Texas soccer gets a proven slot depth in Transfer WR Tarique Milton

Sophomore Texas football head coach Steve Sarkisian and new wide receivers coach/passing coordinator Brennan Marion not only get an experienced wideout to expand the NCAA transfer portal, but they’ll do so with a familiar face. Texas landed a commitment from former Iowa State Cyclones senior slot wide receiver Tarique Milton via the transfer portal on the evening of May 23.

As a portal entrant from a long time ago, Milton undertook a very patient process in the transfer market. In fact, Milton’s name appeared on the portal more than six months ago, at the end of November to be precise. But it looks like he’s found his next landing spot in a place where he could make an impression both on and off the field.

Sark, Marion and the Longhorns should put a lot of stock in Milton. At this point in the spring, there were literally no more experienced wideouts in the portal than Milton.

After new head coach Billy Napier and the Florida Gators added a portal signing of former Arizona State Sun Devils senior wide receiver Ricky Pearsall last weekend, the other most experienced transfer at that position was gone.

Also, on the evening of May 23, news surfaced on Milton’s Twitter timeline that he was officially moving to Texas. This drew a huge reaction from Longhorns believers on social media.

Sark, Marion and the Longhorns get their third wideout via the transfer portal this offseason by receiving a commitment from Milton. However, he is the most experienced of the three. The other two portal wideout signings for the Longhorns this offseason are former redshirt rookie Isaiah Neyor of the Wyoming Cowboys and freshman wide receiver Agiye Hall, touted by the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Milton will actually be the most prolific receiver for the Longhorns in 2022 in terms of career stats. During his four years with Iowa State, Milton registered 99 catches for 1,519 receiving yards (15.9 yards per catch) and seven touchdown catches.

Milton’s best years came early in his career with the Cyclones. During his first two seasons with Iowa State, Milton registered 69 catches for more than 1,100 receiving yards and four touchdowns.

But injuries would limit Milton during the 2020 campaign in the COVID-19 year. That trend came to a head last fall when Milton hit a career-low 25 goals in a full season for the first time in his career. This resulted in Milton catching just 15 catches for 278 yards (18.5 yards per catch) and three touchdown catches in 2021.

That was also a bit disappointing given the preseason hype surrounding Milton. He was expected to be a big slot wideout for Iowa State, starting with the M wide receiver spot last season.

At the end of the season, Milton was essentially looking at the depth chart of freshman wideout Jaylin Noel, who is the proposed slot receiver for the Cyclones this year. This is probably one of the reasons why Milton put his name on the portal in the first place in the late autumn.

Texas football adds valuable slot veteran WR depth to former ISU grad transfer Tarique Milton

What Texas will get out of the 5-foot-10, 190-pound Milton is a dodgy and reliable slot wideout that can be a liability at times. Milton probably won’t be the fastest wideout for the Longhorns in terms of track speed. But he’s one of the most agile and nimble wideouts in the mix for the upcoming season.

In fact, Milton registered more than 350 yards from catch and a dozen missed tackles forced during the 2019 season. He also has 22 missed tackles that were forced for his career, 762 yards from the catch and 56 first downs.

Milton’s quickness in the open field and his ability to miss tacklers right off the catch were special gifts that allowed him to get out of the slot in 2018 and 2019. Those aspects of his game could also help add another dimension to this Texas offense when he’s on the field this fall.

If Texas can find some of that elusiveness and agility that Milton brought to the table for the Cyclones in 2018 and 2019, he should be able to make a big impact on that passing game in 2022. He was certainly electric for Iowa State in 2019, as evidenced by the many highlights he’s put up this season.

Another aspect of Milton’s game is how good he is on medium and deep routes once he comes out of the slot. Milton can electrify on deep targets, where he registered 279 yards on seven catches in 2019, which was good for a touchdown. And almost half of those yards were yards by catch this season.

Milton was particularly good for Iowa State between numbers on deep balls (at least 20 yards) a few seasons ago. During the 2019 campaign, Milton registered more than 220 receiving yards and a touchdown without a single drop or turnover when aimed on deep balls between the numbers.

Texas now has someone behind the second-year star, wideout Xavier Worthy, who can do some real damage between the numbers that come out of the slot and has some experience at it in the past. Having Milton in the mix will add valuable veteran depth behind Worthy and Whittington coming out of the slot.

But he can also provide another reliable target in midfield for Quinn Ewers or Hudson Card.

Redshirt junior Jordan Whittington can damage between numbers on deep and medium throws, but his health has been in question in recent years. If he can stay healthy this fall, that will change. But it’s good for Texas to add depth with someone who can damage midfield like Milton coming out of the slot.

Milton will likely come in and compete with the likes of Hall and new wide receiver Brenen Thompson for the backup job at the h or x wideout spot. He can also provide Marion and the Longhorns with a real experienced mentor to help Hall and Thompson find their way as these two newcomers look to prove themselves over the next few years.

All in all, you’ve got to love what the Longhorns are getting out of Milton considering what was left in the portal after Biletnikoff winner Jordan Addison missed USC last week. Milton was just about the best the Longhorns would find at this point in the offseason, and he fills a huge void in that wide receiver space when it comes to bringing a true veteran voice to the herd.

Texas have six transfer portal signings so far this offseason, half of which are now wide receivers. There are probably just a few scholarship spots left for Sark and the Longhorns staff to take advantage of in the portal this off-season.

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