First Year Look: Kendall Milton

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First Year Look: Kendall Milton

Georgia freshman running back Kendall Milton at the UGA versus South Carolina basketball game earlier this year.
Georgia freshman running back Kendall Milton at the UGA versus South Carolina basketball game earlier this year.

Over the next couple of weeks, we here at Bulldawg Illustrated are going to be looking at Georgia football’s incoming freshman class of 2020 in a new series called First Year Look. The Bulldogs’ 2020 class features 25 signees that collectively finished as the No. 1 recruiting class in the country, according to 247Sports and Rivals.

Today, we will look at five-star running back Kendall Milton out of Clovis, California.

Milton committed back to Georgia on July 29, 2019 was one of two running backs Georgia took in their 2020 class. The California native chose the Bulldogs over big-time programs like Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, and LSU to name a few.

“At Georgia, along with every school on my list, there’s a great depth chart,” Milton said during the Opening in Dallas. “I’d have a lot of opportunity to come in and be a great player, and that’d probably be the biggest thing for me in choosing out of the top four. Can I get in early and get that playing time? Depth chart is a big thing. I don’t want to be one of those dudes riding the bench ’til junior year and then having a last year. I want to come on, make an immediate impact, and get to the league in three years. Athens is a good opportunity.”

Georgia hosted Milton several times, including the annual G-Day spring game back in 2019. After Milton’s official visit, he knew that Georgia would be the school for him.

“Seeing the plan they set up for me going into the program, being able to work for that starting spot, the benefits of the education, how big that alumni networking is, those are the biggest things that I took out of the visit,” Milton said.

Milton was one of six Georgia signees that enrolled early in January. That was when he began taking classes and participating in offseason workouts. Milton came in weighing somewhere around 215 pounds, but it’s been alleged that he has put on some weight since starting classes.

Photo from Chris Milton (Kendall’s father) that was taken on January 6th, 2020 at the UGA Tate Center on campus.

In prep ball, Milton rushed for 4,590 yards in his career at Buchanan High School with 76 total touchdowns. He racked up 1,261 rushing yards on 124 attempts and 20 touchdowns in his senior campaign. Milton did this surprisingly enough in eight games due to a quad injury that caused him to split carries with another player. His most impressive season was during his sophomore campaign when he rushed for 1,541 yards on 175 attempts averaging 8.7 yards per carry. He also had 23 touchdowns that year.

“Bigger back who runs with a unique blend of power, speed and balance. Shows more shiftiness than you’d expect from a back his size. His balance is top-notch. Can take a hit and not lose his base and gains significant yards after contact. Can run through holes and sees them before they open. Can hit the hole and go. Good but not great receiver out of the backfield. Has a tendency to run upright on occasion when there is traffic. Projects as immediate Power 5 starter and projects as first-round NFL draft choice.”

Brandon Huffman, National Recruiting Editor, 247Sports

Milton is comparable to Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner in the way he runs. He is a very physical back that can cut on a dime and leave defenders in the dust. One thing he will need to work on is his pass blocking ability, which is something that UGA head coach Kirby Smart values in his running backs. Milton also needs to work on his pass catching as well. Expect to see new offensive coordinator Todd Monken get Milton involved in the game plan once the season progresses, but he will have to improve on those two things if that is to happen.

We predict that it will be Zamir White to be the starting running back against Virginia on Sept. 7, but Milton has a chance to definitely see the field early on in the season and get some carries. As the season progresses, we will see how solid James Cook and Kenny McIntosh really are. The Georgia backfield is loaded yet again, but with D’Andre Swift gone, the battle for that second spot seems to be wide open. Of course, it really depends on the progression of the other backs, and how well Milton’s summer workouts and fall camp go.

Milton has the potential, but everything is up to him in terms of playing time. He seems to already have that hard-nose, rag-tag effort that former Georgia running back Nick Chubb displayed while he was in Athens. Expect to see a lot of Milton this year if all those boxes are checked off by August.

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Currently an intern for BI, and a junior journalism major at the University of Georgia.