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Joe Milton III Models Game After Former NFL MVP, Downplays Heisman Watch List

Joe Milton
Tennessee QB Joe Milton III appeared on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football on Tuesday. Photo of Milton courtesy of Tennessee Athletics.

After Hendon Hooker led Tennessee as the starting quarterback over the past two seasons, Joe Milton III will now look to make his impression on the football world in a similar way during his final year on Rocky Top.

Expectations are high for the Tennessee offense, and Milton is right in the middle of that conversation. Tennessee has quickly been established as a strong offensive team under Josh Heupel as the head coach. And while Hooker was able to run the offense so well because of his accuracy and quick decision-making, the expectations at Tennessee will be that the Vols can still run what has been successful with Milton behind the line instead of Hooker.

And while Hooker was Tennessee’s starter the past two years, the Vols’ last two games, including an Orange Bowl contest against No. 7 Clemson, have been won by Milton.

All eyes are on Joe Milton this season. Considering the SEC doesn’t necessarily have an established, unmistakable elite and proven quarterback popping out right now, combined with the fact that Anthony Richardson was drafted in the Top 5 picks off of promise and potential, Milton is one of the most fascinating stories heading into the 2023 season.

Milton appeared on the NFL Network’s Good Morning Football show on Tuesday morning to discuss his former teammates Hendon Hooker and Jalin Hyatt, talk about his mentality heading into the year, and much more.

One question that came up revealed Milton’s favorite player to watch and model his game after – a former MVP and SEC player, too.

“My favorite guy doesn’t play football anymore. He wants to come back, but he doesn’t play football anymore,” Milton said. “Cam Newton is my favorite guy. That’s been my favorite guy since I was, like, three (years old). Just watching him in college, watching him hold that Crystal Ball was probably the most enjoyable moment that I had just watching him play. Also when he won the MVP, I pretty much cried after that one. But that’s my favorite guy.”

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With Cam Newton not playing professional football right now, Milton says that the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes and the Bills’ Josh Allen are two guys that he is currently watching and studying the game from.

Going back to Newton, though, and the similarities on paper are fairly striking. Auburn Football’s website lists Newton at 6-foot-6, 250 pounds. Tennessee’s website lists Milton at 6-foot-5, 242 pounds. Both players also began at one Power Five school before eventually transferring to another Power Five school. And while Newton did win the Heisman in 2010, Joe Milton says that the preseason watch lists and conversations in that realm are not something that he is putting too much stock in.

“I’ve seen it once before but to me, personally, I don’t look at it just because we’ve got other things in mind,” Milton said about preseason Heisman watch lists. “A goal that we want to achieve as a team, whatever my goals that I may have is not the goals I want to achieve right now because the team is more important than I am. It’s all about the team at this point. So, you know, we’ve got three rings to chase for and everything else will just fall in place. If the Heisman comes up, then it comes up. But at the same time, if we’re winning, it’ll take care of it.”

With Good Morning Football being an NFL show on the NFL Network, the hosts around the table had to ask Milton about two of the players that are projected to take the league by storm in the next few years: The Giants’ Jalin Hyatt and the Lions’ Hendon Hooker.

“A dawg,” Milton said about what the Lions are getting with Hooker. “A dawg. A guy that wants to work. He’s always willing to learn, always going to help whoever, and just a leader, man. That guy, he talks at any time, he’ll let you know what it is and what it ain’t. That’s just him.”

Jalin Hyatt, on the other hand… Well, Milton is simply just putting the league on notice for the new wide receiver in the NFC East.

“Tyreke Hill and Jalen Waddle aren’t the fastest players in the league anymore,” Milton said with a grin.

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