Colts Hot Prospect: Safety Morris Virgil

Will Illinois safety Morris Virgil follow Kelvin Hayden onto the Colts roster? Indianapolis has shown interest in him, as you'll see below.

Question: Your teammate, Steve Weatherford, called you, "a walking success story". Tell us how your past growing up helped shape the man you've become…

Morris Virgil: Growing up I went through a rough young life and was expected to do things that most young men don't have to do growing up. I went through a time when there were a lot of things going on and I wasn't living at home and I was moving around in foster homes, so it just helped me grow up and shape the man I am today. It helped me get through some times where, when things got hard in college or things might not be going right, I just compared things to my situation in the past and it really wasn't that big a deal to me.

Q: In 2002, you were a kickoff returner as well. Did you gain enough experience there that you think it could boost your stock with NFL teams?

MV: I'm hoping so; I feel I've got not only speed but also the ability to make people miss. I'm not just a straight-ahead guy; I can move laterally and move my hips. I'm just hoping they'll recognize that I played multiple positions, I've been out there on kickoff returns and I was one of the most athletic guys on our football team and I'm willing to play different positions if asked. 

Q: What other special teams experience can you offer an NFL club, where do you see yourself fitting in?

MV: I definitely see myself playing a lot of special teams early in my career, especially kickoffs, punt block and kickoff returning. I was actually a "flyer"; the guy who runs down and covers punts for Illinois. I've watched a lot of film on special teams. They'd (NFL teams) probably like to see me in those positions early and see how I do.

Q: What type of defensive scheme did Illinois run?

MV: We ran a cover 2 concept, 14-yards off rather than 10-yards off, getting the corners more involved in the run game. 

Q: That whole switch of defensive scheme from your junior year to your senior year -- trying to pick up the cover 2 -- was that disruptive to your development or do you think it made you a better defensive back?

MV: It helped my learning process. It helped me grow a little bit to see there were different types of defensive schemes out there and different types of play calling, I think it helped me out a lot. It helped me learn some things I didn't know going into my senior year, which helped my development as a defensive back. Playing both safety spots also gave me a better feel for the game.

Q: At the pro level do you think you project better as a strong safety versus a free safety or does it really matter?

MV: I think I'll probably project more as a free safety. I can play strong safety and be good at it, but I've got the speed and athletic ability to be more of a free safety. If I'm asked to play in the box and make tackles I think I can do that. 

Q: I saw a quote where you once said, "Every time I step on to the football field I think I can make something happen." Where did that attitude and confidence come from?

MV: I'd have to say that attitude comes from my brother. I had a chance to meet one of my brothers as I was getting involved with sports and he used to always tell me that nobody could stop me on the football field. Every time I got on the field he would tell me to try to make something happen, try to get my name called and get recognized. I think that mentality just comes out in me. I want to go out there and show people what I can do to help my team win. 

Q: Morris, what do you love the most about football?

MV: I haven't had a chance to play at the NFL level, but I know I used to love coming out of those tunnels on Saturdays and seeing those Big Ten crowds, sometimes like 110,000 people in a hostile environment. I love the feel of the game. I love the adrenaline rush. I'm just hoping to continue my career playing at the next level to feel that rush and the excitement I get playing the game of football.

Q: I noticed that you had a shoulder injury your senior year, tell us a little about that and your recovery and whether you've had to field any questions about that from pro scouts so far…

MV: No, I haven't had to talk about my shoulder. I had a sprain that happened early in the season. They just wanted to be cautious about it. My development is real good on that. I did 19 reps on the 225 bench so I think it's back to where I want it to be. I'm a lot stronger now than I was in college so I think my shoulder is going to be fine. I will just go out there and be the type of player I am and not think about the injury. 

Q: I heard you had a great Pro Day. Tell us a little bit about what that experience was like for you and what you feel went well for you that day…

MV: I did my training down in Houston, Texas at Flex. I wanted to go out there and work on my flexibility, work on my hips and make sure I wasn't tight in my hips. I really wanted to work on my position drills and get better at those. Going into the Pro Day I was real focused. I was one of those guys that people had heard a lot about but they didn't have any numbers on me. I wanted to go out and show scouts that I was the real deal, I wanted to show I'm as good as some of these guys getting a lot of hype and show them I could go out there and play football.

Q: How did you do on your 40 time?

MV: I'm hearing some pretty good times, maybe in the 4.4's. I haven't heard the official times yet.

Q: At Pro Day did you have any scouts approach you or chat with you when the workouts were over?

MV: The Indianapolis Colts came up and I did some tests for them. I talked to the Jaguars and Saints. My agent made some brochures so those guys will have a copy of what I've done, some of my career accomplishments and the things I've had to go through. 

Q: When you talked to the Colts scouts, they had you do some additional workout items just for them?

MV: Yes, they had me do some tests that they said would go to about 12 other teams. I chatted with some of the other scouts that were there already. I'm just hoping those guys get a chance to come see me one-on-one, can work me out and I can really impress them then. 

Q: Do you have any personal tryouts or visits scheduled as of yet?

MV: No, but I know my agent has been hearing some buzz about me; he's talked to a couple scouts.


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