Linebacker became a position under intense scrutiny for the Arizona Wildcats in 2012. With a new system, limited depth and a starter who switched over from safety, the expectations set on the unit were not high. There wasn't much depth to begin with and injuries to key contributors at the position made matters worse.
That's what makes a commit like R.J. Morgan so important. Despite not receiving the fanfare or attention some of the top-flight recruits get, Morgan is a vital piece to the future of the UA defense. The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder from Central Point (Ore.) Crater fills a need and should be able to compete for playing time relatively early in his career.
Morgan visited the Arizona campus last summer and it didn't take long for him to decide to make the Wildcats the team he wanted to represent on the football field. He fell in love with the campus and, during that visit, his discussion with the coaching staff put UA over the top.
"When I went down there for my unofficial, I finally got to see how the campus was, how the field and stadium looked and what the coaches had in store for me," Morgan said. "That was what really sealed the deal for me."
One thing that really stood out for Morgan was how the coaching staff emphasized the family atmosphere that encompasses the Arizona football program as well as the importance of getting a college education.
"They were talking about how it's really family oriented," Morgan said. "They really rely on the players to be accountable for themselves and to take responsibility for their actions and not just be there for football, but to also to be there to get an education and to help better your life after football is over."
What put the Wildcats over the top in Morgan's eyes -- in comparison to other programs that were pursuing him – was how important the players seemed to be to the coaching staff
"I think what really set them apart was how they're planning for the future – to make the school and the team better – and how the coaches are," Morgan said. "Most coaches won't be there to just coach but be there for the fame and for the money. But I feel like the coaches are there for the kids and help make the kids and the team better."
Since last summer, Morgan has kept a consistent line of communication with the Wildcats' coaching staff. During that timeframe, their relationship has blossomed and he's enjoyed how personable they have been off the field.
"It's been great," Morgan said. "I love being around the coaches and when I go down there it's the best time for me. I love being around the coaches. They are all extremely fun to hang out with. They're laid back - I'm sure they're not laid back during practice – but they're just fun to be around."
Morgan is just a two star recruit according to Scout, but that doesn't temper the expectations he has bestowed upon himself. The prospect from Crater knows there is an opportunity to make a difference early and would like to battle for playing time from the onset.
"I'm definitely going to battle for a starting position," Morgan said. "That's my goal. I'm not going there to sit down and watch the other guys play while I'm on the sidelines. I'm going there to battle for a spot and show them what I have."
Morgan was overlooked by many schools and he isn't going to forget that any time soon. He sees his ceiling as limitless and he is out to prove to the nation that he belongs at the Pac-12 level.
"I don't have any limits on what I want to do," Morgan said. "I‘m going to get there, work as hard as I can and prove myself to the whole country that I deserve that scholarship."
UA improved its win total by four in Rich Rodriguez's first season leading the program and many incoming prospects have noticed the program's improvement over such a short period of time. Morgan sees the growth continuing during his time at Arizona and wants to be a part of something special as a Wildcat.
"I definitely believe we'll see significant progress," Morgan said. "I believe we will be one of the best teams in the Pac-12 -- even the nation – and how they've recruited and all the players that are on our tea,. We all have the goal to get to the Rose Bowl and get us to the highest level. "
Morgan has no limitations
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