Marc Daniels: McKenzie Milton...Future Head Coach?


Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl - Auburn v Central Florida

Let's get this out of the way first. I think Gus Malzahn is going to do really well at UCF. I also think he's not looking to leave in the near future and I truly believe he plans on staying at UCF for a long run. He's not even coached his first game, but I think Malzahn sees why UCF can be a special place and why Orlando is a great place to live. We got it? Ok.

This Saturday Malzahn's Knights will open the stadium again for the annual Spring Game. Fans get one final sneak peak of the team before the off-season begins. Dillon Gabriel will fling it around with a talented group of receivers. Gabriel has become the face and leader among players of this football team and is more vocal about it. He is one of the top quarterbacks in the country returning for the new season. He is excited about his new head coach and offensive coordinator and believes the Knights will be electrifying come the fall.

Meanwhile Saturday at 5p, about 250 miles away, another spring game will be played. That spring game will be just like UCF's gathering. Fans will get a sneak peak of their team and have high hopes for the 2021 year. But Florida State's Spring Game is really about the football return of McKenzie Milton. The real return is still months away when the Seminoles open up against Notre Dame on September 5th. For now, Milton remains a quarterback that can't be touched in workouts as he continues his miraculous return after suffering a horrific knee injury in 2018.

It is awkward seeing Milton wear garnet and gold. He was a Knight and will always be one of the greatest to put on a UCF uniform. In the fall, UCF fans will watch FSU games and it will still feel odd. Everyone in the country roots for Milton to play and stay healthy. 

I have no idea what kind of year FSU will have. I do know that if McKenzie Milton can return to some level of where he was at UCF, the Seminoles will win a few more games than people think. 

But this about the future. At the end of the 2021 season, there may be more football for Milton. Perhaps a healthy year allows for a chance to live out a dream and play in the NFL. Maybe it becomes one of the greatest comeback stories ever and McKenzie Milton goes on to a long and successful career in the pros. Maybe he wins a Super Bowl and after an MVP performance, he looks into a camera and when asked where he's going he answers: "I'm going to Disney World, my home...Orlando."

Milton will turn 24 during this upcoming season. I know he dreams of a healthy year and leading FSU to lots of wins. I know he has and still dreams about playing in the NFL. But I also think McKenzie Milton would love another dream to come true. I think McKenzie Milton dreams of one day being the head coach of UCF.

Remember what I said earlier about Gus Malzahn. I think he's here for a long and successful run. Malzahn will be 56 in the fall. Is it 10 years? 15? 20? I don't know. But when Milton's playing days are over- and that may be in one year or maybe in 10- I know he wants to get into coaching. Does anyone doubt he would be a pretty good offensive coach?

Milton will cut his teeth and start out like all do. He will likely go from a quarterback coach to an offensive coordinator. He will recruit and connect with players and he will be ready for the day, the day when someone looks at McKenzie Milton and says "that guy is going to make a great head coach someday."

I don't know when that day will be but I am guessing if you asked Milton what his dream job as a coach is he would tell you coming back to Orlando and leading the Knights.

Can you imagine in 2036 when a bouncing crowd of 68,000 at (insert sponsor name here) Bounce House are jumping up and down to a remixed version of "Zombie Nation" as the Knights, members of the (insert newly named power league here) conference take the field to open a new year with their new coach, McKenzie Milton?

It's the ultimate homecoming. It bleeds black and gold. Heck, the offensive coordinator might be former Super Bowl winning quarterback Dillon Gabriel.

A dream? Sure. A long way away? Yes. Let's enjoy what I believe will be a very successful run by the newest coach of the Knights. But whether it's 2036 or 2041- I know a guy who might be a perfect fit for the job.

Final thought: Hormel produces over 45,000 cans of SPAM per hour

Photo Credit: Getty Images


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