Most of his headlines in McKinney (Tex.) this fall have been for playmaking with the football on offense or special teams. Despite only playing half each of his first two games with some dehydration issues, Eddie Morgan has seven touchdowns in the first four games of McKinney High's 2006 season - four rushing scores plus two receiving and one on a punt return. His punt return average is over 30 yards, and after early kickoff returns of 42 and 64 yards, opponents have stopped kicking to him.
But what bridged the gap between Stanford having interest and Stanford tendering a scholarship offer came in Game Three of Morgan's senior season. In their homecoming game against Richardson (Tex.) high, the Lions' leading tackler recorded an incredible 20 tackles. It took just one week for that film to be sent to The Farm, reviewed and followed with a phone call last Monday night.
Ironically, it was not the first offer Morgan received on the phone that night.
"I had just gotten off the phone with Air Force 10 minutes earlier. They had offered me a scholarship," Morgan remembers. "When Stanford offered me, I knew right away that I wanted to take it. I had no hesitation."
The McKinney man committed to the Cardinal on the spot, giving Stanford its fifth verbal commitment of the 2007 class and their first for defense. The 6'1" 187-pound athlete will play safety at Stanford.
Though Morgan's story made for a surprise to many Stanford fans, his recruitment stretched back to the early spring.
"When I first heard from Stanford, it was like, 'Wow. I never thought I could play at Stanford,'" he describes. "Then the more I was talking with them and the more I did research, I really liked what they were all about. The Pac-10 likes to throw the ball a lot, which is good for DBs. And Stanford has a great education."
There are a few surprising dynamics with Morgan's commitment, which bubble to the surface upon examination:
- The McKinney High School senior did not jump hastily on the night of his first scholarship offer(s). He actually corralled an earlier ride from an ACC schools but held off. "Duke offered me a month or two ago," Morgan informs us. "I thought about it but wanted to wait for Stanford."
- The Lone Star State recruit pulled the trigger for Stanford despite not yet having taken any visit to the campus. It is rare but not unprecedented for a recruit to do so, and we see it once or twice a year in Cardinal recruiting, though more typically that happens for offer-less prospects later in the cycle. "I've seen pictures and I've researched all about it," Morgan says of his sight-unseen commitment. "I'll take my official visit out there on December 9. I'm sure I'll like the campus."
- Though he reports a 4.5 weighted GPA at McKinney (3.7 unweighted), the senior student-athlete has work to do on his standardized test score and has yet to be admitted to the school. Interestingly, all five of Stanford's current public verbal commits are in the process of applying and to our knowledge have yet to be admitted. Like the four that came before him this year, Morgan felt confident in his college choice as well as his prospects for Stanford admission. "I'm writing all the essays right now. I'm almost done with that. That's the big part," he details. Morgan is taking English, precalculus, anatomy & physiology, government & economics and AP psychology in his senior year. He will take the SAT on October 14 for the first time since his sophomore year, when he scored a 1060. "I'm pretty sure I've gotten a lot smarter since then," he chuckles.
- Morgan was a sleeper with little reported on his recruitment, but he has some measured athletic ability that will impress. At the Texas A&M Nike Camp last April, he ran what he considered a disappointing 4.6 in the 40 and had it scratched. Even if he cannot run the 4.5 that he claims is his ability, 4.6 is far from discrediting for a safety. More remarkable, though, was the 3.94 shuttle time Morgan recorded at the combine. That speaks to his lateral quickness and tied for second best at the talent-laden combine.
- Finally, there is the timing of Morgan's commitment relative to Stanford's on-field difficulties. The Cardinal are young, injured and most importantly winless. He pulled the trigger with "no hesitation" despite Stanford sitting on a then 0-4 record. How did he feel comfortable committing to a program that is in the thick of a troubled season? "It's the education," Morgan remarks. "It's the statistics of how many people come out of college and play pro football. Injuries happen. Stanford is one of the greatest educations you can find. If football somehow does not work out, you can come out and still make money." Morgan says he plans on studying pre-med in college and aspires to be a pediatrician.
While the commitment was celebrated news during an otherwise sour September, some cynics might question the type of desire a recruit might harbor and the type of player he will become if he willingly pulls the trigger while watching a school struggling like Stanford is currently. Morgan bristles at such notions and wants the world to know that he committed to the Card for more than just an elite diploma.
"I'm going there to play football. That's the main reason," he proclaims. "I want to play at Stanford. I want to show that I'm a playmaker. I think that I can play as a freshman and make an impact. I want to show that I'm supposed to be there and deserve this offer."
Apparently his attitude on the phone is as aggressive as his defensive play on the football field. That's what people like about Eddie Morgan, which we're starting to figure out.
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