A dove, an edit and why 5-star Kendall Milton had such a personal official visit at UGA
There are moments in this life when Kendall Milton is happy and sad and thankful and proud and hopeful and blessed and grateful.
The nation’s No. 3 RB prospect for the 2020 cycle has felt all of those things as a teenager coming up in this life. He will continue to do so. When he does, he has his own compass for them. This one is made with ink.
It rests on his right arm.
“This tattoo it was mostly meant for my great-grandfather who passed,” Kendall Milton said. “I have his birthday right on the lower part. Then there is kind of a stairway and it is then me walking the stairway.”
Milton says that stairway on his arm leads up to heaven.
“Up the stairway, there is a dove,” he said. “That is meant for something. I am going to get a dove for every person close to me that passes. I am going to get a dove that represents them.”
It will mean everything to him. It already does.
“So it represents me getting to meet [his great-grandfather] him again.”
The only dove he has stained on his arm right now is that for his father’s grandfather. That name “Wiley Williams” and his memory is cherished among his family.
“My grandfather would always take me and my brother on walks through the train tracks down in East Oakland,” Kendall Milton said. “We would just go on walks together. All the time. That was just the biggest thing.”
Milton also has the foundational New Testament verse of John 3:16 on that arm.
If he goes on to rush for 20,000 yards in college and pro football, he will still have that.
If he does, it will still be the most valuable thing he owns. Much more vital than any wallet or cards or a watch he carries now.
“It most definitely is,” he said.
When he looks down at that arm now, he sees that lone dove.
Georgia saw that, too. The Bulldog staff wanted to know all about that.
About the Georgia edit for Kendall Milton here ….
The Georgia official visit and the “edit” has drawn more than 3,100 “likes” on Twitter.
— Chris Milton (@fatherofballers) June 16, 2019
That volume of likes is more than most Bulldog commitment edits typically garner on Twitter. Which says something.
It speaks to a commitment made to Milton by his family. And vice versa.
DawgNation (or LSUNation or BuckeyeNation or BamaNation) will have to understand that it will remain his most important commitment. No matter what he decides by August. Or sooner.
“That edit meant a lot,” Kendall Milton said. “It shows the school wants to make Father’s Day really special for us. Their gift to us on Father’s Day through that edit. Man.”
He took a half-second for a brief pause. Then carried on that thought.
“Man, that was something crazy,” he said.
Let’s just describe it like this: It was proof that this specific football program is paying attention to what drives this recruiting target.
Georgia knew about that tattoo and its significance and then moved to create something special out of it. It was the nine-year anniversary of his great-grandfather’s death.
That gesture – and the family’s reaction to it – dwarfs any other words that might convey a memorable official here for Milton and his family.
“They knew all that,” Kendall Milton said. “They knew that day was the anniversary of his death and then they surprised us with it. It was just so special because they didn’t just do it out-of-nowhere and do it.”
His father is a serious and passionate man. When pondering what it might take to make him cry, a jackhammer comes to mind.
That edit sparked tears. In a different way.
“It brought my Dad to tears,” Kendall Milton said. “[My great-grandfather] was a special person in our family.”
UGA went past “amazing” for Kendall Milton on this official
That was the word Milton used to describe his only other trip to UGA. It was a three-day unofficial visit where he saw everything except for maybe where Hairy Dawg keeps the air freshener in his gameday costume.
What was the word to describe for his official visit? Milton had another one, too.
“I would just say informal,” Milton said. “G-Day was kind of, you know, there was a whole bunch of recruits. Everybody there was on that left side of the field. They made it a priority to answer all the academic questions we needed and they made it very informal.”
What should everyone know about this visit?
“With Georgia, that was a visit where every time you get there you learn more about that place and the school and the program,” he said. “It has been nothing but good for me. They gave me a plan of how they would use me and the timing of everything that would be put into place. For me, with Georgia and everything that was really a special visit.”
Cliff Notes version: D’Andre Swift is trending hard for the NFL. Especially as he is set to pile up yards behind the Sam Pittman Bulldog line this fall. Brian Herrien also has just one year left of carries in Athens.
