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Posts Tagged ‘Pahokee’

New in Blue: 2018 QB Joe Milton

Monday, May 8th, 2017


Joe Milton – QB | 6-6, 222 | Orlando, Fla. (Olympia)
ESPN4-star, #8 QB Rivals: 4-star, #6 QB 247: 4-star, #12 QB Scout: 3-star, 29 QB
247 Composite: 4-star #10 QB, #243 nationally
Other top offers: Florida, Georgia, Miami, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Louisville, Missouri, Kansas State

Fresh off of a trip to Rome and the top NFL Draft haul in the nation, Jim Harbaugh continued the momentum by landing a commitment from Orlando, Fla. quarterback Joe Milton. Milton released a great commitment video on Sunday afternoon.

Milton is a four-star according to ESPN, Rivals, and 247, and a three-star according to the lone outlier, Scout. Rivals ranks him the highest as the 6th-best dual-threat quarterback in the 2018 class, while ESPN ranks him 8th-best, and 247 as the 12th-best pro-style. Scout ranks him as the 29th-best overall quarterback. Nationally, Rivals ranks him 113th overall, ESPN 124th, and 247 271st. He’s the 10th-best pro-style quarterback and 243rd-best overall player in the class per the 247 Composite.

At 6-foot-6 and 222 pounds, Milton has great size already as he finishes up his junior year of high school. As his commitment video demonstrated, he was originally from Pahokee, Fla., where Michigan landed several players in the past decade. His family moved to Orlando for better opportunities and he drew the attention of many of the top schools in the south. Ultimately, he chose the Wolverines over Florida, Georgia, Miami, Tennessee, and others.

Scout lists Milton’s strengths as arm strength, game management, playmaking skills, pocket awareness, running ability/mobility, and size, while listing his areas to improve as accuracy, decision-making, and release. They expanded on that.

“Milton is a bouncy athlete who is light on his feet, so you have to like his ability to evade pressure and extend plays with his legs. His size for the position is obvious, but overall, he is a good looking athlete who can provide that game-changing play under center. Milton also does a good job of transferring weight and stepping into his throws. He has packed on solid mass over the past year, and measures in at roughly 6-foot-5 when lacing up the cleats. He can continue to work on his accuracy on some of his intermediate throws, but flashes great ball placement when extending the field with the deep ball.”

Milton has been described as raw with a ton of upside, which is a perfect fit for Michigan’s roster, especially under Harbaugh’s tutelage. With Dylan McCaffrey in the class ahead of him and Brandon Peters a year ahead of that, Milton will have plenty of time to develop those raw skills to add to his already impressive frame. New offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton likened Milton to Steve McNair, who enjoyed a long NFL career, including the 2003 MVP award.

Milton is the eighth member of Michigan’s 2018 class, joining running back Christian Turner, offensive lineman Emil Ekiyor, linebacker Otis Reese, defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, and defensive backs Myles Sims, Gemon Green, and German Green.

Wolverines providing hope in Florida hometown

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

We have shared the story of Vincent Smith’s urban garden project a few times. With a little over a week remaining in their indiegogo campaign to raise money for the project, we are making one last push. They’re still well short of their goal of $30,000, which will expand the garden that is already in place and provide programming for all of 2014.

Thanksgiving is next week, but many of the residents of Pahokee don’t have access to, or can’t afford, healthy food. Smith, along with Martavious Odoms and Brandin Hawthorne, are working to change that. Please consider donating to help this group of Michigan Men improve their hometown.

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Raising Pahokee: Former Michigan football stars expanding urban garden projects

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

Back in February, you helped fund Vincent Smith’s painting project with the youth of Pahokee, Fla. Prior to that, the Michigan faithful helped fund he and Martavious Odoms’ #Eating project in which they built an urban garden for the town of Pahokee. Now, the duo is back along with fellow former Michigan football player and Pahokee native, Brandin Hawthorne. And this time, another familiar face has joined in: Denard Robinson.

The group along with Team Eating just launched another campaign, this time on Indiegogo, to continue and expand the community gardens program they have already started. This campaign has three goals. First, to expand the Pahokee garden that is already up and running. Second, to add a community garden in Denard’s home town of Deerfield Beach, Fla. And finally, to add a community garden somewhere in Michigan.

Photos from the current Pahokee urban garden

Each of the three goals carries a different monetary threshold, so if $30,000 is raised the first goal will be funded, if $80,000 is raised the second will, and if $120,000 all three will be. With indiegogo, the Pahokee crew has 60 days to fund their project as opposed to the 30 days that the previous Kickstarter projects allotted and there are currently 52 days remaining. The other difference between this one and the previous Kickstarter campaigns is that Team Eating will receive all funds donated even if the project does not reach its goal.

