After landing four-star linebackers Nick Dawson and Keith Brown last week, Strong landed Tennessee transfer Matt Milton, a former Scout.com four-star wide receiver from Mascoutah, Ill., Tuesday. Milton, who is enrolling at Louisville Wednesday, recently was released by the Vols to attend Louisville, Illinois or Northern Illinois. After visiting Strong's program last Thursday and Friday, Milton quickly decided to play for the Cardinals.
"He's real excited," said Scott Battas, Milton's former high school coach. "I don't know all the details of the Tennessee situation about what went right and wrong, but I know he was recruited heavily by Lane Kiffin, and was in their plans pretty heavily. Then the coaching change shook things up there and he had an opportunity to leave when the coaching change took place but decided to stay. I don't think it worked out the way he thought it would, but there were some really good players in front of him there. He never played the significant role he thinks he's capable of playing. So he made the decision it was better that he get out of there. He also wanted to be closer to home for his mom, who's not feeling well. I think it's a pretty good fit."
In two seasons with the Vols, the 6'5, 217-pound Milton played 10 games and caught one pass for 12 yards against Florida. Ranked the No. 20 wide receiver prospect nationally coming out of high school, Milton is the second former four-star prospect from an SEC school to transfer to Louisville this winter, joining former Florida tight end Gerald Christian.
"I don't know exactly how they're going to use him but he's a versatile kid," said Battas. "He's 6'5, 217 and runs a 4.4 forty. You have a lot of flexibility with a kid that has those intangibles. I anticipate the way they move the ball around he's a guy that can work inside or outside."
Louisville assistant Shawn Watson recruited Milton while the offensive coordinator at Nebraska. Though he lost that recruiting battle to the Vols, his relationship with Milton proved the difference this time around.
"Coach Watson being there is huge," Battas said. "He had a pretty good relationship with Coach Watson as a senior at Mascoutah, and he actively recruited Matt and was one of the first to offer him. He obviously made an impression on Matt, and when he decided he wanted to leave he wanted me to get ahold of him first. On Matt's visit last week he certainly enjoyed his time with Coach Watson but also talked real highly about Coach Strong and how he viewed him."
Milton will pay his own way this semester, but Battas expects him to receive a scholarship when one becomes available for him.
"Basically what it comes down to is they don't have any scholarships available for the second semester," Battas said. "They plan on putting him on scholarship as soon as one is available. Matt didn't have any problem being responsible for one semester of school because it was the place he really wanted to go."
Battas said he believes Louisville will apply for a hardship waiver that would allow Milton to play next season because of family reasons.
"I'm sure they're going to apply for a waiver to play right away with his mom being ill," Battas said. "He could have stayed at Tennessee and finished the semester, but it was important to get on campus and at least go through spring football."