Q. I know you’ve talked about the road coming back. Can you share with us maybe some trials and some triumphs that you’ve had along the way in this journey leading you ultimately to Florida State.
MCKENZIE MILTON: Yeah, it’s been a long time since November 2018. Just a number of surgeries, infection in the leg, just a lot of ups and downs, a lot of ups and downs.
But I’m grateful that back at UCF I had a great medical staff. I feel like the biggest moment for me where I saw, like, light at the end of the tunnel was being able to go out there and practice again last year. That was probably the most fun I had in college football. Yeah, just getting back out there with the guys. Something I won’t take for granted again.
Just having this opportunity to come to Florida State, play for Coach Norvell, everything that he’s about, everything this program’s about. Man, it’s something you couldn’t write up. So I’m definitely grateful for this opportunity.
Q. Yesterday we had your business partner, D’Eriq King, up. You guys have been spearheading the Dreamfield corporation with the NIL. Can you talk about your impact, what you think on your side that you bring to that and the outreach to college athletes?
MCKENZIE MILTON: Yeah, D’Eriq and I, we’re older heads in this college football game. I think just being part of Dreamfield has just given us the opportunity to think about life after football and at the same time help educate these college athletes on filing taxes, setting their market rate for what they feel their value is, getting in contact with local businesses, whether it’s an autograph signing, to get connected to fans, get some free food, things like that.
Just little things that we weren’t able to capitalize off of before, just being able to see that has been pretty cool the past couple weeks.
I’m excited to see what these college athletes, what they run and do it, whether it’s making podcasts, YouTube podcasts, channels, whatever their own merchandise. It’s something that’s pretty cool.
Like Coach said, you’re becoming your own business and your own brand. That’s something to take into consideration when you’re 18 years old, now I’m 23, going to be 24 here in a few months. But, yeah, it’s an exciting time in college football, for sure.
Q. For you, everything that you’ve been through, what were maybe some of those turning-point moments that you can go back to, those pillars to get back to standing here today and playing college football again? Some of those people along the way that you want to credit for helping you?
MCKENZIE MILTON: Oh, man. I mean, there’s so many people that helped me through this process. The first one that comes to mind, Mary Vander Heiden, the head AT at UCF, Dr. Bruce Levy, my surgeon, out at Rochester and Mayo. There’s so many people, assistant trainers, student trainers. Darn near everybody got their hands on my leg at every point at UCF, even at FSU.
I would say the big thing for me was getting the range of motion back in my knee, feeling comfortable enough to go out. If I were to get bent on the football field, I would be comfortable taking a hit or something like that.
Being able to get out there and run scout team last year at UCF, being able to practice, get my feet wet, feel comfortable running, cutting, throwing, getting them live bullets at me, the defense rushing me and whatnot. Just being able to do that. Those are big pillars for me, those are big steps for me.
Obviously going through spring ball, competing at a high level, just doing that, just going through summer workouts, feeling good this past year, not missing days, not feeling like, Oh, man, I can’t do this today because my leg’s too sore.
I feel like I’m right where I need to be in terms of health. Shout-out to my mom, too. She’s been here every step of the way since I got hurt, every day she’s been living with me. There’s days I couldn’t bathe myself and stuff like that. That’s something I’ll never be able to repay her for.
Yeah, shout-out to Mom.