Christian Morgan (2 games from JR season) (via 247SportsStudio)
Tight end has long been the position that has frustrated Texas fans the most. Texas' lack of production at tight end has conjured up a curse, and hatched numerous theories. It begs the question, is Texas snakebit at tight or have they not recruited the right players? It's too early to tell if Prestonwood Christian Academy's Christian Morgan could be the answer, but he can help Texas. I'll explain why in my scouting report, and I also interviewed Morgan. BONus: Some Julius Randle news. More after the jump.
Prestonwood is a friendly place, especially if you're a Texas fan. Cameron Rupp's image is plastered on the facade of Lions Stadium. PCA politely boasts 3 TAPPS Football State Championship, including the past two titles, and impressive athletic facilities.
PCA lost a tough one in overtime to 2010 TAPPS State Finalist Fort Worth Nolan Catholic 35 -28. Nolan Catholic went on a 17-0 run in the second half to steal one at Lions Stadium. The two foes could very well see each other again in the TAPPS State Playoffs.
When Bruce Chambers popped up at a PCA game to check out 2013 TE / DE Christian Morgan, I knew I had to get out to West Plano to see the junior recruit. I was introduced to Morgan via Twitter by the Recruitocosm guys. I haven't come across a more polite and accommodating athlete than Morgan.
Christian Morgan (#6), Becca Earhart Photography
Position: TE / H - back / DE
High School: Prestonwood Christian Academy
Weight: 240 pounds
40 time: 4.7 seconds
Shuttle time: 4.4 seconds
Max bench: 300 pounds
Power clean: 240 pounds
Let me begin by saying that Morgan was battling a illness during the Nolan Catholic game. I'll respect his privacy and not divulge anything further. Basically, it's something that most athletes wouldn't want to play through. I respect his toughness battling through the illness and playing a majority of the defensive snaps for PCA. His team needed him and he answered the bell.
As with every private school recruit, level of competition is a concern. PCA played Celina earlier in the season and lost by one point. The Lions could beat many good Texas 3A teams and most average 4A teams. They went nose to nose with the Celina, a team likely to challenge for the 3A state title this year.
Strengths: Morgan's size jumps out at you. I talked with Morgan after the game, and his height and weight are legit. He's a very lean 240, there's plenty of room on his frame to pack on muscle. I think Morgan could easily play at 260 pounds at the next level. Morgan carries his weight well, and has good muscle development. He is a physical player who uses his leverage well, and is a smart, fundamentally sound player.
He moves well for his size, and gets upfield quickly. It's rare that players his size catch screens and quick slants. He's not a burner, but he can run away from linebackers, and his size causes match up problems against DBs. He is extremely well conditioned, and normally plays a majority of PCA's snaps on offense and defense.
Christian Morgan (#6), Becca Earhart Photography
Offense: Morgan played mostly at H - back on offense. PCA is a spread oriented offense, so Morgan often lines up in the slot or out wide. However, PCA's Parker Ash was out with a concussion and Morgan was needed in the backfield for protection. Morgan had only one target which he turned into an eight yard catch. He makes a good target for his quarterback, looks the ball into and his hands and then gets upfield immediately.
His strength is as a blocker. He brings his hips, and has a good punch on his blocks. On a play to his side, Morgan drove his man out of bounds on a block. Blind Side style. Very impressive. I would have liked to haven seen him targeted more, but Morgan didn't play much offense in the second half.
He has versatility to play with his hand on the ground, split out wide, in the slot or at H-back. He excels as a blocking tight end. He has excellent football intelligence. I saw him help make offensive line calls on one play, and he helped his teammates get into place throughout the game.
Christian Morgan (#6), Becca Earhart Photography
Defense: PCA's base defense is a 4-3. Morgan played exclusively at DE on defense on both rushing and passing downs. He finished with 6 tackles and some quarterback hurries. He sheds blocks well and knows how to use his hands. Nolan Catholic tried to block him low several times, and he used his hands to knock the blocker down and get into the backfield. Good fundamental plays.
Morgan's most impressive defensive moment came when he took on a lead blocker while getting his hands on the ball carrier. He was strong enough to bring ball carrier down the ball carrier with one hand for a 2 yard loss.
I expected Morgan to better against the run than against the pass, but I liked his pass rushing ability. If Morgan was 100%, I think he would have gotten some sacks early. With his size, Morgan can cause serious problems for a quarterback by getting into the passing lanes. He has a good first step, good swim moves, and closes quickly. Against the running game, I wanted to see more tackles for a loss, but again he was dealing with an illness.
When Nolan Catholic ran it right at Morgan he held his ground well. I could tell he was gutting it out, and unfortunately the extra gear I saw on film was missing on Friday night. I respect his mental toughness. He's a gamer.
Areas for improvement: On defense, Morgan got sucked into the backfield a few times on zone reads and draws. I'd like to see better instincts and anticipation of the play. He could have stayed home on a few zone reads, Nolan Catholic's QB was clearly reading Morgan, and when he saw him rushing, he handed it off, resulting in a few productive runs. He never played himself out of a play, but a few times he had to chase the play down and ride the ball carrier down.
