No matter how McKenzie Milton's 2017 season turned out, he was still going to enter 2018 as the center of attention at UCF. That's just kind of how it goes for any successful starting quarterback in college football.
But 2017 wasn't exactly a typical season with typical successes. Milton quickly turned any preseason questions about his ability lead UCF Football from behind center into a foolish debate. He transformed into one of the best QBs in the nation, finishing eighth in the Heisman Trophy voting and guiding the Knights to undefeated, national championship glory.
That's going to draw some eyeballs your way. And entering 2018, UCF is getting creative in its efforts to make sure Milton becomes more of a household name. It recently launched a Heisman campaign for the junior that's not just about Milton, the football player; it's about Milton, the person. The #HIsman campaign revolves around Milton's Hawaiian roots, lei and all.
That's definitely going to get people talking about you, too.
So, does Milton like all of this attention? "Yes and no," he told Black and Gold Banneret last week at AAC Media Days.
"I think the attention I get is attention the school gets and attention the team gets. So, I'm grateful. At the same time, it's about this team. It's not about me. I think if this team is successful, then stuff will come my way. But if our team is not successful, it just kind of is what it is.".
No matter how Milton internalizes the publicity he receives, his head coach knows that Milton has the perfect mindset to not let all of the talk about him impact his play.
"He's highly competitive. He's cool, calm and collected when you meet him, but he's highly competitive," Josh Heupel said of his quarterback.
East Carolina head coach Scottie Montgomery was also asked about Milton last week and summed up the QB's course as a public figure pretty well: "This is all part of the process. When you are a great football player, a great person, a great student-athlete as he is, this is some of the things that come with being successful. Every now and then, success will take a shot at you. What are you going to do, not be succcessful?"
Milton will be taking shots from entities this fall that pack more of a physical wallop than success. Through it all, yes, he will probably continue being successful.