Joe Milton was the primary starting quarterback for Michigan football during the disappointing 2020 season. Now, he is the second high-profile quarterback to transfer from the program in recent months.
In late January, former four-star Dylan McCaffrey announced his transfer to Northern Colorado, the FCS program now coached by his father, former Denver Broncos star wide receiver Ed McCaffrey. Milton was also a four-star recruit, and got off to a promising start in 2020.
He opened the season completing 15-of-22 passes for 225 yards and a touchdown, and added 52 rushing yards and a score in a win over Minnesota. The next week, he threw for 300 yards, but was held out of the end zone, as Michigan was stunned by rival Michigan State. Things trended downward from there.
Joe Milton finished 80-for-141 for 1,077 yards, four touchdowns, and four interceptions in six games for Michigan football. Cade McNamara stepped in, and threw for 425 yards, five touchdowns, and no picks in four appearances. Now, it looks like McNamara will duel it out with five-star 2021 signee J.J. McCarthy to start next year, a pivotal one for Jim Harbaugh.
Joe Milton will be transferring. That means Harbaugh will have his EIGHTH QB in 7 years this fall.
Maybe it’s not all their faults? Just a thought
— Jim Costa (@JimCosta_) February 18, 2021
"Harbaugh finally got his quarterback! We're a contender again!" -every Michigan fan in 2020 one game into Joe Milton's career https://t.co/p4xfZ2Nar0
— Scarlet & Game (@ScarletAndGame) February 18, 2021
We’ll always have the Joe Milton Heisman Campaign that lasted from 10/24/20 – 10/31/20
— Vijay Venkataraman (@Hindu_Hammer) February 18, 2021
The pressure is going to be significant on whichever quarterback lands the job. Jim Harbaugh recently signed a new contract with Michigan football, but for a reduced salary. It is pretty clear that his job is far from safe.
Many expect J.J. McCarthy to wind up being the guy as a true freshman. He was a five-star composite recruit, via 247Sports, ranked No. 24 overall in the 2012 class. He’s the No. 2 pro-style quarterback, and the No. 6 recruit from Illinois in the class.
Mentioned JJ McCarthy as a 2021 QB who's likely to play right away earlier this month. That's became all the more likely this morning when Joe Milton entered the portal.
McCarthy is the future at Michigan. Just give him the keys.https://t.co/4tAmp43aZq
— Chris Hummer (@chris_hummer) February 18, 2021
The road to a starting job gets easier for JJ McCarthy at Michigan. https://t.co/RRMMrzn6R1
— Jeremy Birmingham (@Birm) February 18, 2021
Between Nazareth High School in Illinois, and IMG Academy, where he played his last year, he was 36-2 as starting quarterback, with 7,905 career passing yards, 94 touchdowns, and just 13 interceptions. He did not throw a pick as a senior in 2020.