USF player whose tackle injured McKenzie Milton faced threats on social media

Yahoo Sports
South Florida coach Charlie Strong comforts Central Florida quarterback <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/ncaaf/players/270182/" data-ylk="slk:McKenzie Milton">McKenzie Milton</a>, after injuring his right leg on Nov. 23, 2018, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
South Florida coach Charlie Strong comforts Central Florida quarterback McKenzie Milton, after injuring his right leg on Nov. 23, 2018, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)

After making the tackle that seriously injured star UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton, USF cornerback Mazzi Wilkins was hit with a barrage of backlash on social media.

And some of it really crossed the line.

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Wilkins detailed what he’s been dealing with to the Tampa Bay Times, including some threats against him. For a while, Wilkins said, “it got really bad.”

“I got threats against my parents, against my mom under my Instagram pictures. People going on Facebook, Twitter, everything,” Wilkins told the paper.

From the Times:

One tweet, from @MyManMoyer, called Wilkins “the dirtiest player in the NCAA.” In a direct message, @bobbledthesnap said: “(Expletive) dirty (expletive) scumbag (expletive). They teach you to tackle like that in practice? Punk (expletive) (expletive) (expletive).”

“I didn’t want to keep seeing it,” said Wilkins, who is one course from completing his degree in health sciences. “It was starting to bother me, so I just blocked every person that sent me things like that. I might have one or two left; I still get one every now and then from somebody.”

‘A freak accident’

The hit took place during the annual UCF-USF rivalry game on Nov. 23. Milton, the two-time AAC Offensive Player of the Year, ran right on a designed quarterback run. Wilkins, dropping back in man coverage, shed a block of the receiver he was lined up against and came barreling toward Milton to make the tackle.

Milton dislocated his knee and suffered nerve damage. It’s an injury that is considered career-threatening. Wilkins was not penalized for the hit.

Wilkins says it’s a play he’s made “so many other times.” He considers Milton’s injury “a freak accident.”

“I just feel bad that it had to happen like that, and it had to happen to such a great player that he is,” Wilkins said.

Milton making progress

Wilkins was a senior in 2018 and has begun preparing for the NFL draft. Meanwhile, Milton has undergone multiple surgeries. He posted a video of himself rehabbing the leg on Thursday, completing a 40-pound press.

“Thanking God for the miracles I see everyday in my life,” Milton wrote.

“Went from almost losing my leg to leg pressing 40lbs in a little over a month. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. God is definitely at work. It’s gonna be a long process but it’ll be one hell of a story.”

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