In McKenzie Milton’s farewell video to Knight Nation, head coach Josh Heupel sums up the legacy that the star quarterback will leave on the UCF community in one word: influential.
Milton was influential on and off the field: he could change the course of a game with just one snap (the 2017 AAC Championship against Memphis comes to mind) and he could lead a true freshman quarterback to the top (enter Dillon Gabriel).
His influence went far beyond UCF, however. Within minutes of the news of Milton entering the transfer portal, Twitter went gangbusters. “McKenzie Milton” is still trending on Twitter nationwide six hours later — partly because Huskers fans are awaiting anxiously to see if Luke McCaffrey will have a job next season. But that’s none of our business.
From fans to teammates and from the UCF president to Knugget, praise and support overwhelmed social media on Thursday. Here’s what the college football world had to say about the news of Milton’s leaving UCF (here’s your warning to grab a tissue to wipe your inevitable tears that will fall while reliving the news of KZ leaving all over again):
Current and former UCF Knights show support for McKenzie Milton
Former UCF WR, current Buffalo Bills WR Gabe Davis:
Former UCF DB Rashard Causey
I’m actually excited for KZ.. that boy live— Rashard Causey Jr (@BiggPlay21) December 3, 2020
Former UCF WR Dredrick Snelson Jr.
UCF DB Richie Grant
Talk about impact and leaving your mark..— Richie Grant (@rgrant1525) December 3, 2020
that man got the keys to the city
UCF DE Josh Celiscar
UCF DT Noah Hancock
UCF DT Christopher Deloach
UCF WR Marlon Williams
UCF coaches, staff, officials pay tribute to KZ
Josh Heupel, UCF head football coach
Once a Knight Always a Knight— Josh Heupel (@coachjoshheupel) December 3, 2020
Thank you, KZ! https://t.co/Cxxq9pdWHU
Danny White, UCF athletic director
Where do I sign up for the McKenzie Milton fan club? It’ll be weird seeing you in another jersey McKenzie, but I’ll be rooting hard for you - have a monster season and pursue your NFL dream! That’s what I expect will happen. You’re a Knight for Life! UCF will always be your home! https://t.co/WreTLQYqWH— Danny White (@UCFDannyWhite) December 3, 2020
Dr. Alexander Cartwright, president of UCF
One of our greatest athletes and an inspiration to so many. He will always be a Knight, and we will always be cheering for McKenzie. He represents the best of what UCF is. https://t.co/BuN1bkKI40— Dr. Alexander N. Cartwright (@UCFCartwright) December 3, 2020
Eric DeSalvo, UCF assistant athletics director, #Content
The way KZ has handled the last 24 hours is how he's handled his five years at UCF...with class— Eric DeSalvo (@EricDeSalvo) December 3, 2020
Extremely proud of @McKenzieMil10 and everything he's accomplished here. #10hana https://t.co/nHXzLueDu7 pic.twitter.com/txSFsH4wFE
Marc Daniels, UCF director of broadcasting
Sometimes life is not about the “why”, it’s about the “was”. The great thing about memories is we have them forever. @McKenzieMil10 is a Knight for life with a journey that has more chapters ahead...#ChargeOn KZ...and thank you for the memories you gave us and the many to come. pic.twitter.com/XiZcgIdLo7— UCF Marc Daniels (@ucf_marcdaniels) December 3, 2020
Chief Carl Metzger, UCF Police Department
Shane Burnham, UCF football defensive line coach
Erik Kohler, former “Voice of UCF”
Jimmy Skiles, UCF assistant athletics director, fan development
"It’s been nothing but a blessing being here. I’ll be wearing other colors next year, but I’ll always bleed black and gold. That will be forever." -@McKenzieMil10— Jimmy Skiles (@JimmySkiles) December 3, 2020
Can’t thank you enough KZ #10hana https://t.co/RSiXj0RFCb
Mike Aresco, American Athletic Conference commissioner
"On behalf of a grateful conference, we wish him great success in his next chapter, which we hope and trust will be as spectacular and rewarding as his first.”— American Football (@American_FB) December 3, 2020
-- Commissioner Mike Aresco on McKenzie Milton.#10hana pic.twitter.com/RWP2RTqZMk
How members of the media reacted to the news of KZ transferring
Matt Murschel, Orlando Sentinel
I know there's no cheering in the press box but I'm actively rooting for McKenzie Milton to return to the field to play.— Matt Murschel (@osmattmurschel) December 3, 2020
He's such good friends with Dillon Gabriel, you had a feeling if he wanted to play again, it was going to be elsewhere.
Pete Thamel, Yahoo Sports
He's officially in the portal. Easiest player to root for in all of college football. Could he head to Nebraska? https://t.co/PCXBPjOrzA— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) December 3, 2020
Connor O’Gara, Saturday Down South
Fascinated to see what the market for McKenzie Milton is.— Connor O'Gara (@cjogara) December 3, 2020
Some teams who should be interested in the SEC? Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee and Texas A&M.
But at this point, a reunion with Scott Frost makes the most sense.
Pat Forde, Sports Illustrated
Love this guy. Whether it’s playing, coaching or another walk of life, we haven’t heard the last of McKenzie Milton. He’s now on the transfer market. https://t.co/G6BQq1jqvc— Pat Forde (@ByPatForde) December 3, 2020
Alex Kirshner, Split Zone Duo
Yeah Penn State should be on the horn for McKenzie Milton as soon as they're allowed. If he hit the portal this morning, I would hope Franklin already hollered at him— Alex Kirshner (@alex_kirshner) December 3, 2020
Thor Nystrom, NBC Sports
McKenzie Milton would be a great fit at either Florida, FSU and Miami as a replacement for Trask/Travis/King— Thor Nystrom (@thorku) December 3, 2020
He’s going to have just as many suitors as D’Eriq did last cycle
Dennis Dodd, CBS Sports
McKenzie Milton to Nebraska? Just sayin. Just entered transfer portal.— Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) December 3, 2020
For fan reactions, just open whatever social media platform you fancy the most. There’s no shortage of supportive Knights — and distressed Gators — talking about McKenzie Milton today.
Daniella Medina is a contributing writer for Black & Gold Banneret. Follow her on Twitter @danimedinanews. #10HANA