Elite QB Names Early Favorites

Anthony Morelli, a junior quarterback from Penn Hills Senior High School in Pittsburgh, PA, is already one of the most coveted prospects in the country. LionNews spoke with Anthony and his father about the recruiting process.

Name: Anthony Morelli
Position: QB
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 208 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.7
Max Bench Press: 295 pounds
School: Penn Hills SHS, Pittsburgh, PA

Anthony Morelli will be one of the most recruited quarterbacks in the nation this year.  The Penn Hills junior quarterback completed 78 passes in 148 attempts (53% completion percentage) for 1,880 yards and 20 touchdowns, while throwing only 9 interceptions.  He also ran for an additional 3 touchdowns.  It's not his stats, however, that have caught the eye of many big-time college football coaching staffs, it's his tremendous arm.  Morelli can reportedly throw the ball in excess of 70 yards.

"He's at a traditionally running school that produces big linemen," Anthony's father, Greg Morelli, said.  "They don't throw the ball a lot, but he's throwing the ball deep."

Morelli's ability to throw the ball deep is evidenced by the fact that he averaged over 20 yards per completion during his sophomore season.  This season, his completed passes averaged greater than 24 yards.

Anthony led the Indians to a 10-2 record this season and earned 1st Team Class AAAA Quad East All-Conference Honors.

Morelli was so impressive at last April's Nike Camp at Penn State, that Bob Johnson, father of NFL quarterback Rob Johnson and the passing instructor at the camp, invited Anthony to participate in the Elite 11 Camp held in California which showcases the best senior quarterback prospects in the country.  Since Anthony was only going to be a junior, he was invited as a "ball boy".

"That was great," Anthony said of the experience.  "They brought me out as what they called a ball boy.  Before and after every practice, I brought the stuff out and cleaned up afterwards, but as soon as I was done bringing everything out, I played the whole time."

"Bob Johnson said on the internet, Student Sports, that he was in the top 5 last year as a junior," Greg Morelli said.  "He got a lot stronger this year too.  At Penn State, he did 185 pounds 13 or 14 times on the bench press test, he's doing it 20 times now.  He also put on 10 pounds."

Morelli hopes to impress Bob Johnson again at this year's Nike Camp and get another invite to the Elite 11 camp, this time with all expenses paid.

Anthony has nearly a dozen scholarship offers already from a list of teams including Pittsburgh, Penn State, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, West Virginia, Purdue, Virginia and Ohio State.  Recruiting interest in the Pittsburgh prospect is picking up speed.  Several schools, including three head coaches, visited Penn Hills last week to express their interest.

"Last week, it was Purdue first and Michigan in the same day," Greg Morelli said.  "Then it was Ohio State and then Walt Harris came from Pitt and Rodriguez came from West Virginia all the next day."

Morelli's current top 5 include Florida State, Pitt, Penn State, Michigan and Ohio State.

"I'd like for Texas to be interested," Greg Morelli added.  "That's probably one of his top 5 or 6.  They haven't sent much.  He likes them.  He went there once as a kid and enjoyed it."

His father indicated that Anthony received a written offer from Penn State back in October.

"Tom Bradley's been in touch a lot and they invited him to the Nebraska game last year and had him down on the field with some other recruits.  Joe Paterno came over and talked to him.  He told him he wasn't going to take a quarterback and he didn't take one this year."

Pittsburgh also stated previously that they would not sign a quarterback this past February if Morelli committed to the Panthers early.  Since Morelli does not expect to make a decision any time soon, the Panthers signed quarterback Joe Flacco from New Jersey.

"That doesn't make any difference because he's going to compete.  Anthony has a lot of confidence anyway.  It's more or less where he wants to go barring maybe your Elite 11 kids.  They sort of keep an eye on each other.  Other than that, you're going to compete wherever you go."

According to Greg Morelli, Penn State is very interested and Coach Bradley has been to the school.

"I just like the atmosphere up there," Anthony said of Penn State.  "It's great, the stadium, Joe Paterno.  It's a great place up there.  I went to a lot of Pitt games last year, but I couldn't make it up to the Penn State games because we didn't have a lot of time and we have football practice on Saturdays.  I just went up there for the Nike Camp and for the [Nebraska] game.  I saw around the stadium a little bit, like where they eat and it was pretty nice.  Then we went down on the field and walked through the tunnel where they come out and that was pretty cool.  I got to talk with Joe Paterno and his son, Jay."

The Morellis plan to take several visits before any final decision is made.

"This year, we're going to hit Penn State and we're going to hit Ohio State and Michigan on a drive," said Greg Morelli.  "Michigan's going to be tough because it's 6 hours away.  They'll be unofficial visits.  He's looking forward to the 5 official visits."

Anthony is currently contemplating official visits to Florida State, UCLA and possibly Notre Dame.

"It's early and he's open-minded.  I know for a fact that he's not going to commit until next February.

"With the coaches leaving as frequently as they are, as much as you may like a coach, I think A

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