Quote Unquote: Mililani Quarterback McKenzie Milton is an East Coast MVP

Mililani High football star McKenzie Milton gained nationwide attention as the quarterback for the undefeated University of Central Florida Knights, who won the Peach Bowl in January. Born at Wahiawā General Hospital, he’s 5 feet 11 inches, 185 pounds and a sophomore, the youngest of four boys who learned the art of friendly competition early.
McKenzie Milton, Mililani High Football Star
Photo: David Croxford

MY MOM ACTUALLY NAMED me after the doctor who delivered me and my brothers. His name is William McKenzie so they named me McKenzie William. He’s just a good family friend and he helped my mom through all four of her pregnancies.


I PLAYED BASEBALL, basketball and golf as well. It was kind of between football and baseball and I started developing more of a love for football.


“Just stay true to yourself.”


PLAYING AT MILILANI was an awesome experience for me—feeling the bond over there. Getting a football scholarship obviously is a blessing.


FRESHMAN YEAR WAS tough adjusting, getting used to a little different culture. Now I’ve kind of made [UCF] my home, my home away from home.  It’s been an awesome experience.


YOU KIND OF JUST TAKE everything with a grain of salt—try not to get too high or too low with anything. Enjoy the moment because all that stuff isn’t going to last forever.


MY MAJOR IS SPORTS AND exercise science, and [I’m on] the coaching path, so I’ll end up coaching football one day, hopefully.


[MAINLAND-BOUND STUDENTS SHOULD] pack a rice pot. Just stay true to yourself. Don’t let your circumstances and your environment change who you are, your roots, and just embrace every moment and carry Hawai‘i with you wherever you’re at.


THERE ARE NOT A LOT OF Hawai‘i boys out on the East Coast playing football: when we played Navy, my buddy Keoni Makekau, and Tua Tagovailoa from Alabama. Keoni and I played Waipi‘o football together and we’ve known each other since we were young kids. Definitely followed his career; I support him and he supports me. It’s pretty cool to see kids living out their dreams.


[WHEN I‘M HOME I] definitely get some Korean fried chicken from Zippy’s, some chicken katsu curry from Genki, ramen, some spicy ‘ahi from Foodland.


I MISS MY FAMILY—my dad and my brothers. My mom’s been up here a lot, but not being able to see them week in and week out and not being able to see them in the stands is kind of a bummer sometimes. I definitely miss them the most.


WHEN LITTLE KIDS look up to you, that’s another cool thing. I was a kid like that watching Colt Brennan, Timmy Chang and Marcus Mariota.


WHEN I WAS A KID I met Colt Brennan at Dave and Buster’s. I got his autograph. That was a pretty cool moment for me as a kid.


I GOT ASKED FOR A PICTURE in a bathroom one time. That was probably the weirdest one.


Read more stories by Robbie Dingeman