Wondering why scouts don’t flock to see Milton

Mililani quarterback McKenzie Milton ran for a big gain during the Trojans' 67-21 win over Kapolei on Saturday at John Kauinana Stadium. Bruce Asato / Honolulu Star-Advertiers.
Mililani quarterback McKenzie Milton ran for a big gain during the Trojans’ 67-21 win over Kapolei on Saturday at John Kauinana Stadium. Bruce Asato / Honolulu Star-Advertiers.

I am here to tell you that McKenzie Milton is something special.

Sure, sure, the person who is saying that (me) also thought Jarin Morikawa was something special. And he was, but Milton, who took over the Mililani quarterback job three years ago after Morikawa graduated, is on a whole ‘nother level.

Morikawa was a great quarterback. Milton is more accurate, has more zip on the ball and his mobility allows him to gain valauble seconds in which he can create masterfully.

And then there’s his agility mixed with speed. Milton calls it game speed, which is true, but it’s also lethal speed in its own right.

Milton had a good laugh after the Trojans’ 67-21 win over Kapolei, when he was told he could be matched against world-class sprinter Usain Bolt.

When Billy Hull, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and Hawaii Prep World reporter covering Saint Louis’ win over Liberty, Nev., at Aloha Stadium, called after the game to get a quick report on Milton, he was told everything he needed to know in two words: “515 yards.”

But everyone else needs to know a lot more about Milton. He did it against Kapolei and the Hurricanes are not a pushover. Milton also scrambled for 60 rushing yards and one of his highlights was a play that a penalty nullified in which he darted and accelerated and twisted and turned and found an inch near the sideline that opened up a diagonal path the last four yards into the end zone.

Talent and smarts. He passed the ball 45 times with 33 completions, no interceptions and six touchdowns. Yes, some of it has to do with Mililani’s system, but system doesn’t tell the whole story.

“He is the best quarterback I’ve ever seen,” Kapolei coach Darren Hernandez said after the game. “I can’t think of anyone better, can you?”

Hernandez’s demeanor was that he wasn’t kidding.

“What about Joe Montana?” came the reply, to which Hernandez responded while walking away and being approached by three or four people to take his full attention away, “Well, maybe Joe Montana.”

But seriously, try standing on the sideline and watch Milton go to work. His quick release and bee-line, zippity midrange passes are something to see.

Truth be told, whether Milton is the best Hawaii high school quarterback of all-time or not, his overall package is something Hawaii hasn’t seen. He has one state championship under his belt and he came close to leading the Trojans to another one when he was a sophomore, but a comeback against Punahou fell short.

So, why is it that only the University of Hawaii and the three service academies — Army, Navy, Air Force — have recruited him? Sure, size is something. He’s 6 feet, 180 pounds, not your standard Division I college football or pro quarterback.

One thing Milton has going for him is his easy-going demeanor. He is just one of the boys among the Trojans. It’s not like there is this huge aura around him wherever he goes. He’s usually right in the middle of a bunch of teammates, where it’s kind of hard to pick him out. He’s just a blond, smiling kid.

But you would think by now that there would be other colleges in the mix for his services. Heard a rumor a few weeks ago that he’s going to be UH’s quarterback when June Jones comes back as coach … ahem, cough, cough … if June Jones comes back. That’s what the rumor mill says, even though Norm Chow is still the man in charge and there is lots of optimism about the upcoming season.

“For the most part, I don’t want to run or scramble,” Milton said after the win over Kapolei. “I am a quarterback, a passer first. I would rather hand the ball off to Vavae (Malepeai) than run myself. I’d rather throw than run. I only try to make plays with my feet when I have to.”

The kid is special and he can play, and the more he progresses into his “profession” as a quarterback, the more people might start agreeing with Hernandez, who quite possibly could start qualifying his remark in the near future.

Maybe it will change to “best high school quarterback, or best Hawaii high school quarterback,” or “best OIA quarterback ever.” And maybe Hernandez won’t qualify it. Maybe he sees something that others don’t.

No matter what Hernandez really meant, you get the idea.

McKenzie Milton is a special quarterback.


  1. H August 30, 2015 6:47 am

    I said that when I first saw him on TV as a sophmore at mid season. At that time he was splitting time with a senior QB.

  2. hossana August 30, 2015 7:55 am

    Geezus, I wholeheartedly agree on your assessment on Milton…that guy is just something special….i mean, like last nite i was watching the game on tv and was so amazed by his arm strength, quickness, instincts and agility…there was one play where he was chased in the backfield and rolled to his right to escape the defender and with his eyes looking downfield all the time, threw a strike to his receiver down the 5 or 2 yd. line…i mean he is rolling to his left and throws with his right hand a perfect strike….i mean, talk about being special…his throws had a lot of zip and his elusiveness is what keeps the offense going…..yup, i agree he is something special and i know he has committed to UH and I just hope they don’t mess with him and put him in as a slotback or some other position than his natural position as QB…i believe Kalakaua Timoteo has also committed to UH, also….

  3. hossana August 30, 2015 7:56 am

    oops, made a mistake in my last blog on Milton…..i apologize….he rolled to his left and threw with his right hand….sorry…but it was an incredible play on his part that i can still visualize…….great player……..great article…..

  4. Papakoolau August 30, 2015 8:28 am

    This young man is awesome! That’s ok if no one else comes looking for him. But if they do they wont be disappointed !

