Crystal Ballin: Milton to Michigan

For months, it looked like Michigan was going to Bishop Gorman (NV) QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson to its 2018 recruiting class. However, an early March visit to UCLA, mixed with former UM passing coordinator Jedd Fisch’s recruiting pitch and path to the top of the depth chart changed things there as DTR committed to the Bruins on Sunday night, just a week after visiting Ann Arbor for the spring game.

But there was another quarterback target on that visit. One who, according to Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz, quickly caught the attention of the entire coaching staff ($).

2018 Olympia (FL) QB Joe Milton is one of the most physically impressive players in the class. He’s a big, strong armed, freak of an athlete that can be a problem when he runs but is a throw-first quarterback. Though he’s a bit raw, just watching two minutes of his highlight tape will show you why he quickly jumped to the top of the staff’s board.

And, after doing some digging and reading the tea leaves, I believe that dream will come true for the staff as I’ve put in my Crystal Ball prediction for Milton to Michigan.

Though he’s a bit of a reserved kid, he raved about his Michigan visit to The Wolverine’s Brandon Brown, as well as how the state’s weather is actually a good thing ($):

I feel like Michigan is a great school and a great program,” he said. “If I make it to the NFL I could end up going somewhere that’s cold and I think Michigan is a place that could get me used to the weather changing. With the NFL you never know where you’re going to end up at. My whole quote about Michigan is ‘Ohana means family and family sticks together.’ That’s how I felt up there.”

That family atmosphere is something that you’ve seen a lot out of visiting recruits under this staff, and it’s clearly a big thing for Milton. But there’s another family connection to Jim Harbaugh that gives Michigan a unique advantage in this recruitment: Milton’s cousin is former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver, Anquan Boldin.

He spoke with Scout’s John Garcia about that relationship, via DetNews:

Jim Harbaugh taught my cousin in the NFL for the 49ers, Anquan Boldin,” he said. “My cousin talked to me and said Harbaugh is a great person, he does the right thing at all times. It’s great I know someone who has all that under their belt, for them to tell me that is great. He stays focused and always leads his team the right way.”

So, Michigan has that inside recruiter to go along with the quick, family bond with the staff. But that’s not all.

According to The Wolverine’s Chris Balas, Milton also raved about his bond with Pep Hamilton, who went out to watch the Sunshine State star throw in person. And he may have tipped his hand about which way he’s leaning ($).

Looking for another good sign for Michigan here? Milton also told The Wolverine’s Brandon Brown about his plans to announce his commitment “soon”, mentioning that it could come this upcoming week with a video ($).

For anyone that has followed recruiting for awhile knows, announcing a quick decision date right after a visit is almost always a good sign.

So, will his announcement be for Michigan or was the visit to Ann Arbor not enough to overtake the lead that both Florida and Georgia had on UM prior?

Milton was seen as a heavy lean to the Gators for awhile but things looked like they started to cool prior to his trip to Michigan. That’s where Georgia looked to make a move, which has them looking like the biggest threats to the Wolverines, according to Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz ($).

That’s especially the case after he decided to make his way to Athens for the spring game this weekend.

It’s very possible that Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs staff could sway Milton but when you read all of the tea leaves, including the recent recruiting success at the position for UGA in signing two former top three quarterback recruits in 2016 (Jacob Eason) and 2017 (Jake Fromm). Both of which look to be as legit as expected.

(Not to mention the Georgia staff clearly not feeling uber-confident as they offered another quarterback, 2018 Lehi (UT) QB Cammon Cooper, on Thursday).

And that’s not saying Michigan hasn’t had success in the same recruiting class with Brandon Peters and Dylan McCaffrey. It’s the Harbaugh-factor that has me feeling good about UM here.

It also has Rivals’ National Analyst Mike Farrell predicting Milton to choose Michigan as well ($).

So, to go along with a mini-rush of predictions from the likes of InsideTheU’s Andrew Irvins, MGoBlog’s Ace Anbender, Landof10’s Brandon Justice and AuburnUndercover’s Keith Niebuhr, and Gators247’s Luke Stampini hearing that Michigan is indeed leading the race ($), I’ve put in my Crystal Ball. We’ll see if his visit to Michigan, connections to the staff, and chance to learn under Harbaugh can out weight whatever Georgia threw at him during this past weekend’s visit.

This would be one of the most intriguing additions on the recruiting trail in Harbaugh’s short Michigan coaching career.

Photo Credit: