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Hunter Milligan, a rising senior defensive back at Collegiate, has made an oral commitment to Navy. Attending the Naval Academy was a lifelong dream, Collegiate coach Mark Palyo said.

“It’s a place that’s always appealed to him,” Palyo said.

Milligan (6-foot-1, 185 pounds) had offers from Army, Air Force, VMI and Bryant. Players like Milligan have been hurt by COVID-19, Palyo said.

If a recruit is borderline between FCS and FBS Division I, it often takes an in-person visit for the recruit to make the jump to FBS and win a scholarship offer. The player might conduct a private workout or attend a camp at the higher-level school.

But in-person recruiting has been halted since mid-March, and borderline recruits have struggled to prove themselves at the highest level.

Collegiate linebacker John Ballowe is in a similar situation, Palyo said. Ballowe has offers from Navy, VMI, Columbia and others.

Milligan has played cornerback, receiver and punt returner at Collegiate. In the final game of the 2019 season, he also served as emergency quarterback. Collegiate had already lost its starter, Nigel Williams, and its backup, Owen Fallon, to injury.

Palyo asked Milligan if he wanted to give quarterback a try. Milligan said yes, but there was just one problem. He had jammed his shoulder earlier in the game, and his left arm was strapped to the side of his body from the elbow up. While Milligan couldn’t hand off with his left hand, he could still carry the ball and throw it with his right.

He entered the game, ran the ball five times and completed a 41-yard pass. But Collegiate lost the game to St. Christopher’s, and its season ended.

Milligan’s father, Randy Milligan, is a member of the Douglas Freeman Athletics Hall of Fame. Randy played baseball and football and graduated in 1977.

ekolenich@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6109

@EricKolenich

Reporter

Eric Kolenich is a news and sports reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 2008 with a BA in English and joined the paper in 2009. (804) 649-6109

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