Ruiz has played football for a long time. Quite the contrary for Morant. Coaches begged and pleaded with him to come out for football. You see, he is the school's basketball star. Last season as a junior, he averaged 15 points and 14 rebounds. "We finally convinced Tranell to come out for football last season and he only played in about six games," said Coach Rojas. "I think he now loves it. Tranell is just a natural out there. We were worried about the contact but he loves to mix it up out there. He is very raw and has great upside. Tranell has a gigantic wing span and long arms."
Morant is now 6-5.5 and 251 pounds. He has gained 25 pounds since coming out for football last season. Morant is starting to spend time in the weight room and seeing the hard work make a difference. He should be light years better this season compared to last year.
"I am really concentrating on football now," said Morant. "Everything has comes pretty easy for me. I have played basketball my whole life and I have great footwork. That has really helped me out with football. I think I am a natural athlete at most things I do. I have always loved contact whether it is in basketball and we are banging down low, or out there in football. I am also quick off the line, I have long arms and I can jump (36" vertical jump). I am excited for this season and to be playing with a guy like Eddie. He has really helped me out."
Said Ruiz, "Tranell has really taken a lot of pressure off of me because he has turned out to be such a good player. I am trying to teach him like the coaches are. Now he is the man and he pushes me hard. We have a great competition between us."
Morant wants to break Willie Jones' sack record this season. But Ruiz may have something to say about that. "He may do it, believe me, but I am not going to make it easy for him. I am going to get my speed down to the 4.5, 4.6 range this season. I am a good pass rusher and quick off the ball. Plus, I am strong. I love the competition."
In regards to recruiting, both players have unofficially visited Miami this spring for Hurricane football practices. And both players would love to stay home and play for the hometown National Champs, especially Ruiz.
"If Miami offered me tomorrow, I would commit on the spot," proclaimed Ruiz. "The city of Miami is the greatest place to be and it is home. Plus, they are the champs. If it doesn't work out, that it OK too because there are a lot of great schools out there were I can get a great education. Florida and Florida State would be great places to go to school as well. I am also looking at academic schools like Northwestern, Stanford and Notre Dame."
Said Morant about his recruiting, "Miami, Florida, LSU and Kansas are showing the most interest in me. I would love to stay home and play football at Miami but I am not scared to leave. Sometimes I think it might be better. I just want to find a place where there is great competition because I think I can make it to the next level."
Morant's cousin is former Florida Gator center (basketball) Udonis Haslem. He is also very good friends with Florida signee Taurean Charles. "They both want me to go to Florida and are recruiting me pretty hard. We will have to see what happens."
In the meantime, Braddock High School has two super defensive ends that mean double trouble for their opponents.