TAMPA, FLORIDA (HawaiiNewsNow) - University of Central Florida quarterback McKenzie Milton suffered a serious knee injury in a game with South Florida in Tampa Friday.
Milton was a star QB for the Mililani High School Trojans and led the school to its first-ever state title in 2014. Milton’s high school coach, Rod York, was among those who watched the season-ending injury happen.
“I ain’t gonna lie, it was a sad, sad moment to see McKenzie end his 2018 career with a knee injury like that,” York said.
Milton’s current coach, Josh Heupel, said after the game, “Our guys, you know, they care deeply about everybody on our football team, including McKenzie as well. You can tell by their reaction that they wanted to be over by him, to support him with everything that was going on.”
Milton was surrounded by his teammates before he was carted off the field, to cheers from the crowd.
Multiple reports said the 21-year-old star QB was rushed into emergency surgery to repair a serious leg injury. More sources claimed by Friday night that it was a dislocated knee. One longtime NFL doctor not connected to the case said it could be a career-ending injury.
“I didn’t communicate with him yet because he went right into surgery right away, but obviously if you look at the leg at the injury, it’s pretty bad,” said York.
Milton graduated from Mililani in 2016. He had verbally committed to play at UH, but then went to UCF, where he led the team to a 23-game win streak. There also had been growing talk that he was a Heisman contender.
Another Heisman contender from Hawaii and former Pop Warner teammate, Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, tweeted his support, saying “Prayers out to my brother, shake back 10.”
After the injury, Milton’s teammates hugged his mother and pledged to play their hearts out for him. And then they beat South Florida to keep their win streak alive.
In Mililani, there’s nothing but confidence for the young man facing the biggest challenge of his career.
“McKenzie will be back,” said Coach York. “He’s a fighter. It’s nothing new to him, and, you know, he’s a great kid and his mindset is great, so definitely he’ll be back.”