May 30, 2024

Dec 12, 2020; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Volunteers head coach Jeremy Pruitt during the first half against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Vanderbilt Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee quarterback Joe Milton III can add another football game to his upcoming schedule. A little more than a month after the Vols wrap up the 2023 season in near his hometown with a Cheez-It Citrus Bowl matchup against Iowa in Orlando on January 1, Milton will suit up in the the Reese’s Senior Bowl, which on Sunday night announced him as having officially accepted his invite to the postseason college all-star game. It will be an important showcase for him in Mobile in February as he works toward the 2024 NFL Draft.

This is the second year in a row a Tennessee quarterback will be at the Senior Bowl. Hendon Hooker received an invite a year ago, but couldn’t play in the game due to the knee injury he suffered late in the season against South Carolina. The Senior Bowl made an exception in allowing Hooker to be in Mobile and watch practices, be a part of meetings and meet with NFL personnel during the week leading up to the game, and he was drafted by the Lions in the third round.

The 2024 Reese’s Senior Bowl is scheduled for February 3, 2024 at Hancock Whitney Stadium on the South Alabama campus in Mobile, and the NFL Network will televise the game, which will be a 1 p.m. kickoff.

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Milton’s college career, a winding journey from Michigan to Tennessee with ups and downs throughout, is nearing its conclusion and his final game for the Vols will be the Citrus Bowl – Camping World Stadium is roughly 10 miles from Olympia High School, where Milton played after moving to Orlando from Pahokee for his freshman year.

The quarterback is yet to reveal if he will play in the game or opt out to ensure he is ready for the pre-draft process, which now includes a significant opportunity with the Senior Bowl.

After three seasons at Michigan, Milton transferred to Tennessee in 2021 and initially won the starting job going into his first season with the Vols. However, his injury in the first half of the second game opened the door for Hooker to come in, and he never looked back in leading Tennessee to new heights on offense and an 11-win season in 2022. Milton stuck around as Hooker’s backup and the two became roommates and close friends.

Milton started the final two games of the 2022 season after Hooker’s injury and, after earning Orange Bowl MVP honors, took over for good this season, leading the Vols to an 8-4 record during the regular season. Milton completed 64.7% of his passes (229 of 354) and totaled 2,813 yards with 20 touchdowns and just five interceptions in 12 games, and he added 299 rushing yards and seven touchdown runs.

(Photo: Caitie McMekin/Knoxville News Sentinel)
As Tennessee’s offense took a step back from its record-setting standard of 2021 and 2022, Milton finished seventh in the SEC in passing (234.4 yards per game) and total offense (259.3 yards per game) and eighth in passer rating (147.27) and yards per attempt (7.9).

Milton threw multiple touchdown passes in seven of Tennessee’s 12 games this season, and his 14-game streak with at least one touchdown pass is the third-longest in program history. There were five games in which he passed and rushed for a score, including the regular-season finale against Vanderbilt last week when he totaled six touchdowns (four passing, two rushing) while passing for a career-best 383 yards. Milton is 11-5 as Tennessee’s starting quarterback.

The 6-foot-5, 235-pounder’s combination of size, athleticism and arm talent make him an intriguing prospect for the NFL, particularly following in the footsteps of former Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson, a comparable player who was taken with the No. 4 overall pick a year ago.

Milton is the third quarterback to be locked in for the Senior Bowl, joining Tulane’s Michael Pratt and South Carolina’s Spencer Rattler.

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