EXCLUSIVE: Milton Knox transferring, destination unknown

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.”

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  • Anonymous

    Very sad to see him go!!

  • Anonymous

    wow, way to scoop this one Jon…… best of luck to Milton.

  • Anonymous

    Man, too bad Knox is leaving, but this is hardly a surprise. Well, the only real surprise is that he stuck around for this long. Knox seemed like a good guy and I wish him the best wherever he goes.

  • Mikey Likes It!

    Often times the difference is the #1 and #2 running backs is “chemistry” not talent or ability. There is certain dynamic that must exist between a player and his coach and team mates IF he is to be successful. Chemistry and dynamics can change. Hopefully Milton will find the right combination at another school. He is a quality athlete!

    I am a firm believer that it’s better to be member of lower caliber team for which you are playing every game as opposed to being member of a high caliber team and sit on the bench!

    Question: is anybody aware of ANY similar situation where a player has transferred out of a major college football program and found success on another team?

  • Anonymous

    Good scoop Jon
    Hope the best for Milton

  • bruin4ever

    This is probably the best decision for Milton who IMHO did not get enough touches for whatever reason. I saw him play in HS and he’s got skills so the best of luck to him wherever he goes. I still recall how he was instrumental in keeping that recruiting class together after Dorrell was fired.

    Good Job Jon for scooping this. I saw it on FB.

  • Anonymous

    Extra scholarship!!!! Yaaa!!!

  • bbruin

    I really hope things work out for him. He has shown himself to be a good person (publically) during this tough time. I always wanted more touches for him. Franklin always seemed to be a shade ahead of him and Coleman just too much of a size difference to overcome. Crap.

  • http://daman.co.id T-Bickle

    Milton,
    Did you exchange a walk-on part in the War for a lead role in a Cage?

  • WHAT’S YOUR DEAL?

    I like that he didn’t give any parting shots or anything like that. He’s keeping his head up and doing what’s best for him. No hard feelings, Knox. Good luck man!

  • BruinFaithful

    FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF!!!! I had a feeling this was going to happen? This is exactly the type of guy who will go somewhere else, flourish, and make us regret it.

    I can’t understand how we couldn’t utilize this guy better, as a scat back or F back.

  • BruinFaithful

    Mikey:

    There have been all kinds of transfers that found huge success elsewhere. Emmanuel Moody left SUC, is flourishing at Florida and won a NC last year.

  • bruwin5931

    Like the other posts, I wish Milton Knox the best of luck. It really is unfortunate that he did not get more opportunities to show his ability.

    As for Mikey Likes It!’s question, the only example that comes to mind is Joe Flacco. Joe started his college career at Pitt before transferring to Delaware. He eventually became a 1st round pick, and is the starting quarterback for the Ravens. So although the odds will be stacked against him, it is possible for Milton to transfer to a smaller school, and find success at the college and professional level.

  • Anonymous

    @ Mikey
    There was a quarterback from Oklahoma who did pretty good!

  • MichaelRyerson

    Best of luck to Milton. I had high hopes for his UCLA career but it really was a numbers game. Somebody’s going to get a good football player. And for Mikey-likes-it, Troy Aikman had a pretty good college and pro career after transfering in.

  • Sid

    Some people can handle competition and earn playing time through performance…some people like to feel that playing time is owed to them.

    Guess we know which type Knox is now.

    Adios.

  • Semi-Pro

    Maybe someone should tell this kid that less than 1% of college athletes make it in the NFL…and if he REALLY cared about earning money to take care of his family, he would stay at UCLA and earn a world-class education.

  • 74ucla

    GOOD LUCK TO MILTON…HOPE THINGS START GOING HIS WAY. WENDELL MATHIS HAD A GOOD YEAR AT FRESNO STATE AFTER LEAVING UCLA.

  • spedjones

    frees up a scholi for all those QB’s we’re not landing right now.

  • bibs

    I wonder what role the coaches made in helping Milton to make this decision? Could he have improved his situation with more effort? Was there a scholastic situation? It is always hard to get to know the whole story. Good luck Milton.

  • JJ Stokes

    rickel me this rickel me that why are some of my players leaving and others calling me a rat?

    - slick rick

    our program is down the tubes…

  • Foster who?

