December 10, 2008

Milton looking to stay close to home

Mascoutah (IL) wide receiver Matt Milton is easy to spot on the football field. Standing at 6-foot-6 and 205 lbs., Milton is sure to be one of the tallest receivers in the 2010 recruiting classes. Because of his height and playing style, he has been receiving letters from schools throughout the Midwest.

"Mostly, I have been talking to the University of Illinois, and they said they will be ready to offer me after they finish talking to their 2009 recruits," Milton said. "Other than that, Northern Illinois University, and Minnesota and Indiana are supposed to be coming to my school next week."

Milton said that he has also been receiving letters from Mizzou and that they are a school of interest.

"I went to a camp of theirs (Missouri) this summer, and I like Missouri," he said. "I like the offense. They really put the passing game in there. It reminds me a lot of my high school offense where we have a lot of speed and spread the ball out a lot."

At the Lindenwood camp this summer, Milton said he began receiving a lot of interest from coaches after he ran an impressive 4.6, 40-time at the beginning of the camp. The coaches started to move him to the front of the line for the drills, so they could get a closer look the wideout said. Milton described the attention he was starting to receive as exciting.

"My dad tries to put it in perspective how big of a deal it is for me," he said. "It really did not dawn on me until the coaches started emailing me, and I started getting all these letters. I have a shoe box full of letters that I cannot even close right now. It makes you feel good and gives you some confidence going into games."

When looking at potential colleges, Milton said that education would be an important factor. Another would be the ability to stay close to home.

"I am looking for a college where I am really not trying to go too far away and that's basically because of family," the junior said. "My mom does not really want me to go too far off. Earlier in the year, I talked to the head of recruiting from USC and when I told my mom about it, she was really excited because it's a really big football school and all that, but she really did not like the idea of me going too far."

Milton began playing football in the fourth grade in the state of Texas. His mom is in the military, and he did not make the move to Illinois until sixth grade. After playing positions such as quarterback and running back his freshman year of high school, Milton was moved to wide receiver after a growth spurt that took him from 5-foot-11 to 6-foot-4.

"Our coaches bring it up all the time how it is a big advantage for the receiver position," he said. "We put in a lot of plays where really I would just go up and get a lot of balls. Sometimes when our quarterback would get in a jam, one of his reads would be to just throw the ball up to me. I think that helps me out a lot. I have speed and I have strength, but my height, you can't really coach it."

At the beginning of his junior year, Milton said he was able to pull in four touchdowns in the first two games before opposing teams began to recognize his abilities. As for the offseason, he said there are still a few improvements to be made.

"I think mostly my route running," he said. "Our wide receiver coach really puts a lot of emphasis on route running. He makes sure that they are almost perfect. I think not taking any plays off and making sure I am 100 percent on every play is also something I need to do. It doesn't hurt to get any faster."

When Milton envisions himself playing at the college level, there is one receiver that he feels he can model his game after.

"It's kind of funny that your talking to me about Mizzou because Jeremy Maclin is one of they players that I really think I try to model my game after," Milton said. "I think I have four kick returns on the season, and I try to use my height and speed like he does. He is not really that tall, but he goes up and gets the football, and he can be moved all over the field, and I try to put that in my game too."

According to the junior, Maclin is one of the main reasons he is interested in Mizzou.

"I can kind of picture myself being like that," he said. "I can see it."

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