The college football season kicked off Saturday with a matchup of Florida heavyweights in the Miami Hurricanes and Florida Gators. Leading an all-day celebration, ESPN held “College Gameday” at Disney World.
Just 30 miles away sits Spectrum Stadium, the home of the University of Central Florida Knights, where quarterback McKenzie Milton hopes to make his return in the 2020 season.
The road to recovery is long for the former Archie Griffin award winner. After suffering a gruesome knee injury on Nov. 23, Milton was left with nerve damage in his right knee that required an additional surgery. But Milton had good news to share on an already joyous day in an interview with ESPN’s Maria Taylor.
“I’m a lot further along than any doctor would anticipate or predict, and that’s by the grace of God and a lot of prayers and a lot of support by close friends and people I don’t even know,” Milton said. “With my nerve damage, I’m basically back to 100 percent. I have full feeling in my foot. You know that’s very rare. Sometimes it never comes back for some people, and the artery, the blood is flowing great. Now it’s just about getting range of motion and building strength back up.”
Although the progress is not enough to shift his timeline for the 2019 season, any good news is greatly welcomed in the college football world. Milton’s injury is incredibly rare, and there were some concerns about his ability to walk — or even keep his leg — shortly after the injury.
Milton also got a chance to address a meeting he had with the defensive player who tackled him on the fateful play, USF’s Mazzi Wilkins. The two met at the annual Better Man event in April, which was a positive experience for Milton.
“I read in the Tampa Bay Times that he was getting a lot of hate over a football play, a football hit that I personally thought was clean,” Milton said. “I know some of our fans and people thought it was dirty. I thought they were doing him wrong and giving him death threats and talking about his mother. Nobody deserves that. We’re warriors out there playing football. He didn’t deserve any of that. I told him I had no ill will towards him. It’s all love. He’s on the Tampa Bay Bucs right now, and I wish him nothing but the best.”
Despite missing their star quarterback, UCF began the year ranked No. 17 in the nation. Their season kicks off on Aug. 29 at 7:30 p.m. ET against Florida A&M.
More from Yahoo Sports: