Playing with the Dealt Hand

Although their high school football team isn't a work of art, juniors Joseph Morgan and Devante Wright have done their part to perform up to their capabilities. With a bunch of FBS schools showing interest, the friends' work ethic is starting to pay off.

MADISON - There are many factors that high school kids rely on to help get their recruitment started in the right direction.

In addition to the obvious traits (natural talent, coachable, good character), a prospect usually needs to be on a solid high school team, playing on a cohesive offense or defense that helps showcase their raw talent.

Junior running back Joseph Morgan and junior cornerback Devante Wright have the talent. Unfortunately, there school does not.

"We ain't the best team," Morgan told Badger Nation with a laugh, "but we're working on it."

Changing to a spread offense at Lower Richland High School, located in Hopkins (SC), the Diamond Hornets finished 4-7 in 2008, including losses in four of their last five games.

"Even though we lost a bunch, our motto is still hard work," Wright said. "We are a real young team, which can be good because a lot of people don't know about us. We can surprise some people that aren't ready for us."

While the team is still young, Morgan and Wright have been working hard to make themselves rise above the rest of the pack, not only to get their first scholarship offer, but to bring some respect to their team.

Despite missing time at the end of last season because of an ankle sprain, Morgan was able to rush for over 1,100 yards and 13 touchdowns, getting reported interest from Clemson, North Carolina, Princeton and Wisconsin.

Only 5-foot-7 and 161 pounds, Morgan put up good numbers at the Scout.com Chicago Combine, turning in a 4.6 40-yard dash time, 4.78 short shuttle time, a 7.49 on the three-cone and a 9-4 on the broad jump, all on a windy day

"I know I am not the biggest back, but I have good vision and I am quick on my feet and have good hands," Morgan said. "I was born with my quickness and my explosion. I feel like I am improving everyday."

Lauded by his head coach, JW Montgomery, for being able to attack the middle against a spread defense, Morgan claims to have gotten the skill running the base paths playing baseball, a sport that he had to give up to concentrate on football.

"My speed comes from playing baseball," Morgan said. "I played it when I was younger and always had to cover a lot of ground, but I liked being a running back more. My brothers play baseball, but I am the football guy."

While Morgan was honing his skills on the base path, Wright was always on the football field, practicing his cuts and his footwork in order to be a better cover receiver.

"It's all about practice," Wright said. "I do a lot of drills with back pedaling and cone drills. With some better and footwork, I could get some good offers."

Getting recruited by the same schools as his teammate, Wright (5-foot-10, 179 pounds) turned in some similar numbers to Joe in the combine - a 4.74 40-yard dash time, 4.69 short shuttle time, a 7.71 on the three-cone and a 9-8 on the broad jump.

Playing a share of cornerback and running back for Lower Richland, Wright had 36 tackles and four picks last season.

"I love to cover players," he said. "I am our team's shut-down corner and that's a big deal to me. My coach always tells me to enjoy the challenge and I do."

Many athletes have overcome a poor high school team to make to the next level. With their talent and determination in check, both Morgan and Wright are confident that they will get that opportunity to shine.

"We're confident in each other that we can get an offer and compete at the next level," Morgan said. "That's been the main thing that's been pushing us – the chance to play college football."


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