When those guys finish up in 2019, the Bulldogs are going to need a rare talent like Milton at the top of the depth chart with Zamir White, James Cook and Kenny McIntosh.
It should not be lost on folks (with the 2020 plan) that only one of those backs has gained a yard in college football so far.
Cook, the only one who has, is slotted to be more of an all-purpose dynamo working from the slot and as a scatback. Georgia gave Milton everything he would ever need to ponder his future in Athens.
“They answered all questions,” Kendall Milton said. “They wanted to get me all the information I needed to know to see myself being very successful at Georgia and they did that very well.”
He sees McGee as a mentor who could take him on the same ride he had with Chubb and Michel.
“I feel like he is one of those people who can bring that ‘Dog that bite they need to be successful in the game,” Milton said. “As I’ve said before, he’s put a lot of people into the NFL. So it shows that he knows what he is doing and how to get people to the next level. That’s pretty big for me about him.”
The single biggest thing Milton likes about Georgia
Milton likes that description about what the UGA backfield might look like in 2020. He will enroll somewhere in January of 2020. When he trains now, he trains for his first spring practice in college. Not his senior year for Buchanan High School in California.
“I like the situation of being able to come in and play early with D’Andre Swift leaving,” Milton said. “So that was probably the biggest thing for me with Georgia.”
He wears No. 2 but plans to change that up in college. He is not sure about those digits yet.
“I’m going to change it up in college since you can’t wear No. 2 as a running back in the NFL,” he said. “I want to stick with a number throughout the rest of my career. I will change it to a number that will go along with NFL regulations.”
He sent out a tweet where he tagged the accounts of Georgia RB greats Nick Chubb, Todd Gurley and Sony Michel. The legacy those guys have in Athens is apparent to him.
“It is huge to me,” Milton said. “Especially coach [Dell] McGee coaching the majority of those backs. So it just shows he knows what he is doing and how to get people in the league. That’s the end goal that I want. That attracts me.”
The big thing for him coming out of the visit was the plan Georgia showed him for his potential future in Athens. It speaks to what his father, Chris, has told DawgNation about a great potential fit in the past.
“He’s going in to be a No. 1 or a No.2,” Chris Milton said.
Milton feels he will be ready to share his decision with the world by the end of July.
What Kendall Milton wants to do on his life’s walk
Milton, as we have come to know, is a purposeful dude. When Nipsey Hussle lost his life this year, it moved him.
That’s what that broken heart emoji on the top of his Twitter page signifies. “Nipsey” was more than one label could brand him: Rapper. Musician. Producer. Activist. Community anchor. Mentor. Father.
“Nipsey was a person if you listen to his music and his lyrics he was just an inspirational person,” Kendall Milton said. “He was basically doing his all for his community. It was a shame he had to die young for others and their lack of pride.”
It affected him. Especially for a young man who already wants to move beyond his branding as just a player on the highlight reels.
“With me, you see a lot of people ‘make it’ but don’t do anything to provide for others and just take care of themselves,” Kendall Milton said. “Nipsey, to me, was that one who was different from the pack. He was the one who showed me that no matter how big you make it you always stay true to your roots and take care of your people.”
But first, the next move on that path is to play ball. Build a brand. He will then use that platform to affect others with his daily walk up those stairs.
With his upcoming decision, Milton knows what the most important criteria will be. His father has previously told DawgNation that they see it in thirds.
- Comfortability: 33 percent
- Opportunity and development on the field: 33 percent
- Life after football: 33 percent
Milton said that there is a component now which will stand above all others.
“I would say the life after football aspect,” he said. “Seeing how the alumni support the athletes after football. That would be the biggest thing for me.”
He felt a certain way about the Bulldogs after that first long unofficial after G-Day. The Bulldogs were able to elevate themselves from that spot with this visit.
“They basically showed me how wanted I am in the program,” Milton said. “I want to go to a place where they want me and can see me playing early. That’s what they provided.”
He hung out with the guys this weekend. Milton got to hang out and gobble up some crawfish, too. Pretty much like they were yards in the Big 10 or the SEC.
Nolan Smith was in his circle this weekend, too. He already considers the Bulldog freshman to be a close friend.
“Being with the team and the other people on their visits was also the most fun part of the visit.”
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