Christian Morton Drafted by the Patriots

With the 233<sup>rd</sup> pick of the 2004 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots selected Illinois Defensive Back Christian Morton. <br><br> Bubin was the first Illinois player taken in the 2004 NFL Draft and the 14<sup>th</sup> player drafted from Illinois while Ron Turner has been Head Coach. Read more in this update from IlliniBoard.com.

CHAMPAIGN, IL - With the 233rd pick of the 2004 National Football League Draft, the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots selected Illinois cornerback Christian Morton. Morton joins fellow Illini secondary teammate Eugene Wilson, who earned a ring as a starting safety with the Patriots in his rookie season.

Morton finishes his career as a three-year starter at cornerback, ranking second on Illinois' all-time passes broken up list with 41. As a sophomore, he earned second-team All-Big Ten honors with 70 tackles, four interceptions (two for touchdowns) and 26 passes broken up. Morton also is a huge contributor in special teams. In his career, he averaged 11.2 yards per punt return with a high average of 24.4 in 2001. He also spent three years as a kickoff returner, ranking seventh in the school's record books for career yardage.

"This has been one of the longest days of my life," Morton said. "A lot of teams called and said that I would be taken with their next pick, and then it wouldn't happen. I was so happy when New England called and Coach (Bill) Belichick said 'Congratulations you're a Patriot.'

"This is just a blessing. I just have to thank God for the opportunity and now I have to make the most of it," Morton added.

On joining Wilson in New England, Morton said, "At least I know I have a place to stay now. Eugene just called a minute ago and I said 'Get my room ready.' It's going to be great with Eugene, he's been in the system for a year. I know I can trust Gino. Many guys would think that you are coming after their job, but I have known Gino for five or six years and I know I can trust him."

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