High School Football

Tompkins QB Milroe finds right fit at Alabama

By Dennis Silva II, Sports Editor
Posted 12/16/20

In July of 2018, a late morning discussion between a reporter and Tompkins head football coach Todd McVey centered around the potential of sophomore quarterback Jalen Milroe. His intriguing background. His promising future.

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High School Football

Tompkins QB Milroe finds right fit at Alabama

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In July of 2018, a late morning discussion between a reporter and Tompkins head football coach Todd McVey centered around the potential of sophomore quarterback Jalen Milroe. His intriguing background. His promising future.

Following an eye-opening two months of spring ball, Milroe was the unofficial projected starter for Tompkins heading into the 2018 season. His natural skill, though raw, was obvious. But it was something else of Milroe’s that enamored him to McVey and others around him.

“The MVP of smiling,” McVey acknowledged of his precocious youngster. “It’s contagious.”

Milroe did, in fact, boast a particular joy about life. McVey recalled his initial meeting with Milroe at WoodCreek Junior High a few years earlier, coming away impressed with his maturity and perspective. They were signs of what was to come.

“He wants this program to grow as we want it to grow, and he’s up to the challenge,” McVey admired.

Jump ahead two years and Milroe, the No. 15-ranked pocket-passing quarterback in the Class of 2021, is not only leading Tompkins to greater heights as intended, he’s also the University of Alabama’s next prized recruit at quarterback. The 6-foot-2, 192-pound four-star recruit signed his letter of intent to play for the Crimson Tide on Wednesday morning after verbally committing on Aug. 17.

At the time, Milroe’s verbal commitment raised eyebrows. He had verbally committed to Texas the previous summer, but decommitted a little more than a year later. It was Alabama’s culture and system, along with head coach Nick Saban and offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, that eventually won Milroe over.

“Playing in an offensive system that is pro style, Coach Sark is running a system that will be run in the NFL,” Milroe said. “My ultimate goal is to make it to the NFL, and I feel like I’ll be able to achieve that at Alabama. Texas’s offense is great, but development-wise being under Coach Sark and Coach Saban … it’s a better fit. And then throw in playing against the best in the nation in the SEC … that was definitely one of my goals growing up and now I’m able to achieve that.”

Tuscaloosa was Milroe’s first college recruiting visit during the summer of his junior year. Milroe participated at a program camp and soaked in the first-hand coaching from Sarkisian and Saban. But he pushed back his commitment date, and another player committed to Alabama during that time. So, Milroe redirected and verbally committed to Texas on July 21, 2019.

“But during my commitment to Texas, Alabama kept recruiting me,” Milroe said. “When I sat down and thought about it, Alabama is outstanding. Coach Saban is Coach Saban. Coach Sark has NFL experience and has coached around the Division I level. It’s hard to miss. The class we had built at Texas for 2021 was the one real thing holding me back, and it was hard leaving that, but I had to do what was best for my future. Development-wise, I feel I can better myself at the University of Alabama.”

The Tide’s no-nonsense, disciplined ways were another attraction. Milroe comes from a military family. His father, Quentin, was a Marine who served in Iraq and his mother, Lola, was in the Navy.

The nomadic lifestyle has taken Milroe from his native California to Maryland, Houston and now Katy, which explains his ability to seamlessly adapt to situations and people, as well as his craving for structure.

“It was important to me to find a family-like environment and a structured environment,” Milroe said. “Alabama has that. All of that matters. You can definitely see it through the success they have and how many players Saban puts through the (NFL) draft. It’s certainly a different place.”

Still, Milroe said he has “unfinished business” at Tompkins, which has won 86 percent of its games since he took over at quarterback.

This season, Milroe has completed 62.5 percent of his passes for 1,136 yards and 13 touchdowns to two interceptions in nine games. He has rushed for 259 yards and four more touchdowns. Under his stewardship, the Falcons have won 30 games and counting over the last three seasons, including the program’s first district championship.

But the main goal of lifting the Falcons past the third round of the playoffs remains. Tompkins has fallen in the regional each of the last two seasons.

“It’s all a blessing,” Milroe said. “All thanks to God throughout this journey. Through the process, it’s a lot of hard work, grit and want-to. Commitment to the grind is important. Get one percent better each and every day and you’ll get to that 100 percent, and that 100 percent is your long-term goals—being successful as a program, winning the game that week. From when I got here to now, the commitment level from our guys has helped the success in the program. It had lacked commitment previous years before I got here.

“I give all thanks to the coaching staff, from Coach McVey to the training staff, and my teammates. It hasn’t been easy. Everything we’ve gone through, we’ve needed, and it shows in the success.”

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