Morley Ready for Duty

Estimating the immediate impact of UT's incoming No. 1 rated recruiting class is difficult, but it's sure to be better now that No. 1 rated defensive back Demetrice Morley is fully qualified and cleared for action.

In fact, the Miami Killian High School all-American is already in Knoxville living with UT's senior DB Jason Allen, and awaiting his scholarship to go into effect.

"I'm not enrolled yet because my test scores took too long to come," Morley said during a recent interview for an upcoming, in-depth feature story in Rocky Top News magazine. "I've got everything now. I'm through the clearinghouse, I'm straight on everything. My scholarship starts at the end of May. I'm starting early summer classes in June."

At 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, Morley has the size, speed and skills to take on the best receivers in man coverage but he prefers safety and that's where the Vols have a definite need.

"They're interested in me at safety," he said. "That's what I've been playing all my life. I haven't played corner, but I know how to play corner. I know how to shut down one side of the field. At safety I can come up to cover the slot receiver and that's probably what they need."

Morley helped lead the Cougars to a 14-1 record and the Class-5A state title in Florida as a senior. He finished his senior season with 56 tackles and nine interceptions, following up on an impressive junior season in which he posted 60 tackles, two sacks, 10 tackles for losses, nine interceptions, three caused fumbles, two recoveries and four passes broken up.

His quickness, closing speed, experience and versatility could enable Morley to fit right into UT's nickel and dime coverage schemes while his remarkable talent for returning kicks could allow him shore up another area that the Vols haven't been as productive in recent years. Morley returned a kickoff for an 85-yard touchdown in the California-Florida high school all-star game and opened the second half with a 95-yard TD return to wipe out a deficit against Palmetto.

"It hasn't been discussed but when the opportunity comes or if they ask me I'm going to go out there and do it because that's what I love doing," Morley said on the subject of returning kicks. "Returning punts, kick returning that's what most of the great DBs do. They're versatile. They can return kicks, they can go out and catch the ball, they can lock down people and hit people. I want to be one of the all-around DBs."

Morley has been preparing for the 2005 campaign with personal workouts. He's looking forward to training with the team in informal workouts next month, and getting on the field next fall.

"I don't feel that much pressure," he said of coming in as the highest rated player in the nation's top ranked recruiting class. "I know that I can do it. I've got a lot to learn while scrimmaging and stuff, but it's not a lot of pressure and I can handle myself. I'm just ready to get out there and start making plays. I really want to get out there on the field, do my job and start to work."

Once Demetrice Morley starts to work for UT, the secondary is bound to work better.

Editor's Note: Read the full story on Demetrice Morley in the next issue of Rocky Top News.


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