Speedy WR/DB Likes UM

When people talk about the class of rising juniors in the state of Florida, the first player that comes to mind for many of them is Pahokee running back Antoine Smith.

One of Smith's best qualities as a prospect is his speed and the ability to simply run away from people on the football field. His Miami NIKE Camp best 4.29 40-time was proof that he can run with the best of them.

In two years as a varsity starter, Smith has only been caught from behind once. The defender? Riviera Beach (Fla.) Suncoast standout wide receiver/defensive back DaJuan Morgan.

At 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, Morgan plays all over the field at the prep level, much like former teammate and Suncoast standout Devin Hester did.

When I brought up that play mentioned above to Morgan, it came as no surprise.

"Ha ha," Morgan said. "That's funny you say that because just about every coach I talked to this spring mentioned that same thing to me. Some of them also mentioned how they saw me catch Albert Dukes from Glades Central too."

Although I didn't see the Dukes play, I have seen enough of Morgan to realize he's one of the state's top prospects. As a junior last season, he threw for just over 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns and also ran for just over 500 yards and seven scores. Defensively, Morgan had three interceptions, two caused fumbles, and one defensive touchdown.

Morgan said he's going to be playing more wide receiver and cornerback this season since that's where he'll likely play in college.

"I'll be playing less quarterback," he said. "That's fine with me because I want to get myself prepared the best I can for college. Mostly everyone is recruiting me as a wide receiver or cornerback."

Morgan, who is one of the state's fastest players, also competes in track where he runs the 100, 200, and 400m. His 10.6 time in the 100m is his personal best to go along with a personal best of 21.6 in the 200m. When asked about track, he had something interesting to say.

"You know about Xavier Carter," he said. "I want to race him. He's got great pick up speed. If he ever learned how to start better, he'd be world class. He's already close and he sets the bar in this state. I'd love to race him to see how I stack up."

Morgan, whose brother Darin Haliburton plays wide receiver at South Florida, said he remains friends with Hester.

"Me and Devin are still tight," he said. "We practice sticking each other on one-on-ones and stuff like that. He's a great player and I can learn a lot from him."

As for the recruiting process, Morgan has become a main attraction for college coaches all over the country -- much like Hester was at that age.

"I got called by just about everyone I could think of in May," he said. "I was even getting calls from schools that I was like 'how do they know about me.' All three Florida schools as well as South Florida and Central Florida called, Georgia Tech, N.C. State, Iowa, Oklahoma, Ohio State, there were a bunch of them. Twelve of them have already offered me a scholarship."

So what did the Hurricanes and Morgan have to talk about?

"Well Coach Coker and their offensive coordinator came to one of my practices a few weeks ago," he said. "They're not allowed to talk to you there so the offensive coordinator called me on the phone. I ended up talking to him, Coach Coker, and Coach CJ, who coaches the receivers. They told me they like me as a wide receiver and want me to come to their camp. I'll be going there at the end of the month. They said they would like to make one more in-person evaluation before making me an offer."

Morgan said he was excited about the call because he's very high on the Hurricanes.

"Miami's got the best talent," he said. "That's what I want because I want to go someplace where the competition level's real good. I want to be around that. Miami's players find their way to the NFL too and if you look around, it's not like they're getting drafted in the 7th round and barely making it. They're getting picked in the first round, they're becoming NFL Rookie of the Years, they're becoming NFL All Pros. It's amazing and that's what I'm looking for as a recruit."

As high as Morgan is on the Hurricanes, they are currently running in second place.

"I have Florida ranked No. 1 right now," he said. "I like everything about them. I can't wait to go to their camp next month. Coach Zook came to my school and then I talked to him. I like how he told me they play their guys both ways and that I can play both receiver and corner like Kewan (Ratliff) is doing now. Plus, they've already offered me and Miami hasn't. After Florida then comes Miami, then Ohio State, then Florida State, then N.C. State, then Oklahoma and Georgia."

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