    Jon,

    Way to absolutely destroy that fuckwad Foster on this scoop. You kick his ass all the time. THANKS.

  • MichaelRyerson

    More with the hand wringing? number four or five on the projected depth chart transfers out and our program is ‘down the tubes’? You need to cut back on that third cup of coffee, pardner.

  • cv

    One down three more to go, right Jon? Who is next?

  • Anonymous

    Good luck Milton!

  • Anonymous

    MR, that’s just another SC troll anyways, like “10 yrs gone.” Might even be the same guy. Any way to get their jollies, I guess. Who can blame them for impersonating a Bruin? =)

  • Bruin818

    Justin Fargas did pretty well when he transferred from Michigan.

  • Boston Bruin

    @ 10 yrs gone said: “He knew offense would suck again, so how would he get playing time.”

    Illogic personified!!!

    1) Knox can’t break in to being a top three RB

    2) Offense sucks

    Then the logical next step is:

    3) He sucks more than the overall offense…

    —————–
    As far as a team — if he still has aspirations for the NFL, he needs lots of reps. He’s not going to get them in a mahjor program.

    He should think about going to a 1AA school so he doesn’t have to sit yet another year. Also, in that way he can be in a better position to pick tyhe team that would showcase his talents the most, rather than a 1A program that would see him as a situational player.

  • bruinbiochem06

    Seven carries on the Spring game, when both Franklin and Coleman had nine a piece. That doesn’t seem like much of a disparity. Sad to see him go…

  • UB (Ultimate Bruin)

    Well said, VB. Whatever happened to work ethic? “Gee, I’m #3 or #4 on the depth chart at UCLA, so I have a choice to make: work hard to beat out the competition thereby making EVERYONE better, or go to another small school where I can be king pin.”
    —-
    This tells me that Knox made the RIGHT decision for UCLA. We don’t want kids that only look out for themselves. We want kinds that come in and COMPETE! If they have what it takes, they get PT. If they don’t have what it takes, then adios! Wheter it is skill, work ethic, attitude, scholarship, or any other reason, it is high time we have student-atheletes that are here to compete and proud to be a Bruin.

  • realy knows

    Really sad to see Milton go, my son is on the team and he called to tell us this before this story broke. Milton is a good friend to the guys and provided inspiration in the locker room. Good luck to you MK.
    PS- for the guy who said 1% make it in the NFL stick it out and get a world class education, while true tell that to 99% of the freshman who ALL think they can get to the NFL. It doesn’t hurt to follow your dreams.

  • Anonymous

    In response to Mikey Likes It:

    How about Troy Aikmam? Freshman year at Oklahoma, broke his leg and transferred to UCLA to become a Heisman candidate and number 1 draft pick.

  • Nathan Exp

    Hope Milton considers SDSU. It would be fun to see him play at Qualcomm.

  • SUC Sucks

    The kid is in denial and still thinks he’s gonna be running wild in the NFL someday, he said it himself when he said it’s a “business decision”… He’s not going to the league. RB’s are a dime a dozen and he couldn’t even get the starting job at UCLA.

    He should stay in school, be a good teammate, and enjoy his time at UCLA…

    I wish him well.

  • Anonymous

    Great thing to do for Milton. Ucla doesnt know how to utilize there backs.Lost two backs last year, now they are potential starters on there teams from what I been reading on Carter and Dean. If milton goes mountain west, that will be big.Goodluck to Johnathan hope they do not do him like they did Carter, Dean, and now Knox. Go Bruins!!!!!

  • BAMM

    I know Milton personally. I know his father, his brothers, what church he goes to. He used to be in my mothers sunday school class. Do not think for 1 minute that he doesn’t know what he is doing. Semi -Pro made the dumb comment he knows what kind of “kid” Milton is. No you don’t. I’ve watched Milton since he was in pee wee football. Dorrell recruited him Neuheisel came in and destroyed the recruiting class. Neuheisel is not a good fit for UCLA. Im a die hard Bruins fan but Im loyal to my friends before I’m loyal to a mascot. I know Milton will flourish where ever he goes because he’s got heart, speed, potential and power. Milton I’m rooting for you 100%!!! Shake the haters off