  5. Blake Rose August 30, 2015 10:23 am

    This guy is the Real Deal.
    Best high school QB that I have ever seen!

  6. Kirk August 30, 2015 12:42 pm

    U’mmmm 515 is Five Hundred fifteen. So 515 yards is 4 words.

  7. hahashandah August 30, 2015 2:47 pm

    Mililani has a triple threat with QB, RB and Receiver. Not to mention that they have great Offensive/Defensive lines, with good play calling. I think if you took away the gifted receivers he would look like the Kapolei QB. Where that QB makes plays but a lot of dropped passes. Is he the best HS QB in Hawaii today? Yes. The best QB to come from Hawaii IS Marcus Mariota… Hands down. Lets not confuse the two. I would be concerned for him at U.H. if he cant get the pass protection he is getting now he will have a really hard time making plays.

  8. red x August 30, 2015 3:42 pm

    Milton and tua is the best hawaii high school Quarterbacks ever. Nothing against mariota but we talking about high school here. I can’t decide who’s better but both is winning there games coz of them two.

  9. Nick Abramo August 30, 2015 6:36 pm

    Hossana: I saw your comment on when Milton went left and threw back across his body. Right. A perfect strike and could easily have made it into the story. … Everybody else: College and pros are a way different thing than high school and it’s always possible a high school kid won’t make it at the higher level. That’s true with everybody. However, even with that in mind, I think the kid has skills that would fit just about anywhere at the college level. Just my opinion, though, and I could be wrong. He does things that I’ve never seen before (and I’ve been around the block a few times) and that is one of the reasons why I think he has a good chance to be great in college. For anyone who is judging him by his stats or what they’ve read or saw on TV, my suggestion is buy a ticket, attend a game and get as close as possible to the field. Watch and see for yourself. And, like I said, I could be wrong. And Darren Hernandez could be wrong. — Nick Abramo

  10. Hahashandah August 30, 2015 7:28 pm

    Just to clarify, in my opinion Milton is much better than Tua. The whole St. Louis thing baffles me how they are “ranked” above Punahou and Kahuku. I can’t wait for St. Louis to play Punahou and see how that turns out.

  11. Pomi Milton August 30, 2015 8:56 pm

    Mckenzie has several Division 1 offers.
    Trust me on that…

  12. Nick Abramo August 30, 2015 9:50 pm

    Pomi, please email me at nabramo@staradvertiser.com and let me know what schools have made offers aside from Hawaii, Army, Air Force and Navy? Aloha, Nick Abramo.

  13. Red Raider 4 Life August 31, 2015 7:25 am

    From what I have read here in hawaiiprepworld, Milton sounds like a great QB. I hope he leaves the Island and come has a chance to play up here in the Northwest (cough cough Oregon/Oregon State)… Good luck Milton (Except against Big Red of course).

  14. KonaWarrior August 31, 2015 1:38 pm

    So what I would like to know is, being that June Jones is currently not a coach, could he actually reach out and make more contact with Milton and his family without violating any NCAA rules?

  15. Nick Abramo August 31, 2015 1:45 pm

    good question; if the rumor mill is true, then I would imagine everything is on the back channel. … Channel Z, possibly, (haha, that’s a song by the B52s and highly recommended).

  16. Joe Smako August 31, 2015 7:56 pm

    First of all you need to look at Milton’s quarterback mechanics. That is the main reason why the big schools did not offer. Do u know how many quarterbacks in the USA who can run like him? Who are faster than him? If Tua stays in all the games he has played in the 4th quarter when their up by 30 points, he would go over 500 yards every game. Milton is good but apparently USC, UCLA, OLE MISS, ETC…. Think that Tua is better… But if Tua plays McKinley, Campbell, or Kapolei he would probably not be playing after the 1st quarter. Fyi everyone that doesn’t live on Oahu, never went to an OIA school, and coached college and in THE NFL seem to feel that Tua is better. Should I keep going????

  17. Trojan fan September 1, 2015 7:52 am

    @joe smako I know Tua cannot run like him,or is as fast as him.So what’s your point to get on here and talk smak.Do you think anybody cares about your opinions.Does it make you feel like a man to belittle agreat QB.Should I keep going????OIA ALL THE WAY BABY.

  18. Joe Smako September 1, 2015 9:05 am

    @trojan fan

    No one is talking trash. Read the article. Why scouts dont?????? Never said Tua was faster. That’s exactly my point. He is fast and he can run like all the other dual threat who’s in the mainland. But if you can throw and run now you are effective. OIA or ILH has nothing to do with not getting recruited by the big schools. I didn’t come on hear for u to like my opinion. Or to belittle a him. But for you to say great??lol Its ok that u feel he is the greatest quarterback. Yeah u should keep going so I can see how crazy you sound. Btw Hawaii is recruiting him as an athlete. Rumor has it that June Jones will take over and want to use him like Chad Owens. Don’t get mad its all over the internet. And yeah u should keep going.

  19. 88 September 1, 2015 10:56 am

    You thinking UH might use him like the Ewaliko kid?

  20. Hahashandah September 1, 2015 6:20 pm

    Hey @Nick Abramo, isn’t the lack of scouts for Milton because has already committed to U.H.? I have heard once you commit, your high school coach is supposed to protect you from other schools (remember I am talking about protecting once you commit, not stop you from receiving offers from other schools before committing). Also, since he has committed to U.H. him de-committing from U.H. could create an issue between Coach York and U.H.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email hawaiiprepworld@staradvertiser.com.