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Former Michigan football QB named a dark horse for 2023 Heisman

A former Michigan quarterback could be in the Heisman race this fall.



© Junfu Han, Detroit Free Press, Detroit Free Press via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Joe Milton: a name that most Michigan football fans would like to forget. Why? Frankly, Milton was the worst quarterback of the Jim Harbaugh era and perhaps even in program history. Milton was, unfortunately, the Wolverines’ starter for the first half of Michigan’s awful 2-4 season and has since left the program.

Milton is benched at Michigan football

After starting the year 1-3 overall with losses to Michigan State (27-24), Wisconsin (49-11), and Indiana (38-21), the Wolverines went to Rutgers and quickly found themselves in a 17-0 hole. Seeing as Milton appeared to be holding Michigan football back, Jim Harbaugh decided to bench him in favor of Cade McNamara — a rising star in the Maize and Blue.

The move proved beneficial as Michigan defeated the Scarlet Knights, 48-42 in overtime. The following week, in Michigan’s 27-17 loss to Penn State, Joe Milton took over Michigan’s offense for the final time after Cade McNamara went out with an injury. After the 10-point loss to the Nittany Lions, the Wolverines’ locker room was struck with COVID-19 issues, and Michigan opted out of the season.

The following year, Joe Milton entered the transfer portal and headed to Tennessee; meanwhile, Cade McNamara and the Wolverines went on a historic 12-2 Big Ten title run and appeared in the College Football Playoff in 2021.

Joe Milton named a dark horse for 2023 Heisman

After the past three college football seasons, no one saw Joe Milton as a real threat for the Heisman Trophy. Many still don’t; however, Milton is in the top 10 betting odds to win the award this fall and has been named a dark horse for Heisman by many credible outlets.

According to Yahoo Sports, Milton has the 7th-best odds (20/1) to win the Heisman as Tennessee’s starting QB after leading the Volunteers to an Orange Bowl win over Clemson in 2022. Milton was not Tennessee’s starter that got them there — that was 2022 Heisman contender Hendon Hooker — however, he took over when his program needed him and won UT a New Year’s Six bowl game.

In 2023, Milton will start the year as Tennessee’s starting quarterback with high hopes, just as he did in 2020 when he was with Michigan football. Only time will tell whether or not Milton will be ready to capitalize on his second chance.

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