It was a perfect season for the Wayzata Trojans this season. They just finished up an undefeated, state championship year. Part of the reason the Trojans were able to go from a 5-5 season only one year ago to this…
It was a perfect season for the Wayzata Trojans this season. They just finished up an undefeated, state championship year. Part of the reason the Trojans were able to go from a 5-5 season only one year ago to this season was that they were able to find a role for senior two-way player Malaki Milton-Jackson. Finding a full-time position for the versatile Milton-Jackson paid off – especially for the Trojans’ defense.
“We were all working toward being state champions,” Milton-Jackson said. “It came down to putting in the work and realizing we all had the same goal. We just had to stick together to accomplish it.”
The offense started to roll in the playoffs. The defense was solid all year and didn’t allow more than 21 points all season.
“When we were playing well on offense, we were consistent,” Milton-Jackson explained. “On defense, we were all getting to the ball – finding it and stopping it. We had a saying on defense – ‘no more yards.’ That pumped us up.”
Milton-Jackson had the most productive season of his career.
“I got to play both sides of the ball. I told Coach before the season; I wanted to play both sides. They found a place for me to play on defense, and I got some touches at running back and played some fullback.”
Playing new positions was nothing new.
“I didn’t play football as a freshman because of an injury,” Milton-Jackson said. “As a sophomore, I played running back, but they tried me all over the place. I played some defensive end, they tried me at tight end, and I ended up at running back. This year I wanted to play both sides for the challenge. I love defense now.”
His love for defense happened because of a chance one of the Wayzata coaches took.
“I was planning on playing outside linebacker,” the 6’1″ 215-pound Milton-Jackson said. “During one of our summer practices, one of the coaches asked me to go to nose guard. He said, ‘I want to see how you do.’ They decided to keep me there.”
His lack of size as an interior lineman was both a positive and negative with his position change.
“The hardest thing to get used to was getting off of guys who were head up on me and probably bigger than me,” Milton-Jackson said. “I was able to use my speed to get past guys. One of the difficulties was dealing with double and triple teams.”
A full-time interior defensive lineman, the senior was also a part-time running back.
“My best spot on offense was probably fullback – finding guys and smacking them to give my runners yards.”
Milton-Jackson will not be doing much training this winter.
“I am injured right now – from the state championship game,” Milton-Jackson explained. “I tried to play through it, but I couldn’t. The next morning, I went and got an MRI, and I fractured a little bone on the top of my shoulder. It is going to be up to six weeks of rest.”
He will miss out on much of winter training but will ramp things up late this winter and then hit the track in the spring.
“I have been in track since 2nd grade,” Milton-Jackson told northstarfootballnews.com. “I took a break in junior high and then started again as a sophomore. I run the sprints and long jump and triple jump.”
Milton-Jackson is not a one-trick pony on the football field – nor in life.
“I am passionate about mechanical engineering. I am in a program called Rights of Passage. It is an intense six-week program of mentoring to develop leadership skills for young African American boys in Minnesota.”
His seasons on and off the field have attracted college interest.
“I am mainly being recruited as a defensive player – d line and linebacker,” Milton-Jackson said. “Most schools see me as a defensive end. Others see me as a stand-up defensive end or outside linebacker.”
“My first offer was from Concordia-St. Paul,” Milton-Jackson continued. “My second offer was from Southwest Minnesota State, and I just recently got an offer from St. Thomas. I have had interest from Bemidji State, Wisconsin-Whitewater, and Sioux Falls. I have been to a game day visit and an unofficial visit to Southwest Minnesota State. I have an official visit on Friday at St. Thomas. I have been on game day visits to Bemidji and Concordia-St. Paul.”
Schools seem to know if Milton-Jackson commits to their school, they are getting the whole package.
“They say I am an athletic player, but I am good academically. They think I am a nice kid.”
Milton-Jackson is the full package – on and off the field.