BRADENTON – Talk about a breakout performance. Manatee wide receiver Tarique Milton did just about everything for the Hurricanes this past season.

The 5’10 1/2″, 162-pounder enters his senior year fresh off a 50-catch junior season where he totaled a team-high 855 receiving yards along with eight touchdowns through the air. The speedster also brought back two punts for touchdowns.

Milton became a full-time starter as an outside wide receiver after learning in a limited role as a sophomore behind a senior. He returned a kickoff for a touchdown during that season.

“I was just excited about what I did and I felt really good about it,” Milton told Prep Sports Scouting about his junior campaign. “Now I’m really confident heading into my senior season.”

Manatee captured its fifth state title in 2011 and since then they’ve appeared in two state final fours and two 8A region semifinals. Last season, the Hurricanes finished 9-3 before falling to Dr. Phillips 40-21 in the region semifinal.

I asked Milton how they can win it all in his final high school season.

“We can’t make the same mistakes that we did last year in the playoffs. We have to try to get better. This year we should have a better season because based off last season we made a lot of adjustments towards what we are doing this year.”

On top of playing outside receiver, Milton will move into the slot often this season as well serve as the punt and kick returner for his team.

“I feel like I have the advantage because I feel like I’d be a lot quicker than those bigger guys,” he said about playing slot receiver.

Starting his football life at age 6 as a wide receiver and quarterback, Milton played mainly quarterback up until high school. After serving as a wideout and quarterback on JV as a freshman he says he got attached to wide receiver as a sophomore.

Milton says the kickoff classic last season is when he gained full confidence in himself. He recorded his first punt return for a touchdown in that game.

He calls special teams his specialty and something that he loves.

As for his biggest strengths, Milton said that was his separation ability and overall speed. He’s working to improve his route running.

He currently holds 18 offers which includes the latest from Louisville.

Milton pointed to Iowa State, Michigan State, USF and UCF as four schools that he would call his Top Four.

He’s visited Iowa State, Michigan State and UCF already and said the vibe around each campus is all love for the players and coaches.

Milton’s head coach John Booth has made a smooth transition from longtime head coach Joe Kinnan the past two seasons. Booth has put together a 21-5 record. Milton says its an honor to play for him.

“He’s a really great guy and he knows what he’s talking about because he’s been there before. It’s all about getting good points from him and good feedback. I listened to everything he says.”

Milton’s biggest role model is former NFL star wide receiver Randy Moss.

“I admire him [Moss] a lot and watched a lot of his highlights. The way his craft was performed as far as getting separation from cornerbacks, making one-hand catches. I felt like he gave me the inspiration to be what I am.”

His ultimate goal is to make it to the NFL, but right now he’s still working on figuring out what his major will be in college because he wants to pursue his degree.

Milton is a guy who can play all over the field on offense and special teams. He has noticeable burst and uses that to break past cornerbacks and safeties.

Manatee is a contender year in and year out and with Tarique Milton in for a huge senior season that will do wonders for this program. Milton is a guy who will fare well at the next level because he is the student of the game.

***

Quick Hitters

Favorite player to watch – Minnesota WR Stefon Diggs, Samford Kelvin McKnight
Playlist before games – Wale “Ambition”
Favorite movie – Life
Favorite TV show –  Martin
Fun fact about you that you think no one knows – “I listen to music 24/7. I put on shuffle and whatever plays I listen to it.”
Nickname from teammates or friends – “Rique”

Game film: Milton’s Hudl tape

Photo credit: The Bradenton Herald

Jake Perper is the scout for Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to write below or email Jake at jake.perper@hotmail.com.

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