Future Coug called throwback, total package

LOS ANGELES -- Bill Powell calls him a throwback. The head coach at San Jacinto High also believes Heritage High running back Jamal Morrow, who could also play WR or CB at the next level, is one of the best he has ever seen.

"He's the total package," said Powell, whose defense "limited" Morrow to 150 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries as Heritage, located in Romoland, roughly halfway between Santa Ana and Palm Spring, rolled to a 32-6 rout in the season opener between the two teams on Aug. 24.

"He's got great vision and great speed. One of the elite backs I've seen in quite a while. I'm glad I won't have to see him next year.

"He's an outstanding kid, too. The thing I like about him is he doesn't say anything. He lets his play do the talking. You don't see that any more. I think he will fit in well with what Mike Leach is doing. I think (Washington State) is going to be a really good fit for him."

Morrow, who verbally committed to the Cougars in September, said he sensed a good vibe immediately when he hit campus on an unofficial visit.

"I just fell in love with the place and the coaching staff," Morrow said. "Pullman is a great place to be. I'm excited to play for Coach Leach. He sounds like a good guy. I haven't met him in person yet because when I took my trip, it was the same weekend of the Pac-10 media day (in Los Angeles). But I think I'll fit well into his system."

The Morrow File



Scout.com rank:
No. 120 RB in nation

This season:
On pace to break own school rushing record, averaging 184.5 yards per game. Has scored 14 TDs -- 12 on ground, one through air, one via kickoff return.

Junior season:
Rushed for a school-record 1,777 yards on 207 carries and 21 touchdowns. Also had a TD catch.

Sophomore season:
Rushed for 731 yards rushing and eight touchdowns.

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RECRUITED BY inside receivers coach Eric Morris, Morrow believes he could become a versatile performer with the Cougars, whether he is running the ball, catching it, returning kicks with it or defending it. He said WSU coaches have indicated they prefer to keep him at running back.

"I think I fit in good as a spread back," Morrow said. "I'll be able to use my abilities to my best as a runner. As far as I know, I'm supposed to play running back. But things could change. I think I'm best suited as a running back, though."

For the Patriots, who are off to a 5-1 start, he has run as well as any back in the Riverside area, which is located about 60 miles east of Los Angeles. It took Morrow, a 5-8, 180-pound senior, only five games to top 1,000 yards rushing. Overall, he has run for 1,107 yards and 12 touchdowns on 83 carries (184.5 average per game) in six outings. He also has caught a TD pass and returned a kickoff for another score.

With Heritage earning blowouts in four of their six contests, Morrow has sometimes played a little more than a half, as he did in a 52-6 romp over Perris last Friday, when he ran for 106 yards and a touchdown on only eight carries.

"He's a special kid that has innate ability that can't be coached," Heritage coach Karl Broach, who is in his sixth season at the school and the only football coach it has known. "Jamal is very quick. He's one of those guys who makes you miss. He's very strong. His lower body is like tree trunks. He's a 550 squatter, so he's very powerful.

"Jamal is one of the best all around football players I've seen. I think his skill set will transfer nicely to college. He has the work ethic and the ability. He's something special now and he will be something special in the future."

His best outing occurred Aug. 31, when he ran for 271 yards and four touchdowns on 19 carries in a 35-13 triumph of Rancho Verde of Moreno Valley. Two weeks later, he rushed for 254 yards and three touchdowns—two of those running—on 26 carries in a 35-32 setback against Great Oak of Temecula.

BUT LIFE HASN'T always been a smooth run for Morrow, who carries a 3.5 GPA and plans to study kinesiology or communications at WSU. Last June, he was forced to deal with the tragic death of former teammate Donovan Adams, who was killed in a car crash. Adams, who was only 19 and a 2011 graduate of Heritage, was like an older brother.

"He was like my mentor. He taught me everything," Morrow said. The Patriots honor Adams' memory with a No. 2 sticker on their helmets, but Morrow can't say enough about the former running back.

"Being a leader and things from that standpoint, he was a great person. The day it happened, I was on Twitter and heard someone had been in an accident. Me and one of my buddies went to the hospital to see how he was. As soon as we got there, they told us what happened. That was one of the most traumatic experiences I've had to deal with so far."

"Donovan was in the first senior class here at the school," Broach said. "His senior year was when Heritage football kind of exploded. Donovan was the senior leader and taught Jamal a lot. He took him under his wing and worked with him in the weight room. He just gave leadership that Jamal needed at the time."

Although Morrow will never forget Adams, he is focusing on his future. Broach believes WSU has landed a gem.

"Very smart kid with a terrific work ethic and a terrific family," Broach said. "Physically, some kids aren't ready to play (Division I). But I think he'll come in and contribute right away. They're going to love him up there."

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