It's no secret that the Utes need skilled defensive backs in their program right now. Saturday's loss to Oregon State showed a glaring weakness on this Utah team, an area that the Ute coaches are trying to address on the recruiting trail this year.
Demarlon Morris, a 6'0" 185-pound ball-hawking corner currently at Mesa Community College in Arizona, is one of their primary targets and a player the coaches believe could step in and contribute immediately.
Morris is originally from the windy city hailing from Julian HS in Chicago, Illinois. A non-qualifier out of high school, DeMarlon decided to play JUCO ball at Mesa CC in Arizona to work on his game while also working on his education. Because of his Midwest background he initially had eyes for the Big Ten, especially after landing offers from Indiana and Wisconsin.
But as time has passed he says he has fallen in love with the West and says the Pac-12, not the Big Ten, is where he wants to make a name for himself.
"Originally it was all about the Big Ten for me. It's a great conference close to my home back in Chicago and it's the only place I wanted to play when I first came out here. That's changed though. The Pac-12, because it's such a passing conference, is where I think I can showcase myself the best. You go against some of the best wide receivers and best passing offenses in the country every week in the Pac-12 and if you want to go to the league that's what you want to be facing every game."
"The Pac-12 is all about speed and finesse in the passing game. I'd love to test my speed against Oregon. I'd love to play against a guy like Marqise Lee. The more I watch the Pac-12 the more I want to refine myself in that conference."
DeMarlon says he knows all about the "DB factory" reputation that Utah has and says that's one reason why the Utes are at the top of his list.
"Utah is a great situation. As a DB you want to be coached by someone who knows how to coach DB's. Coach Shah is one of the best, and he lets me know that Utah is one of the best places to be for a defensive back. I want to get to the league one day and I believe I can get there through Utah."
Morris is all about relationships and family too, which is another reason why he says Utah stands out.
"Coach Shah, he's a really cool guy. I can tell he cares about me and helping me get to where I want to be. He wants me for me. He doesn't just care about getting me on his football team. He wants me to succeed. He was the first one to offer me. He's real. He was there when nobody else was and that's real important."
Morris has been a heavy Wisconsin lean for the past few months but the relationship he has built with Coach Shah along with his new desire to play in the Pac-12 have caused a shake-up among his favorite schools.
"Wisconsin was up there [at the top] for a while, but I'm not really feeling them anymore. I won't commit until my season is over, but when I do it will probably be between Utah and Indiana. I have a great relationship with the DB coach over there (Indiana) too so right now it's between those two schools."
Morris led the city of Chicago in interceptions as both a junior and senior. He finished 9th in Conference Player of the Year voting his senior year in 2011. At Mesa CC last season he finished with 28 tackles, 13 PBU's and 4 interceptions. He'll graduate in December and will have 3 years to play 2.
Two Stand Out for Morris
Ute Zone Top Stories
UteZone Roundtable: 9/25The UteZone staff talks about Utah's big win over USC, what we've seen from the Utes so far this year and what to expect against Cal.
Ute Zone8:50 PM
Position Grades: Utah vs. USCSteve Bartle grades each position group following Utah's big 31-27 win over USC.
Ute ZoneYesterday at 1:09 AM
Video Recap: Utah vs. USCUteZone's Michelle Bodkin recaps Utah's thrilling win over USC Friday night.
Ute ZoneYesterday at 12:39 AM
Game Matchups: Utah Defense vs. USC OffenseUteZone breaks down the position matchups between the USC offense and the Utah defense in tonight's Pac-12 opener for the Utes.
Ute ZoneFriday at 9:43 AM
Dimick embodies 'Hometown Hero'Senior defensive end Hunter Dimick has truly been a "Hometown Hero" for the Utes. And his journey has been well worth the effort.
Ute ZoneThursday at 6:22 PM