Smith, Odoms, and Hawthorne are dedicating their time to improving their community

You may be asking yourself, ‘I already donated to the previous one, why should I donate to this again?’ or ‘why should I give them my money?’. Well first of all, perhaps you’ve never been to Pahokee. I have. It’s poor, it’s hot, there’s not much around, and there isn’t a whole lot to do. There’s no major grocery store in town. It was once the winter vegetable capital of the world, but now business have closed and unemployment is nearly 30 percent. The per capita income is just over $12,000 and over 30 percent of the population is below the poverty line. Only nine percent of the population has a bachelor’s degree and the crime rate is about double the U.S. average.

Pahokee has been well publicized for its ability to produce football stars. Aside from Smith, Odoms and Hawthrone, several NFL stars have come from the Muck including Anquan Boldin, Fred Taylor, Janoris Jenkins, Pernell McPhee, and Reidel Anthony among others. The fact is football provides a way out, a way to become successful and avoid the pitfalls that abound in the small town that borders Lake Okeechobee.

While Boldin, Jenkins, and McPhee are busy making a living in the NFL, Smith, Odoms, and Hawthorne are dedicating their time to improving the quality of life in their hometown. They are using the garden as an opportunity to provide jobs, job training, and activities for the local youth. They’re using it as a chance to teach elementary grade students about healthy living, nutrition, and teamwork. All the while growing food to provide for the community.

Regardless of your political affiliation, we can all agree that in a time when America’s economy is struggling, people like Smith, Odoms, and Hawthorne are just what we need more of. People willing to invest their time into improving their communities and provide jobs and better education to ensure a better future for the youth.

The fact that the three played football at Michigan, got their degrees, and are putting them to use for the greater good should be reason enough to invest in them. We rooted for them on Saturdays, so why not root for them in life beyond the gridiron as well?

The campaign offers perks for your contributions. For example, a $1 donation gets you an email with photos from the garden; a $12 donation gets you an autographed post card from Smith; a $25 donation gets you an #Eating t-shirt; a $55 donation gets you an #Eating hoodie, and so on.

So why donate? Perhaps it’s an opportunity to teach your kids the value of giving back. Or simply a chance to support some former Michigan athletes that gave it their all for the team you root for and are now giving it their all for their community and the next generation. Or maybe you just want a cool new t-shirt to wear around campus. Whatever the reason, please consider helping them out and together we can be a part of the solution.

A thank you note from Vincent Smith

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

Vincent Smith’s goal of providing a painting fun day for the kids of Pahokee came closer to fruition on Tuesday when his Kickstarter campaign received full funding. Tonight, on the eve of Michigan’s pro day, he issued the following statement to thank those who donated.

“I would like to thank you all for your support for my pilot Painting Day for the kids. I’m trying to give back in any way I can for my community and do whatever it takes to give the kids a chance to be successful.  I’ll try my best for them and continue to be an inspiration in all young kids lives, not just in my community. Thanks once again for backing my Pilot Painting day and helping to make it happen.  I am looking forward to sharing our progress with everyone.”
– Vincent Smith

This is truly a kid worth rooting for. Stay tuned for more updates on his project.

Vincent Smith’s Pahokee painting project reaches its goal

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

Vincent Smith's project has been fully funded, but you can still donate until 4:20pm on Saturday

A couple of weeks ago, I shared the story of how Vincent Smith was trying to use his love for painting to give back to the youth in his hometown of Pahokee, Fla. Yesterday, thanks to the generosity of 88 backers (and counting), his Kickstarter campaign became fully funded, which means he will be able to hold his painting fun day for the middle and elementary school kids of Pahokee.

The day of fun will be held sometime in late March or April – he’s still working to nail down the exact date – and will provide the kids with much-needed painting supplies, painting lessons from Vincent himself, and an autograph session with the former Michigan running back.

Tomorrow, Smith will participate in Michigan’s annual pro day along with the rest of the departing Wolverines who hope to either improve their stock in the upcoming NFL Draft or earn an undrafted free agent spot on a team. Last season, 25 NFL teams sent scouts to the event. Smith hopes to catch on anywhere, but thinks he would fit in nicely with a team like Seattle or Philadelphia (with new head coach Chip Kelly) that doesn’t run a traditional power-type offense. He’s also hoping to run a 4.40 40-yard dash.

Regardless of where he ends up, his roots will remain in Pahokee and his painting fun day will help give hope to the next generation of kids who need a good role model. It’s safe to say that with a good head on his shoulders and a willingness to give back, Vincent will be able to fill that role.

Once the Kickstarter campaign officially ends on Saturday afternoon, we will begin the process of choosing our winners for the autographed Michigan mini helmet and $25 M Den gift card. The winners will be announced on the site and contacted via email.

