Morgan originally verbaled to OSU Nov. 16. But in late January he received word through his high school coach that OSU was pulling its offer for academic reasons. Morgan scrambled and secured a visit at N.C. State, where he was offered and quickly accepted. National signing day is Wednesday.
"I'm coming here," Morgan told The Post. "I gave Coach (Chuck) Amato my word."
The Post broke the story yesterday morning that OSU was pulling Morgan's scholarship. Bucknuts.com subsequently spoke to Morgan's mother, Margaret Edmonds, who said she was told an OSU screening committee would review Morgan's case on Saturday.
However, the Post reported that OSU again rejected Morgan's file.
It remains unclear if academics are truly to blame for why Morgan will not be signing with the Buckeyes.
Morgan reportedly holds a 3.25 GPA and scored an 18 on the ACT, marks that would more than qualify him under NCAA guidelines. But OSU may have rejected him because he does not project to be in the top 50 percent of his graduating class, a standard that has rarely been applied to football recruits.
It is no secret that space may be tight in OSU's 2004 recruiting class.
His departure leaves 22 players in this class which could number 25 or 26 on signing day. In particular, OSU is believed to be in the lead for wide receivers Devon Lyons of Pennsylvania and Dwayne Jarrett of New Jersey. Also, OSU is hoping for good news from Pennsylvania linebacker James Bryant and Wisconsin defensive end Rhyan Anderson.
Suncoast High principal Kay Carnes told The Post she and her guidance counselor were informed of the committee's decision by Ohio State recruiting coordinator Bill Conley late Saturday afternoon.
"This is the heartbreak of high school athletics, but I think the winner is going to be Da'Juan," Carnes said. "No one likes to see this happen to an athlete. I told him I will be proud of him wherever he goes, and that whoever gets him is the lucky one."
Morgan told the Post he holds no grudge against Ohio State, but is disappointed in the manner the situation was handled.
"It's just business," Morgan said. "But I feel they were less of a man for telling (Suncoast coach Jimmie) Bell (initially) and not telling me to my face.... I would have taken all five (allowed) visits if I'd known this was going to happen."
Likewise, Edmonds told Bucknuts.com she, too, was stunned by the late notice.
"We can't understand how this would happen," Edmonds said. "They said it was academics, and we couldn't buy that. It is real disappointing for them to come down to two weeks before signing day and come with this. He has met all of the criteria, but they wouldn't take him. I know his grades aren't the issue. I don't know what the real story is behind it."
This is the second time this month Ohio State has been left with egg on its face after revoking a scholarship offer due to academic concerns. Wide receiver Miles Williams of Austintown (Ohio) Fitch also had his scholarship offer revoked months after he verbaled to OSU. Williams is now poised to sign with Michigan State instead.
This is the latest episode in what has been a trying senior year for Morgan.
His house was destroyed by a tropical storm. Then, he missed his senior season after suffering injuries in a car accident. But schools did not back off on him. He had offers from Ohio State, Tennessee, Auburn, Florida and Georgia before picking the Buckeyes on Nov. 16.
Morgan, one of the state's fastest players with a 4.4-second 40 time, also competes in track where he runs the 100, 200, and 400m. His 10.6 time in the 100 meters is his personal best to go along with a personal best of 21.6 in the 200 meters. As a junior, he passed for over 1,000 yards (13 TD passes) and rushed for over 500 yards (7 rushing TDs). Defensively, he recorded 3 interceptions.
He is ranked as Florida's No. 51 prospect overall by SuperPrep.