Kendall Milton Has Been ‘Tuning Up’ In Order to Move Up in the NFL Draft

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Shortly after collecting the Most Outstanding Player award in Georgia’s 63-3 Orange Bowl victory over Florida State, Kendall Milton was on a plane to Frisco, TX, to begin preparation for the NFL Draft Combine. The Clovis, CA, native had rushed for 104 yards and two touchdowns before sitting out the second half to put the final stamp on his collegiate career, but he was already looking ahead to his future.

Despite two national titles in his four years as a Bulldog, Milton faced various injuries during his time in Athens and a majority of the questions around his potential have more to do with the time he missed on the field than how he produced when he stepped on it. In his last season, he finished with 686 rushing yards in 112 carries, averaging 6.1 yards per carry to go along with 12 touchdowns as the No. 2 running back.

Criticism comes with sports and even more so at the professional level. None of it is new to Milton and he’s had fun so far during this draft process and his focus is only on controling what he can. Shortly after the combine, he spoke with Muscle & Fitness on the process of living out a childhood dream, the preparation leading into the combine, and just how his time at Georgia has prepared him for both life with and after football.

Kendall Milton on the football field with his family
Kendall Milton

How Kendall Milton Is Separating Himself From the Herd

Most draft boards have Kendall Milton being taken somewhere in the middle of the draft. Given the uncertainty of where he’ll be calling home in a few weeks, he says the process so far has been fun. He’s enjoyed competing against some of the top prospects in the draft at The Sports Academy at The Star and considers that the best part of training. Given the grind mentality that is instilled at UGA, that’s no surprise.

“It’s about having that mental differentiator to be able to separate yourself from who is competing against you,” he said.

Along with the training and competing aspect, the mobility work, massage, and physical therapy ensure Milton’s body is feeling its best. Regardless of how prepared you train yourself to be, with this process comes a level of stress. To combat this, Milton has turned to music and prayer to refocus back on what the mission is. “I just pray to God and ask Him to take away those nerves and allow me to show Him through me,” he said.

Kendall Milton throwing oranges on the football field
Kendall Milton

Kendall Milton Tips The Nutritional Scale Toward Georgia

Given the temporary relocation to Texas, Milton says the last couple of months leading to the Combine felt similar to his time at Georgia. From studying to making his scheduled workouts and meals. If there was one aspect his new routine hasn’t come close to, it would be the cuisine.

“I would say the cooking probably went down for me in a sense just based off of how Georgia spoiled us when it came to our nutrition and things like that,” Milton said. “Anything we recommended or wanted, they did what they could to make it happen. In terms of quality of the food, I would say Georgia has the upper hand.”

That’s no dig at the current nutrition program Kendall Milton is on, which is structured to make sure he’s taking on the necessary nutrients for his physical goals. Georgia just did it on a different scale.

Be Who You Are

When it comes to all the wisdom gained and lessons learned throughout this draft process, Milton says the simple advice from former UGA running backs coach and new Georgia State head coach Dell McGee has stuck with him the most.

“Be who you are,” said Milton of McGee’s guidance. “Don’t try to do too much and don’t be hesitant. Be who you are, have confidence in your ability and confidence in what God gave you.”

It’s the advice he used when it came to performing at the NFL Combine a couple of weeks ago. Milton says he truly didn’t feel any nerves until he stepped to the podium to field questions from the media. After that, stepped onto the field at Lucas Oil Stadium and placed his headphones on to go through his warmup. Looking around at all the NFL signage, cameras, and people in attendance, a relaxing feeling came over him as he came to the realization that this was indeed real.

“I can remember being a little kid and watching the top guys and seeing guys run these 40s and the drills,” Milton said. “To be in that moment was surreal. It was a humbling experience because not a lot of people get that opportunity and I really wanted to make the most of it.”

Kendall Milton Intends To Sell You a Car and Give it a Tuneup

With the current focus of collegiate athletics being mostly on NIL deals and the transfer portal, not enough attention is given to the student-athletes who do graduate. Milton graduated last December with a degree in consumer economics. It was a goal he set for himself when he made the decision to attend Georgia and he knew how much it would mean to his mom. He already has plans on how he will put that degree to use.

“I have a big passion for the car industry and I want to own car dealerships,” Milton said. “I learned about the market and learned different ways to take advantage of it, in a sense. At the same time, I also want to own body shops. The degree was about putting myself in a position to learn how to navigate and grow a business based on the country’s economics.”

Once a Bulldog, Always a Bulldog

The memories collected at UGA for Kendall Milton are many. He can remember coming in as a freshman as if he stepped foot on campus last week. He remembers competing against a Bulldogs’ defense that was one of the best in the country and included several first and second rounders. Of course, he will have to adjust at the next level, but competing against some of the best defensive players in the country during his time at Georgia will help make the adjustment a little easier.

There wasn’t much time for Milton to savor the Orange Bowl victory. He remembers the thousands of fans that gathered at Athens airport when the team arrived back after defeating Alabama for the program’s first national championship since 1980. Milton also remembers that every seat in Sanford Stadium was packed as they held a ceremony to celebrate that title and he truly saw how big football meant in the South. From those memories to the bonds and friendships that will follow him throughout his life, he gained so much more from his time as a Bulldog than what he accomplished as an athlete.

“The things that Georgia has done for me is truly a blessing and I’m very thankful for the experiences, lessons, and the navigation that I was provided,” Milton said. “I believe that those things will continue to carry me throughout life and even outside of football.

Follow Kendall Milton on Instagram @therealkmilt

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