Maize and Go Blue will also recap the painting fun day after it happens, so stay tuned.

Vincent Smith using painting to give back to Pahokee youth

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Vincent Smith shows off two of the paintings he created at Michigan, "Patterns" and "Game Day"

Fair or not, his Michigan legacy is likely to be remembered most by the hit he received from Jadeveon Clowney in the Capital One Bowl (edit: Outback Bowl). But that doesn’t define Vincent Smith. Nor do the 1,845 total yards or 17 touchdowns he accounted for over the last four years. Nor does the distinction he holds as the only player in modern Michigan history to score a touchdown rushing, receiving, and passing in the same game.

No, Vincent Smith is much more than that. His backstory has been told several times, from his humble beginnings in Pahokee, Fla., to being known as the toughest player on the team despite his diminutive stature, to his relatively recent passion for painting. Yesterday, he appeared in a Sports Illustrated feature along with Clowney about where they each came from and how it all led up to the hit seen ’round the world.

But this isn’t a story about his past. It’s about how that past has shaped the man he is now and what he wants to do to help mold the next generation of Pahokee youth.

“When I was a kid, lawyers and athletes (who came from Pahokee) came back and spoke to us about succeeding, and that made an impact on me,” Smith said. “So I’ve always wanted to be able to give back like that.”

Earlier this month, Smith set the wheels in motion for his first give-back project, C2C – Vincent Smith Teaches Painting. The idea is to share his love for painting with the middle school and elementary kids of Pahokee by dedicating one day in late March or early April as a painting fun day. Smith will provide the painting materials and his time to provide a day of fun for kids from the impoverished town. He’ll teach them the basics of painting, sign autographs, and leave a lasting impression on the next generation of Pahokee youth.

Smith wants to give back to the youth of Pahokee

The project, which is being funded through the crowd-sourcing site Kickstarter, ends on March 16 – the same day the the Wolverines begin spring practice without Smith – and is currently about $800 short of its goal. If the project does not meet its goal by March 16, it will go unfulfilled and Vincent won’t get a chance to make a lasting impression on a generation of youth in need of an inspirational and tangible role model.

Time certainly isn’t easy to come by for Smith as he’s busy preparing for April’s NFL Draft. He trains five days a week in West Palm Beach and Boca Raton with fellow Pahokeean and Wolverine Brandin Hawthorne and others such as the Honey Badger, Tyrann Mattheu. He will participate in Michigan’s Pro Day on  March 14th – just two days before his campaign expires – where he hopes to make enough of an impression on NFL scouts to warrant a draft pick or at least a free agent deal. And that’s what makes this project so selfless.

Despite being hard at work chasing his dreams, Smith wants to make sure he gives hope to the youth of Pahokee who could be next in the long line of football stars to come from the Muck. But in the same way he discovered art as a student at Michigan, Smith wants to show that success can be found – and safe and constructive fun can be had – in ways other than football.

“I could always run a football camp or something like that, but I want to switch it up,” Smith said. “I like to give back to the community and this is a way to show kids there are outlets other than football.”

Smith will forever be a part of the Michigan football fraternity, and as a part of the 2009 class that featured Taylor Lewan and Denard Robinson, he helped guide the program through some rough times and set the foundation for the future. Now, he’s trying to do the same for the youth of Pahokee.

As a Michigan fan base that has cheered him on the last four years, let’s send him off with a going away present by opening our wallets to help him help others. Whether it’s $1 or $100, please consider becoming a “backer” of this project. There are rewards for you as well, such as H.O.P.E. wristbands, limited edition prints of his paintings, and more based on your level of donation.

If the project reaches its goal, everyone that becomes a backer between now and the end of the campaign will be entered into a random drawing for a $25 gift card to the M Den and a Michigan mini helmet signed by Vincent Smith, courtesy of Maize and Go Blue*.

In a sports culture full of self-absorbed players that take out $300,000 loans for their own birthday party and struggle to cope with fame, wealth, and life after football, Vincent Smith is a breath of fresh air. He’s truly invested in perpetuating the cycle of giving back to the community that gave back to him when he was a kid. It’s a story about hope and future, and there don’t seem to be enough of those these days.

*One winner will be randomly selected after March 16. Campaign must reach its goal. Winner will be contacted via email. Donation amount has no effect on chance of winning. If you have any questions, contact Vincent via the Kickstarter page or email

The Michigan Medley is sold on Treadwell

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

He’s as good as advertised

Last Friday night I had the chance to go see the nation’s top receiver, and one of Michigan’s top remaining targets, LaQuon Treadwell, play in person. His Crete Monee Warriors played previously unbeaten Glenbard South and came away with a dominating 45-7 win. Treadwell racked up 181 yards and two touchdowns on seven catches through three quarters of play. With such a big lead, he didn’t play the fourth.

