Michigan grad transfer Joe Milton joins Tennessee quarterback race

University of Michigan Athletics photo / Former Michigan quarterback Joe Milton, who appeared in 14 games for the Wolverines, has decided to join Tennessee's quarterback race as a graduate transfer.

There is a new dynamic in the Tennessee Volunteers quarterback room, and a sizable dynamic at that.

Joe Milton, a graduate transfer from Michigan, announced Monday via Instagram that he will continue his career in Knoxville and join a mix that contained junior Brian Maurer, sophomore Harrison Bailey and Virginia Tech graduate transfer Hendon Hooker during the 15 spring practices that concluded Saturday with the first Orange & White game of the Josh Heupel era.

At 6-foot-5 and 243 pounds, Milton is the biggest participant in the bunch.

Milton's Instagram account now reflects "QB@University of Tennessee," and he is pictured in a No. 7 jersey. That is the same number that was given to freshman quarterback Kaidon Salter, but the early enrollee never practiced this spring due to his involvement in a Stokely Hall incident in early March with three other teammates that yielded charges of marijuana and drug paraphernalia possession.

Heupel was hopeful that Salter would be cleared by the university before spring practice ended but said, "I don't have anything final on the situation," after the Orange & White contest.

Milton, who was in Knoxville this past weekend, played in 14 career games for the Wolverines and made five starts. He completed 80 of 141 passes (56.7%) for 1,077 yards with four touchdowns and four interceptions.

Michigan was No. 16 in the Associated Press preseason poll last August and was at No. 18 entering its Oct. 24 opener against Minnesota, which was a resounding 49-24 victory in which Milton completed 15 of 22 passes for 225 yards and a touchdown and rushed eight times for 58 yards and a score. The Wolverines moved up to 13th after that triumph but would win just once more, as their disastrous 2-4 season ended with three straight cancellations due to COVID-related issues.

Milton faltered down the stretch, as a 9-of-19 passing performance that included two interceptions helped lead to a 49-11 loss to Wisconsin on Nov. 14. The following week against Rutgers, Milton started 5-of-12 for 89 yards as the Wolverines fell into a 17-0 hole, which resulted in Cade McNamara replacing him and rallying Michigan to a 48-42 win in three overtimes.

McNamara started what became Michigan's season finale against Penn State.

Heupel this spring rotated Maurer, Bailey and Hooker among the first-, second- and third-team offenses. Bailey had the best statistical Orange & White game, completing 12 of 16 passes for 260 yards and two touchdowns.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.