Keller Citizen

Nelson receiver would trade stats for wins

Byron Nelson's Tyler Milliken has become a reliable target for quarterback Eli Rusche.
Byron Nelson's Tyler Milliken has become a reliable target for quarterback Eli Rusche. Special to the Star-Telegram

Trophy Club Nelson football player Tyler Milliken is pushing toward his goal of 1,000 receiving yards, but would happily trade in the stats for more Bobcats wins.

Milliken, a 6-1, 180-pound senior receiver, is pushing toward that goal with just under 500 yards and seven TDs thus far this season.

Last season, Milliken caught eight TDs for the entire season.

He’s averaging almost 15 yards per catch.

“I’d rather have more wins and less stats,” Milliken said. “The season means more to me than individual stats.”

Milliken kept all his stats without having to trade any for the Bobcats’ upset win over Trinity, though.

The two-year starter will likely continue to amass the numbers as QB Eli Rusche has found Milliken a solid and reliable target.

That connection is built on trust, as the quarterback and receiver have known each other since they were young and played together through middle school and their freshman year.

Milliken said his key to being able to haul in a pass is to “really focus on bringing the ball in and tuck it in before looking downfield. The key is to bring the ball all the way in,” he said.

Besides that, Milliken said running routes are paramount in getting separation from a defender.

“Running a route is an art. It’s not just running from point A to point B. I think I do it with my own style and it’s different than everyone else. I’m more of a finesse receiver,” Milliken said.

He also noted that, even as a receiver, he doesn’t take a play off and takes pride in his blocking.

Some of that style is influenced by Milliken’s pro receiver idol, Sammy Watkins of the Buffalo Bills.

“He’s fast and he is out of cuts and he’s the quickest off the ball. He does whatever he needs to get open and get separation,” Milliken said.

Having that type of speed is something Milliken enhances by running track, as well. Milliken said he can run a 4.58, 40-yard dash and competes in the 100 and 200 in track in addition to some of the relays.

His success could prove to bring more challenges.

When opposing defenses plan how to defend him, Milliken may find himself with additional coverage.

“We’ve got a good receiver corps,” he said. “We can just go to another option.”

Combining those talents could attract more attention from college programs, but Milliken is taking in each of the final games of his high school career.

“I play every game like it’s my last. I go out there with my brothers,” he said.

Online

Read about the Bobcats’ momentous upset of Euless Trinity at www.kellercitizen.com.

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