Morrison with Something to Prove

Putting up nine TD's and with an average of eight yards a carry wasn't enough for D-I teams searching for a running back to offer James Morrison a scholarship. Sure, he got compliments on his game film but that's where the recognition ended. The local walk-on from St. Mary's HS has been one of the most impressive players in camp, and so far ASU has been cashing on the mistakes of others.

With 87 yards on ten carries, Morrison was the surprising star of ASU's scrimmage on Tuesday. "It felt real good to come out here with the team and show what I can do," said Morrison. "It gave me the confidence that I can do this every practice, every scrimmage no matter what."

Morrison hurt his knee (tore a meniscus) early in his senior year which limited his reps, and on top of that had a fractured foot later in 2007. There were even more obstacles that hindered Morrison when it came to recruiting. "The Wing-T scheme did require a lot of getting around the corner and that's not what I like to do," Morrison explained. "I had a couple of big games but my stats weren't as good as other names like Ray Polk and Covaughn Deboskie. My name really didn't get out there because of stats."

Arizona State's Head Coach Dennis Erickson went on record saying he was surprised the Morrison, who tallied 800 rushing yards as a senior never got a scholarship offer. The running back, who has successfully rehabbed his injuries, views the situation from a different angle. "I wasn't surprised, but I held a grudge ever since that I didn't get a lot of recruiting help from my coaches and stuff like that," said Morrison. "I just said ‘I'm gonna do what I gotta do to get where I need to get.' If I had to walk-on somewhere I'm gonna show everybody that I can play at this level."

Morrison did attempt to walk-on to he University of Arizona at the same time he tried to joining their archrival. He indicated that ultimately felt more comfortable at ASU, mainly because that the Wildcats didn't show the same interest in him, as he did with the Wildcats. Yet, he doesn't hold a special grudge for that school. "I'm holding a chip on my shoulder for every school (that didn't show interest)," he stated.

The decision to come ASU became a no-brainer for the running back. "It was pretty easy because I didn't wanna go to a smaller school," said Morrison. "I talked to a lot of smaller schools, like D-II and D-III and JUCO. But my family and coaches, they told me that I'm D-I potential, so why settle for less? It's (ASU) close to home; I felt good with the coaches and had a good relationship, so I came here."

"I always liked them and when Erickson came around it turned the whole program around. Why not come play for him?"

The most notable attribute Morrison brings to the table is his physicality. At 5-11 220, Morrison has been seen bowling over some ASU defenders with great success. Nonetheless, he sees himself as a more versatile player. "I'm not just a bruiser," he claimed. "I can get outside. I have a little speed. It's kinda like, pick your poison? What do you wanna do? I like the physical style. A lot people don't have it over here."

Every time Morison touches the ball, he's just worried about proving people wrong. Being snubbed by several schools is all he needed to fuel his motivation tanks and the Sun Devils have been reaping the benefits.

Naturally his play has brought up the question of whether he should be redshirting, if he can find a way to be a contributor on special teams and if he's deserving of probably a higher seed on the running back depth chart.

"I'm not worried about that right now," said Morrison. "I'm just worried about coming here and working hard, and what ever happens, happens."

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