Michigan football QB Joe Milton announces he will transfer

Milton began 2020 season as Michigan’s starting quarterback

Michigan quarterback Joe Milton throws a pass during the first quarter of the team's NCAA college football game against Wisconsin in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Tony Ding) (Tony Ding, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

ANN ARBOR, Mich.Michigan football quarterback Joe Milton announced Thursday that he will transfer.

“I want to thank coach (Jim) Harbaugh for giving me that opportunity to come play for a program with lots of tradition,” Milton tweeted at 11:12 a.m. “I have bonds with my brothers that will last forever. I have decided to enter the transfer portal as a grad transfer with three years of eligibility.”

Milton, an impending redshirt junior, began the 2020 season as Michigan’s starting quarterback. The former four-star high school recruit generated a lot of offseason buzz among Michigan coaches and players because of his big arm and supposed mastery of Josh Gattis’ offense.

In the opener against Minnesota, Milton thrived, completing 15 of 22 passes for 225 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for 52 yards and a score. Overall, he looked calm and comfortable under center.

Everything fell apart from there, though -- and not just for Milton. Michigan lost to Michigan State the following week, and even though Milton’s final numbers -- 32-51 for 300 yards and 12 rushes for 59 yards -- looked solid, it wasn’t a banner day for the offense.

Joe Milton #5 of the Michigan Wolverines tries to get a first half pass of while being tackled by Leo Chenal #45 of the Wisconsin Badgers at Michigan Stadium on November 14, 2020 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (2020 Getty Images)

Milton threw two interceptions against both Indiana and Wisconsin before handing the reins to Cade McNamara, who led the Wolverines to a triple-overtime win at Rutgers.

Milton finished the 2020 season with 80 completions in 144 attempts (56.7%), four touchdowns, four interceptions, 109 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown.

Even though he spent three years with the Wolverines, Milton will have three years of eligibility remaining. The 2020 season didn’t count against player eligibility, and Milton also had a redshirt season.

His departure leaves the Wolverines with redshirt sophomore McNamara and true freshman J.J. McCarthy -- a five-star recruit and the gem of the 2021 class -- to battle for the starting job this fall. Dan Villari is also in the mix.

About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.