Miami QB King: FSU's Milton a friend & business partner, but rival on field
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Once college athletes were finally free to make business deals and profit from their name, image and likeness on July 1, one of the first high-profile announcements featured quarterbacks from one of the most storied rivalries in the history of college football.
Florida State's McKenzie Milton and Miami's D’Eriq King officially became business partners just minutes after midnight. They also continue to be rivals on the field and will square off against each other in November.
At the Atlantic Coast Conference Kickoff event Wednesday, King commented on his NIL partnership with Milton, their relationship off the field and the upcoming tilt between FSU and Miami.
Along with being senior quarterbacks at their respective programs, Milton and King became founding partners of Dreamfield, a new service that connects athletes with fans hungry for autographs, personal appearances and signed memorabilia.
Before they transferred to their respective schools and joined the ACC, Milton and King both starred in the American Athletic Conference.
King said he’s known Milton for six or seven years, since before they even reached college at Houston and UCF, respectively. And now that they have each been through the highs and lows of life as a star college football quarterback, their mutual respect for each other is clear.
“It’s huge. Me and McKenzie have a really good relationship. We talk a lot. His injury was way worse than mine,” King said. “But going through injuries together back from 2018 to now, its really awesome to see him back on his feet making plays.”
Some players might only be concerned with their own wallets, but Milton and King have both shown an interest in helping other players on their own teams and elsewhere around the country.
Milton has already recruited a pair of FSU tight ends, senior Jordan Wilson and redshirt junior Camren McDonald; freshman wide receiver Josh Burrell; fellow quarterback Jordan Travis; and other Seminoles to join Dreamfield.
King has done the same at Miami, and he talked about how important is to him to help others capitalize on NIL.
“Football is a team game already," King said. "With the whole NIL thing, it’s not for me to make as much money as possible. It's about helping as many people as I can. My teammates are a big deal to me. … I want everyone to have an opportunity.”
King added that it’s important for young athletes to take a mature business approach to the deals they sign.
“It can get overwhelming, right? A lot of guys just take any deal, any kind of money they throw at you, they’ll take it,” King said. “I want to have deals that last a lifetime. Not just last six months. I want to work with good people, good companies. Be prepared for it.”
Deals are happening everywhere around college football, and Milton isn’t the only star quarterback on Miami’s schedule that has already taken advantage of NIL opportunities. The Hurricanes take on preseason favorite Alabama in a high-profile season opener.
Even though King doesn’t have a relationship with Alabama quarterback Bryce Young like he does with Milton, he is excited for all players around the country to capitalize on NIL. Young made headlines this week when Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban said he has already been offered close to $1 million in deals.
“Good for him. I am happy for him. Like I said, I want everyone to make the most money possible,” King said. “If that’s true, almost a million dollars, that’s pretty good.”
While he just transferred to Miami last year, King explained that he understood the importance of the Hurricanes’ rivalry with FSU well before his time in Coral Gables.
When he was a freshman in high school, King's coach was Seminole legend Charlie Ward, who starred in two of the biggest FSU-Miami games of all time in 1992-93. King called the upcoming 2021 matchup in Doak Campbell Stadium a “huge deal.”
“I’m super excited," he said. "Last year, that was a big game, but we didn’t have fans. I am super excited for this year. I know it’s a huge rivalry.”
No matter how close they may be as business partners and friends off the field, King said all of that will be pushed to the side once Nov. 13 rolls around.
“It's pretty interesting. Like I said, we have a good relationship. At the end of the day, when we go out there and play against each other, it’s war,” King said. “He’s my dude, but he plays for Florida State, and I play for Miami.”
“I am going to go out there and try and kick his tail, and he is going to try and kick my tail. It’s going to be a good game.”