Treadwell, center, being watched by Florida's receivers coach (Photo by....should have brought an actual camera)

Treadwell’s team is loaded with talent, most notably linebacker Nyles Morgan, fellow receiver Lance Lenoir, and defensive back Jaylen Dunlap, but it was ever apparent that the offensive game plan could have simply been to throw it to Treadwell on every single play. And it would be just as effective. But in a team sport on a squad with other Division 1 prospects, they have to spread the wealth.

For a high school senior, he has perfect size, good hands, and enough shiftiness to turn a crossing route into a 75-yard touchdown. I was skeptical prior to the game. After all, how good can this kid be? But I was impressed. I guess that’s why the kid has offers from nearly every school in the country. Florida receivers coach Bush Hamdan (far right in photo) was on hand and Oklahoma State will be there this week. Treadwell visited Ole Miss on Saturday and would be a huge pick up if Brady Hoke is able to land him.

Treadwell also plays safety and kicker for the Warriors. At safety, he seemed to shy away from contact, and the one time he tried to make a big hit, he whiffed on the receiver who then ran untouched for an 84-yard touchdown. But that doesn’t take away from Treadwell’s receiving skills as he’s clearly a receiver first and foremost.

His teammate, Morgan, may have been the most impressive player on the field that night. He has offers from Michigan State, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, Illinois, and Purdue, with interest from several others, including Michigan and Alabama. He’s currently just a junior, so he’ll be one to watch next season. He visited MSU last weekend. Please don’t end up there.



I’ve been meaning to pump the #Eating fundraiser for some time now, but it kept slipping my mind. Now that I’ve remembered, it has already reached its goal. But that doesn’t have to stop you from donating to this great cause.

If you’re not aware of it yet, it’s a project by former Michigan receiver Martavious Odoms. He’s trying to start a community garden in his hometown of Pahokee, Florida to “create jobs and provide job training, as well as provide positive activities for the youth.”

If you don’t know much about Pahokee, it’s a relatively poor town in south Florida with higher than average crime rates, but has produced an astonishing number of big time athletes. Unemployment rates are currently around nine percent and the percentage of college graduates is very low as well. Regardless of political affiliation, this is a cause to get behind since it involves one of our very own Wolverines serving and giving back to his community.

While the goal has already been met, there’s nothing that says Hope for Pahokee doesn’t need more. If you’re leery about where the funds will go, you can read about it on the Kickstarter page. Hope for Pahokee is using Urban Greenworks of Miami, which has successfully installed five urban gardens in Miami, to facilitate the project.


Legends jerseys

Jake Ryan proved that a Legends number doesn't have to go to an upperclassman (Photo by the Ann Arbor News)

We’ve talked previously about the Legends jerseys that will be awarded this season and our view on them. I, like many others, thought Craig Roh was the logical choice to get Ron Kramer’s No. 87, but it was awarded to senior tight end Brandon Moore on Saturday afternoon. The previous week, Bennie Oosterbaan’s No. 47 was awarded to sophomore linebacker Jake Ryan. This clears up a couple of things. First, it doesn’t necessarily have to be an upperclassman. Secondly, with Moore, it doesn’t have to be a star or a player who has made major contributions on the field.

It appears that the jerseys will be sought after by the players who get the distinction of wearing a jersey that commemorates a Michigan football legend and a special locker in the locker room. That means Desmond Howard’s No. 21, which was worn by Junior Hemingway last season and Roy Roundtree this year will likely be given to someone else next year, as will Kramer’s 87 that Moore will done for the remainder of 2012.

The next question is, who will be awarded Gerald Ford’s No. 48 and the Wistert brothers’ No. 11? Since it appears that each of them will, in fact, be awarded, my vote for 48 now goes to senior center Elliott Mealer. Unfortunately, unless Michigan can get the rules changed, which is highly unlikely, it has to go to a quarterback, running back, receiver, defensive back, or linebacker. So how about Desmond Morgan? Like Ryan, he’s a young starting linebacker and plays the type of hard-nosed defense that would make ford, the former center, proud.

No. 11 also falls into the same number classification under NCAA guidelines, so my vote goes to Devin Funchess. Would the coaching staff give it to a freshman? Would they give it to another tight end? I’d say at this point it’s probably unlikely, but given the potential star ability of Funchess, it would be great to see. If not, how about sophomore quarterback Russell Bellomy? He’s likely to be the starting quarterback next season and according to Sports Illustrated, the best player to ever wear No. 11 in the NFL was Eagles quarterback Norm Van Brocklin. But watching the Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald pull down touchdown passes in No. 11, I can’t help but think how great it would look on Funchess before he makes a name for himself in 19.