Hylton junior quarterback Travon McMillian committed to Virginia Tech on Thursday afternoon in an announcement in the Hylton auditorium, choosing the Hokies’ cap over his other finalists, Cal and Georgia Tech, laid out in front of him.
The 6-foot, 190-pound McMillian, who attended the Virginia Tech spring game Saturday, last season threw for 1,326 yards and 12 touchdowns, with nine interceptions, and also ran for 1,242 yards and 16 scores for a team that finished 10-3 and lost to Ocean Lakes in the Virginia AAA Division 6 semifinals.
McMillian had visited Cal, but the Golden Bears were recruiting him as a safety and not as a quarterback, and McMillian would like a shot under center before changing positions. McMillian did not visit Georgia Tech but considered the school because of its engineering program.
“I’ve been studying quarterback since I was in the seventh grade,” McMillian said after his announcement, attended by Woodbridge All-Met defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand (McMillian’s former middle school teammate) and All-Met Hylton teammate E.J. Levenberry, a Florida State signee. “And ever since then I’ve been studying the great quarterbacks — Joe Montana, Steve Young, Brett Favre. It’s always been a position that I’ve always wanted to play. You always have the ball in your hands, and you’re in control of the game, and I want to always be in control of the game.
“I at least want a shot at quarterback. I just don’t want to move straight to playing somewhere else.”
McMillian liked what he felt was a family vibe at Virginia Tech, a school that had recruited him since early in his sophomore season, and the fact that all the coaches knew his name. His interest in studying engineering also made it a logical choice.
“I’ll be able to get on the field as soon as possible,” said McMillian, who could switch to safety or receiver. “They feel that I can be a dynamic athlete in their system, both offensively and defensively, whatever I play.”
McMillian is one of the few Hylton players who can bench 300 pounds and squat 500. And even though he wants a chance to play quarterback in college, don’t be surprised if he occasionally lines up at another position in the Hylton offense so that freshman quarterback Donovan Williams can get some snaps. McMillian approached Coach Tony Lilly with that idea.
“[Virginia Tech coaches know] today that they got a commitment from a kid who can get on the field for them fast at a lot of different positions, which is a rarity,” Lilly said. “I think they get how valuable of a player that Travon is. It goes beyond his ability. It goes beyond the classroom. He’s just the kind of guy you want in your locker room. You know you can win with a guy like that in your locker room.
“I know the competitor that’s in Travon and he wants to get on the field fast. He’s okay with that being at another position.”
Several minutes after the auditorium had cleared out — not counting a visitor who happily found an electrical outlet in the orchestra pit — McMillian resurfaced in his Tech cap. A victory lap? No. Apparently, he had left his backpack in the wings of the stage.
“It’s a big relief,” he had said after the ceremony. “So now I can jut be a regular high school student and have fun my senior year. You’re only in high school once, and this opportunity only comes once in a lifetime. So I just want to enjoy everything.”