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During Simeon Milan’s first days at Skyline, the confidence waned a little bit while transitioning to his new school.
Skyline head coach Joe Bates knew what the senior running back and linebacker’s talents were as soon as he moved over from Oakland Tech. He saw his frame, his capabilities and what made him a formidable force in years past.
Everyone within the program welcomed him with open arms, treated him like family right away, helped him in the classroom, in sports, outside of sports. Whatever it was, Skyline was there for him.
And Milan’s confidence soared.
“We’ve been kind of like, ‘Hey, this is your job. You’re that guy. You’re the one we count in. You’re our star, you know what I mean?’” Bates said. “So I’ve seen his confidence kind of go up. He does things that’s not mandatory, so over time I can tell he was kind of like, ‘Damn, where am I at? What’s going on? But this is cool. I can work with it.’
“But then he slowly started to transition to, ‘Hey, I can damn near be a leader on this team.’ I’ve seen that.”
All of those moments and that confidence provided a reminder to Milan of who he is and who he was when he first joined the football fray.
Milan first played basketball, and after one game in football his freshman year, he knew this sport was for him.
“Just because of my size, everybody has been telling me I should play because I’ve been kind of buff with the football size, so I just decided to try it out my freshman year, and it went good,” Milan said.
At 5-10 and 215 lb., Milan is a physical specimen on the field and the perfect type of player for Skyline’s style.
He can run past people. Run people over. And he can return kicks.
“Our style of offense kind of calls for a thumper with some speed and agility, and that’s what he has, so when I’ve seen him on campus and seen his tape, I said, ‘Oh yeah, we can definitely utilize your skillset,’” Bates said. “His work ethic was a little, it was on track of what I wanted to see more.”
But Bates and Skyline see a lot more than just Milan’s physical talents.
Academics are the main priority in Milan’s student-athlete lifestyle, as he earned a 4.0 GPA as a junior.
“He doesn’t mess around,” Bates said. “He goes to class. He sits there. He has his pencil and his notebook, so he’s been an awesome asset to us, and I’m glad to have him.”
Plus, Milan understands all it takes to reach the next level.
His cousin, Daego Albert, who played high school ball at El Cerrito, is a sophomore defensive back at Northern Arizona University and knows what it takes to become a Division I and collegiate athlete.
Albert offers advice and a helping hand to Milan throughout his journey.
“He gives me workouts,” Milan said. “He basically tells him what he does wrong and what his coach gets on him for, just so when I get to that level I don’t be making the same mistakes he did.”
Milan is on the radar of numerous colleges throughout the country, but no opportunities have come about yet.
Bates said he’s one of the players he’s blasted out to schools, knowing his talent, leadership, work ethic and classroom success will boost any program he potentially joins. But, obstacles lie in the way to garner a college football opportunity, namely no senior film with the season being pushed back in California, the NCAA granting all players a free year of eligibility and 1,500 players were own the transfer portal late last month, according to a Sports Illustrated article.
The Skyline coach knows he would be a tremendous asset wherever he goes.
“I’m trying to see who will bite, but I’m really what we call in Oakland gassing him. I’m really gassing him or pushing him to these schools, like, ‘Man, this is the guy that you want on your campus. This is the guy that you want on your team,’” Bates said. “Telling these coaches what they want to hear, like, and it’s true. It’s facts. I’m not lying to these coaches, but this guy will graduate. He’s not going to be an academic risk for you.”
“As a leader and as a person I think anybody with his ability from where he’s from can go to a university and really shift the culture in a positive way or maintain the culture and add a little special seasoning to it,” Bates later added. “I think that his natural Bay Area just kind of aura, he has that thick, inner city, Bay Area aura that a lot of these universities are seeking. They call me a lot, like, ‘Man, we need some tough kids. What you got?’ And I get those calls often.
And Milan knows he will take advantage of any chance granted to him.
“I feel I could bring to a college whatever they need from me because I’ll put in the work ethic, whatever they ask, like if coach Bates needs something from me, I can get it done on defense and offense,” Milan said. “An opportunity – I’m going to just take full opportunity. I’m going to do the best I could with the opportunity.”
With his final high school campaign looming, Milan wants to go out on top.
He wants a special season at Skyline before he hopefully competes somewhere collegiately.
“To win a championship, win our league and go undefeated,” Milan said.
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