August 3, 2010

Milton excited for "very important" visit to Ole Miss

Derrick Milton leaves his native Louisiana for Hargave Military Academy next Saturday.

The 5-foot-11, 195-pound running back has some travel on his itinerary before he leaves for the boarding school-turned-football factory in picturesque southern Virginia.

Milton will spend this weekend at Ole Miss, a visit that he calls "very important."

Ole Miss extended a scholarship offer to Milton recently, and the Pineville, La., product followed up by immediately scheduling a trip to Oxford to check out the Rebels' program.

"I kind of had a strong interest before they even offered me," Milton said Monday night. "When I started speaking to (Ole Miss safeties) Coach (Kim) Dameron, we kind of had an instant bond right off the bat. That's a good sign. Coach Derrick Nix, the running backs coach, we also connected, too. I really like him. He seems like a cool guy to be around. He's a cool guy to talk to."

Milton said he's been in steady contact with former Pineville star Damian Jackson, who spent two seasons at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College before signing with Ole Miss in December. Jackson had a strong spring and is expected to compete for a starting safety spot when fall camp opens on Sunday.

"(Jackson) has told me a lot about them and how nice it is up there," Milton said. "That's a big plus."

In three seasons at Pineville, Milton has rushed for more than 4,400 yards. Last season, he earned honorable mention all-state honors while picking up 1,870 yards and 13 touchdowns for a 1-9 team. Milton, the younger brother of former Oklahoma running back Chris Brown, said he's going to Hargrave for his senior season for a number of reasons.

"There's more competition, plus they harp on getting you Division I-qualified and make sure you're ready for the ACT every day," Milton said. "I want to have a great education and I want to play on a level close to college."

Milton has offers from Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Memphis. LSU, he said, "is talking about offering. I speak with them a lot also. I just have to wait. When I get to Hargrave, I know a lot of offers will come then, too."

Of course, Milton might not wait on the Tigers or anyone else. He said Monday he's giving serious consideration to making an early commitment and focusing on his year at Hargrave, both in the classroom and on the football field.

"I want to get it over with before my season starts so I can focus on school and my season," Milton said. "Waiting? I don't know. That would be the only reason I would -- to see who else might offer.

"That makes (this weekend's trip to Ole Miss) real important, very important. Mainly, it's the environment (he'll be evaluating). Will I fit in that environment the next four or five years? Will I like the stadium? Will I bond with the coaches? I want to talk to some players and get their feedback."

Milton, who has recorded a 4.44-second 40-yard dash, a 4.12-second shuttle run and a 41-inch vertical jump, said he'll arrive in Oxford without a leader for his services.

"But I'd put Mississippi State and Ole Miss up there," said Milton, who describes his running style as a back "who runs hard but can also make someone miss and break the home-run run."

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