As a Recruit
Chris Milton was a three-star prospect coming out of Charlton County High School in Folkston, GA -- just barely inside the state line, about an hour northwest of Jacksonville. To this day, he remains the school's highest-rated prospect since another former Yellow Jacket -- D.J. Donley in 2007. He became the 11th commit in the class on September 16th, 2010. It was somewhat odd timing, given the game that had occurred the previous weekend, but he was a big pickup for the Yellow Jackets nonetheless. He was originally recruited by Coach Lamar Owens, and was recruited to play A-Back due to his outstanding athleticism. He committed over offers from North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Louisville, and several other Power-5 programs.
As with many of Coach Johnson's recruits, Milton played quarterback in high school, among other spots (including punter, averaging nearly 40 yards per kick). He was a two-time all-state selection in 2009 and 2010 and led his team to three regional championships.
On the Field
After redshirting in 2011, Milton played in all 14 games in 2012, starting once at safety. He finished the season with 20 tackles (17 solo), 2 pass break-ups, and a forced fumble against Boston College. He also managed a pair of kickoff returns against Clemson.
Coming into 2013, Milton began taking on a bigger role with the defense, playing in all 13 games and this time starting in 6 of them. He finished the season with only 16 tackles (13 solo), but added a pair of interceptions (including a 54-yard pick-six against Elon) and three blocked kicks -- tied for second nationally and a career high for Milton. He also saw occasional involvement in the kick and punt return His biggest game came against Syracuse, when he blocked a punt and then added a 22-yard punt return.
Milton's junior year, 2014, is when he really began to shine as a playmaker on defense. He was moved from safety to cornerback, and he really took to the new role -- he started all 14 games, finishing with 32 tackles (25 solo) and 4 pass break-ups. He again had two interceptions, including an electric pick-six off of Cole Stoudt that helped to put the Clemson game away and an interception on Mississippi State's first drive of the Orange Bowl. In addition, he added another pair of blocked kicks, including a major blocked field goal against Virginia Tech to keep the game at a one-score margin. His two blocked kicks were again one short of the national lead, and was nationally tied for 8th.
As a senior, Milton again started every game as a cornerback, posting strong numbers once more. He finished the season with 28 tackles (27 solo -- a career high) and a career-high 6 pass break-ups, including two against both Virginia and Virginia Tech. He once again was able to block a pair of kicks on the season, including a blocked punt early in the second quarter against UNC that helped to set up a Georgia Tech touchdown. He added one last interception in his career against Alcorn State and returned a punt for 17 yards against Tulane.
Milton will be remembered as much for his special teams contributions at Georgia Tech as he will for his defensive contributions, and that's saying something. His ability to block kicks was unparalleled over the last few years, and he repeatedly found ways to make big special teams plays on returns and kick coverage. Aside from his 7 career blocked kicks, perhaps the most impressive statistic he amassed in his career was his 82 solo tackles, an amazing 85.4% of his total career tackles. Over the last two years, Milton has been tasked with covering some of the toughest receivers in the league, and has done so magnificently.
Off the Field
Milton wasn't particularly well-recognized off the field for his performances on it, which seems like a pretty major oversight, particularly with regards to his special teams play. That said, he received perhaps the ultimate accolade in December of 2015 when he graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in Business Administration!
Moving forward, Milton will look to harness his abilities and instincts in preparations for his Pro Day and the NFL Draft. That combo of physical gifts and pure instincts, coupled with his versatility on the field and his leadership in the locker room, should serve Milton well as he looks to advance his career to the next level.
Congratulations to Chris on a fantastic career, on finishing his degree, and best wishes to him in the future!