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McKenzie Milton says he's transferring to Florida State

Former UCF quarterback hopes to rebound from devastating 2018 injury
UCF Knights QB McKenzie Milton on sideline in 2020
Posted at 3:26 PM, Dec 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-13 15:26:05-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — One day after Florida State defeated Duke 56-35, former Central Florida quarterback McKenzie Milton told ESPN he intends to play for the Seminoles next season.

Milton, who hasn't played in two years after a devastating leg injury, recently announced that he was leaving UCF and seeking playing time elsewhere for his final year of eligibility.

I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity," Milton said Sunday in an exclusive interview with ESPN. "It's something I don't take for granted, especially what I've been through the past two years. It's a very special opportunity, and I feel like we can get that thing turned around in the near future."

The two-time American Athletic Conference offensive player of the year led the Knights to an undefeated season in 2017, culminating with a Peach Bowl win against Auburn.

RELATED: UCF to play in Boca Raton Bowl

But Milton suffered a season-ending injury in November 2018 and had to undergo reconstructive knee surgery in January 2019.

The Hawaii native played at the same high school as Dillon Gabriel, who took over as UCF's starting quarterback in 2019.

UCF QB Dillon Gabriel warms up as McKenzie Milton watches in 2020
Central Florida quarterback Dillon Gabriel (11) warms up as quarterback McKenzie Milton watches before the team's game against Tulsa, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, in Orlando, Fla.

Milton said FSU head coach Mike Norvell and offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham contacted him shortly after his name appeared in the NCAA transfer portal.

The 23-year-old said he hasn't been guaranteed the starting job for the Seminoles, who have played four different quarterbacks this season.

James Blackman, who began the season as the starter, has already announced his intention to transfer.

Jordan Travis, who played at the Benjamin School in West Palm Beach, started the majority of the games, while Chubba Purdy and Tate Rodemaker have each started one game.

"I want to go earn it," Milton told ESPN. "I want to earn the respect of the guys, and I just want to be a good teammate to the other quarterbacks, like I was at UCF. At the end of the day, the best guy needs to play, whether it's me or one of the other guys, so it's my job to go out there and earn it every day, and hopefully I can do that."