Emerging Prospect Looks Like Real Deal

Although he is relatively new to the game of football, this rising senior prospect has the tools to excite college coaches.

Miami, Fla.--One of the most impressive football campers to visit Auburn University this summer is a relative newcomer to the sport. However, that isn't going to keep Tranell Morant from becoming one of the top college prospects in the state of Florida as a high school senior.

Morant, along with his teammate and friend Eddie Ruiz, should cause major problems for opponents of Braddock High School this fall. In contrast to Morant, Ruiz is an experienced football player who has been playing the game throughout high school. Like Ruiz, Morant is attracting lots of attention from college scouts as recruit for the 2003 class that can sign next February.

At six-foot-five and 255 pounds, Morant is physically impressive. When he is coming off the corner chasing a quarterback, that is painfully obvious to anyone who gets in his way despite the fact that he is just one season beyond being a football novice.

"I have only played one year of football," Morant tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "I have played basketball for numerous years and that has helped me a lot with my footwork for football."

Morant is expected to keep south Florida quarterbacks on their toes this season.

As a junior, Morant made 48 tackles with 30 behind the line of scrimmage, including a dozen quarterback sacks. He recovered two fumbles for touchdowns. The numbers are good, but are just the tip of the iceberg for this articulate young defensive end who scored 24 on his ACT and should have no problems qualifying academically, says his coach, Frank Rojas.

"I expect them to be All-Dade players and I expect them to really shine this season," says Rojas. "People who don't know about them will know about them and they will find that you can't hide from either one."

Unknown at the start of the 2001 season, Morant made a name for himself as a junior. "I had a good season last year and I want to come back and be stronger this season," says Morant, who also averaged 15 points and 14 rebounds per game as a junior in basketball. "I wanted to open up my options and that is why I decided to play football," adds Morant. "I play center in basketball, but I am concentrating on football now."

Morant has been training in the offseason to add weight as well as his speed. He has put on 25 pounds since the end of basketball season and is currently bench pressing 315 pounds. He says his best time in the 40-yard dash so far is 4.7 and his vertical jump is 36 inches.

The defensive end was a standout performer at recent camps at North Carolina State and the University of Miami in addition to a camp at Auburn. He says the trips to college campuses were worth his time because he learned skills that will help him for his senior season. "My pass rushing skills and my speed are there," Morant says. "This year I am going to concentrate on learning to stop the run better. I am working to get stronger in the weight room."

Morant's cousin is former Florida Gator basketball star Udonis Haslem and he is friends of Taurean Charles, a prospect who Auburn recruited last year before he signed with Florida. Morant says Charles and Haslem have suggested that he be a Gator, too.

Morant says that he enjoys lining up on defense for Braddock High with his buddy on the other side of the formation. "Alongside me, I have another defensive end who is just as good as I am named Eddie Ruiz," Morant says. "He does a good job of stopping the run and pass rushing. We are going to have a good defense."

Braddock was 6-4 and missed the playoffs last year, competing in one of the more challenging regions you can find in high school football. "The competition is tough in Miami, but we are going to have a good team this year," Morant says. The big defensive end has praise for his high school. "Braddock is an awesome school academically," he says. "It is one of the largest high schools in the country with more than 5,000 students there."

Lots of colleges are recruiting Morant. "Just about everybody," he says. "My top five are N.C. State, Auburn, Tennessee, UF (Florida) and UM (Miami) and those are no particular order. I am going to take my five visits and see how it works out."


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