UCLA sophomore running back Milton Knox said on Wednesday night that he was transferring from the program.
Knox, who broke the city section record for rushing yards and touchdowns at Birmingham of Lake Balboa, denied rumors he was transferring after the season. After he found himself buried in the depth chart behind sophomore Johnathan Franklin and junior Derrick Coleman during and after UCLA’s spring ball – and with two premier incoming freshman stars in Malcolm Jones and Jordon James – Knox saw the writing on the wall.
“I had dreams and aspirations of one day playing in the NFL,” Knox said. “It’s just a numbers game. There’s nothing wrong with UCLA, I don’t have any beef with the program. It’s not like I’m mad at anyone. It’s a business decision, man. Some of my family isn’t happy with it. Some of them don’t want me to leave, but right now I have to do what’s best for me.”
Knox gained 134 yards on 29 carries as a redshirt freshman last season in limited action, and was suspended along with three others for the team’s Week 3 matchup against Kansas State.
Rumors of unhappiness with his role persisted throughout the season, but he looked particularly sour after the Bruins’ spring game, when he had seven carries for 24 yards, compared to nine carries each for Franklin and Coleman.
“Some people I didn’t get a fair shot, some people say I did,” Knox said. “I can’t really sit here up and say that I didn’t get a fair shot. Things didn’t work out the way I wanted them to. It’s nothing against the coaches. Right now, they have to go where it feels right. Unfortunately, I got the short end of the stick.”
Knox said his decision did not come easy, particularly given family health issues and the close proximity to home. Knox originally chose UCLA over Notre Dame, and though he hasn’t spoken to other teams, he said he’d prefer to transfer to a Mountain West or Western Athletic Conference program so he can stay on the West coast.
“Yeah, it was a difficult decision,” Knox said. “My father just had an amputation of his foot. He’s a main reason why I came to UCLA. I really made a sacrifice for my family, and now I’d be doing a sacrifice for myself if I stayed. I don’t want to say that I’m selfish, but at the same time I have to be. Hopefully, the school I go to, I’ll be given the opportunity. Maybe I can fulfill my dreams somewhere else.”
Despite his prospects at UCLA ending, Knox still maintains the confidence that made him one of the best players in City section history.
“Yeah. I’m still a big-time college football player,” Knox said. “I can make plays. When the opportunity comes, I can still make plays. Some people think some players get old or diminish, deteriorate is the word they use. Football is in my blood. It runs through my veins. I can still make plays. I was able to make plays in spring, and I’m still able to make plays in the future. It’s not like I’m not going to be working hard.
“I still have some football in me.”
EXTRA QUOTES AFTER THE JUMP…
Any preferred destination?
“I haven’t talked to anyone yet, but I would want to go to a Fresno State or a Utah; schools like that, in the Mountain West or the WAC. I can’t really say, I haven’t really talked to anyone yet.”
How much of your decision was based on incoming freshmen Malcolm Jones and Jordon James?
“I’m not scared of competition. I’ve been competing ever since I got here. When I first came here it was Aundre Dean, Raymond Carter, Derrick and Johnathan. It’s not like I’m scared of the two freshmen coming in. Anybody can tell you I’m a competitor. I’m going to go all out. It’s just unfortunate that I’m not able to compete with them.”