Central Florida’s McKenzie Milton, a 2016 Mililani alumnus who has been competing with two freshmen for the starting quarterback job in camp, appears to have won it.
UCF coach Scott Frost held a press conference after practice on Wednesday and while he stopped short of saying Milton would definitely start the first game of the season against FIU on Aug. 31, he made it pretty clear Milton is the leader moving forward.
“Through the course of practice, McKenzie has clearly been the best guy,” Frost said. “He’s earned the right to be our guy at this point in camp. … At this point, he’s running with the 1’s and looking forward, I think if he keeps doing what he’s doing he’ll be out there Game 1.”
Milton set a freshman record at UCF with 194 completions last year. He played in 10 games and threw for 1,983 yards and 10 touchdowns and also rushed for two more scores.
The Knights had six different players attempt a pass last year, but Frost says he wants one guy to take the role.
“We’ll be smart about the quarterback position,” Frost said. “I don’t really believe in multiple quarterback situations. I think you have to be in the game and familiar with the flow of the game and comfortable to be at your best.”
Milton was expecting to redshirt last season, but a slew of injuries forced him to play right away. He became the first true freshman to start a game for UCF since 2010.
“I think McKenzie has grown up,” Frost said. “He’s hitting a lot of the easy throws that he missed last year. I think his mechanics have improved. I think his familiarity with the offense has improved. He’s made significant strides since last year.
“We kind of threw him into the fire last year. We had no intentions of playing him last year until we had an injury at the quarterback position. He suffered through some good times and some bad times last year. Hopefully he’s learned from that and he’ll be that much more ready to go this year.”
Milton led the Trojans to the 2014 state title and is fourth all-time among Hawaii high school quarterbacks with 7,303 career passing yards and 81 touchdowns.