Georgia’s dominant run game. Lakeland (Fla.) 5-star gem DeMarkcus Bowman is another target the Bulldogs have in mind. Texas 5-star Zachary Evans will be tough to pull from his home state, but he’s also on McGee’s mind.
Milton, the nation’s No. 2 RB for 2020 per the 247Sports Composite standard, told DawgNation in January the Bulldogs would get a visit before the end of his junior year. That is still very much a thing.
His father Chris Milton even used the phrase “without a doubt” to describe the certainty of that UGA visit. Milton is not as tethered to California as Evans might justbe to the state of Texas.
“He’s already made the decision that just because he’s born and raised in Calfornia that he has no problem playing football on the other side of this country,” his father said.
The logic behind the spring visits for Kendall Milton
The notion that a trip to see UGA on a multi-school tour was just one of the interesting patterns emerging with this recruitment.
“Absolutely,” Chris Milton said. “We’re just setting up the dates right now. Definitely. He’s been in touch with coach McGee with that.”
Let’s hit the holes quickly on a few of these items very quickly:
- Milton plans a Southeast spring unofficial tour which will cover Alabama, Georgia and LSU, at least.
- He will enroll in January of 2020.
- Milton last released a Top 10 but he’s really working off a Top 7 or a Top 8 at this time. The spring visits around the Deep South will help narrow things down to a Top 5. His official visits will then flow to those five schools.
- Location is not a factor here at all.
- What is a factor? Chris Milton feels his son will prioritize two elements in his recruiting: 1) An educational framework around a strong business degree and 2) The ability to compete for early playing time.
- Don’t look for his parents to apply any pressure or excess insight into this process. His parents are there to provide the logic and structure to his decision. “A lot of this is up to him here,” Chris Milton said. “It really is.”
The Kendall Milton official visit plan
Spring officials will be hard for Milton. The plan now is to look at taking the majority of those officials during his senior season. There’s a bye week for Buchanan High. That’s an option.
“If he’s able to do any during the season it will probably be during the bye week,” Chris Milton said. “I think he also has a Thursday game so maybe we will be able to travel during the season then. But everything else will be in May and June.”
The new NCAA recruiting rules established with the 2019 class now allow for spring officials. The latest NCAA recruiting pamphlets state set that window from April 1 through the Sunday prior to the last Wednesday in June.
“So between now and May we will be getting unofficials out of the way and Georgia is absolutely one of the schools he wants to visit,” Chris Milton said. “So now it is a matter of my schedule and my wife’s schedule here and Kendall’s school schedule with that.”
— Kendall Milton💕 (@_KendallMilton) March 13, 2019
Chris Milton said the family will be grinding to get to the “four or five schools” his son hopes to visit before May. That will allow the family to simplify the rest of the process down to five schools and five official visits.
He does not expect his son to commit prior to his senior season. That’s because at least two of those officials will not likely take place until the 2019 slate gets kicked off.
“He will probably be able to make a decision after his last official visits in September,” Chris Milton said.
His parents have noticed a new mindset. When he trains, they get the sense he’s not doing so to prepare for his final season of high school ball. Milton has set his path to prepare to compete for playing time when he joins his next team in January of 2020.
“My wife and I were talking about it,” Chris Milton said. “We see a complete shift in his mentality of how he’s attacking his school and sports and that marriage. It is a trip to see how focused and disciplined he is becoming. For lack of better words here, it is like he is growing up.”
Milton said his son is right at 6 feet, 2 inches and 220 pounds. He recently set a new PR with a two-rep squat max of 500 pounds.
— Chris Milton (@fatherofballers) March 15, 2019
How UGA has been recruiting Kendall Milton
Why does Georgia have a good shot here with a California 5-star? Milton and 5-star ILB Justin Flowe are two examples of the program extending its recruiting reach to the left coast.
The program does now contend for the biggest trophies every year. The Bulldogs also produce and launch backs into the NFL. The last two linebackers to go Top 10 in the NFL draft are also from UGA.
“One thing that I like to look at is how the depth charts are and how deep in running backs they are,” Milton told DawgNation in January. “At some schools, they will recruit me but have an eight-running back-backfield which will kind of limit the playing time. But with schools like Georgia, you can see where they are going to be in a situation where they are short on running backs. It is a great situation to come into and be able to take a spot.”
Chris Milton was able to simplify that view. He just likes McGee’s style.
“One of the things I like is coach McGee straight out asked ‘How do you want me to recruit you?’ and was like ‘Do you want me to hit you every day’ or ‘Do you want me to hit you every once in a while?’ and to just tell him what you want.”
Kendall Milton said “Hey, do you” with that.
“So coach McGee and coach [Kirby} Smart and all of the other coaches as well hit him often,” Chris Milton said. “They definitely keep in contact with him.”
That said, he outlined the ways that his son is not impressed just by the quantity of communication. When the “Do you” happens, the majority of those talks better not be about football.
It sounds like his son will wake up to about 20 messages every day. Many of those will go unanswered.
“At the end of the day we are convinced that Kendall will play as a freshman,” Chris Milton said. “We are convinced of that. So you go to say and sit here and look at whatever a particular school is offering outside of the football with that. It has to just be better than everywhere else.”
What does he think are the most important things in his son’s hierarchy of needs behind this decision? He clarified a point we covered earlier:
- The business school: The strength of that program and how they set a player up for life after football. What level of support does a player get when he is no longer “The Man” toting the rock?
- Football: His opportunity to compete for key reps as soon as he joins the program.
He added a powerful thought to close out the conversation.
“I like coach McGee,” Chris Milton said. “Coach McGee seems to be a really good guy. We have genuine conversations. You can tell he really does want Kendall. I think Kendall does look at the fact about the backs that come out of that school and looking at their success.”
“The fact that we are going to visit Georgia sometime at some point very soon lets me know a lot of the pieces of that puzzle have already been put together. Now it is about going down there, breathing the air and seeing it all for ourselves.”