Sam Webb: From a father’s perspective, kind of tell me about Nyles Morgan's game. Take me back through the season and tell me how he did individually.
Thomas Morgan: “He competes, he competes with the best of the best. His works with his peers, teammates, throughout the summers, he conditions, he runs, they come over to our home, they play games, they talk about football, they watch film. In terms of a complete athlete, he’s that. But he’s also a student athlete. He’s studious; a strong B-average student. He gets his work done when he comes in from school, so he’ll dedicate his time to taking care of business before he goes off to anything else. So at school, he’s a leader. He’s a leader within his own right. He really doesn’t follow the plans of his friends, or anybody else. Just his own standards and sets his goals for what he wants to accomplish on the football field, and he does it.”
“The goal that was set for making the state championship started in his mind probably as early as fall of last year when they lost against the team that they ended up beating, which is Peoria Richwoods. So along with one of the top receivers in the nation (Laquon Treadwell)… I took them to Core 6, I took them all these things that they wanted to go to to prep. They wanted to compete with not just his teammates, but kids across the country. From that, he continued to get better. He saw his weaknesses and his strengths, and saw what he needed to do to get stronger, and he worked on it. So the key now is improving. He wants to get up to 245-lbs senior year. I said, probably not in high school, maybe in your freshman or sophomore year of college, but he has this lofty goal of getting there now, so he goes down in the basement, and we have weights in the basement, so he goes down there and lifts in the wee hours of the nights, whenever he’s bored and doesn’t have much to do… he’ll weight condition.”
Sam Webb: I remember when I initially talked to Nyles in the winter he mentioned that in the winter, you guys were going to travel up to Michigan. Give me your take on that trip. How was it?
Thomas Morgan: “We really enjoyed that trip. I mean, that was our first trip. He really liked it, you know, Big House, you know, we didn’t get a chance to go to the stadium itself, but we really really liked the campus. I mean, it was good showmanship. It was all it was talked up to be, so he really like it, and we’ve gone back. We’ve gone back a second time, so he still talks about it. I know that’s one of his tops.”
Sam Webb: As far as your interaction with the coaches, kind of who have you dealt with up there, and what have your impressions been of that guy or those guys?
Thomas Morgan: “I did not meet the head coach, but I did meet the linebacker coach, and I was very impressed. They were straightforward in their dialogue, and that’s what I was looking for. They said this is what we are, this is what we’re doing, this is where we’re going, and I can appreciate that, so they talked about the team, and how the players collectively work together, and everybody supports one another. If one man falls, all the men fall. So if one doesn’t make it to class, they all suffer for their one or two people who do it. I like their approach to disciplining players, because players are growing into adulthood, they don’t have all the answers, and they at least have something established, so like their study table for making certain the kids were receiving ample support from support staff. And the fact they had all their facilities in one building, and they don’t have to go across campus to get their needs met, that was a big plus, compared to some of the other campuses we have gone to.”
Sam Webb: I know he recently received his offer from Michigan. Was that something that you guys were expecting, or did it kind of come as a surprise?
Thomas Morgan: “He kind of anticipated it, because we went to visit first. He got an offer to come up and visit, and they had kind of told us ‘we’re going to follow you throughout the season, we’re going to see how things are going’, and they said probably around that time, they would make an offer, so we anticipated it.”
Sam Webb: Did they talk to you guys about coming up on another visit anytime soon?
Thomas Morgan: “He has had some contact with the coaches, and they have invited him up again, and we just have to make it work in our schedule.”
Sam Webb: With things kind of unfolding so rapidly, have you guys kind of put together a game plan for how you want this to play out? Is he going to be waiting until after his senior season to kind of settle on a school, or is he going to try to get it done before senior season? Have you guys talked about that?
Thomas Morgan: “He’s following his mentor, as well as his peer. Laquon Treadwell, as you know, is one of the top – he is the top receiver in the nation, one of them, if not the best. We just went to a banquet last night, and he received the Player of the Year award. So (Nyles) more or less follows a lot of what he sees his mentor is doing, and he’s probably going to wait. He has some ideas of schools he really likes, in terms of top five or things like that. But that can change to the next day, so he’s probably going to wait until his senior year to come up with a solid decision. He’ll say ‘ok dad, here’s the top five, and this is where I’m at’.”
Sam Webb: In looking at Laquon’s decision making process, he recently said the schools outfront for him were Ole Miss and Oklahoma. The thing about Ole Miss is one of their former teammates is down there, so how big will that be for Nyles… where Laquon ends up, or that Anthony Standifer is down there at Ole Miss? Will that play any role at all in his decision making process?
Thomas Morgan: “Really, it’s going to come down to, I think for him, is where he thinks he’s going to get the opportunity to play. Like most kids, they’re looking at what’s the depth chart, so he’s looking at that from a serious standpoint of ‘I want to play.’ I think it’s going to boil down to where he feels most comfortable, and where he feels he’ll get the best opportunity to be treated fairly. “
Sam Webb: So about 14 offers, and I know, like you said, things can change tomorrow. You mentioned Michigan as one of his top schools, but what are some of the other schools kind of sticking out early on?
Thomas Morgan: “Notre Dame – like I said, he hasn’t taken that of this list, that’s still right there in his top. Notre Dame, Michigan, Michigan State… even Ohio State. I know for certain Vanderbilt, and he’s starting to look at Ole Miss. They made the offer to him as well.”