Outlook: He certainly didn't say it, but the consensus is that Morgan would commit to Texas if offered. He comes from a Texas Family, two of his uncles and his mother are UT graduates, and he definitely follows the team. Morgan has attended many Red River Rivalry games with his family, and of course sat on the Texas side.
In Harsin's offense, he needs a blocking TE / H -back do a lot of the dirty work, primarily blocking. I didn't see Morgan miss a block all night. He doesn't whiff on his blocks. He is also versatile enough that he could be pass catching threat. I think with his size he could a threat over the middle. He won't stretch the field like Derrick Griffin or Ricky Seals - Jones, but he's a big target that moves well.
Morgan is the best blocking in state 2013 TE, and would be an upgrade over almost all of the TEs currently on the Texas roster. I like his lunch pail attitude, toughness, athleticism and size. Is this something Texas might be interested in? I would say so. I don't think Morgan is a lock for a Junior Day invite, but I feel pretty good about him getting a Texas offer by the end of the Spring Evaluation process. His film before his illness is excellent. I hope Morgan can get back to 100%, and give the Texas coaches some good junior film to look at.
Interview with Christian Morgan:
Hey Christian. Tough loss last night. The team was definitely missing QB Parker Ash. It was nice to meet yourself and your mother.
BFLT: I'm glad to hear you're feeling better. I could tell you were grinding through your illness last night. Typically how much offense do you play for PCA? How many total snaps do you play a game at PCA?
Morgan: Yes it was tough. I started to feel better through the end of the third and early fourth, but I normally play about 75% of the offensive snaps. Our offense is so spread oriented that they have a lot of formations that I'm not in. Although, through about four games I was split out wide and in the slot.
Can you talk a little bit about playing both offense and defense. What are the challenges and benefits of being a two way player?
I just want to do whatever helps my team win. It's killer, especially being sick but I'd say it helps me gain a better understanding of everything that is going on on the football field. The challenges are just being mentally prepared for every opponent, scouting the whole team, and just the time on the field. If your not ready for it, it will kick your butt.
I noticed that you lined up a H - back some last night, do you usually line up more at H-back or at tight end in a 3 point stance?
I line up all over the place. I don't think our coaches have really figured out how they want my position to look and how they want to use me. I split out some games, and some games I'm in a three point stance. Like last night I was primarily the H - back
I know you had a excellent performance at an Auburn camp this summer. Did you attend any other camps over the summer?
I attended the Oklahoma, Texas, and Auburn camps.
I've read Auburn is very interested in you, how often do you talk with the Auburn staff? Which coach is recruiting you from Auburn?
I don't really talk with them that much, but my position coach is good friends with most of them. He talks to them all the time. He played for Coach Chizik at Stephen F. Austin and Coach Luper. Coach Luper is primarily my recruiter from auburn.
I've read in interviews that your mother and uncle both went to Texas. Are there any more Texas connections in your family?
Both my uncles went to Texas and so did my mother. I was definitely raised a Longhorn. One of my uncles was a Texas Cowboy, I think its called. The guys that shoot the cannon. Haha.
What contact have you had with the Texas coaching staff? I know Texas TE Coach Bruce Chambers was at your game against John Paul II. Have you heard anything from Texas since then?
It talked to him when he came to school and then i just started communicating with Coach Applewhite on Facebook.
What position is Texas recruiting you at? Do you have a position preference?
I assume as a tight end. They haven't really specified too much. I'll play wherever the put me.
I saw that you are an unofficial visitor at the SMU - TAMU game, and you were at the OU - Texas game. To clarify were you a guest of Texas at the Red River Rivalry?
No i wasn't. I didn't really push the issue and I just wanted to relax with my family
What did you think of Texas' performance against OU?
I think they have a lot of potential and a lot of young talent. This is just OU's year.
Are you close to any players currently on the Texas roster, or any recruits considering Texas?
I played basketball on the same club team as Jackson Jeffcoat growing up even though he was a few years older. He's real good friends with one of my friends and we all were supposed to go to lunch this summer, but never got the chance.
I know you're tight with Plano West LB Mike Mitchell. Y'all played together at PCA before he transferred. What kind of player is Mitchell? Have y'all discussed playing together? He recently popped up on Texas' radar. I really like what I've seen from him. I'll catch him live at Plano West's last home game in November.
Mike is just an absolute freak athlete, I can go through so many stories of just saying "wow" when he did things. We haven't really gotten a chance to discuss any recruiting stuff. I'm sure we will though.
Y'all had a close loss to Celina earlier this season. What did you think of Jake Raulerson?
Jake and I are really good buddies, and he's a beast. We always have fun competing with each other and it was a fun game to be a part of even though we came up on the losing end. Jake is a great guy.
You said last night you'd like to hear more from the Texas coaches, what have you discussed with the Texas coaches? Is Bruce Chambers the only Texas coach recruiting you? Have they mentioned anything about bringing you in for a Junior Day in February?
I haven't really discussed much of anything with them to be honest. It's just been so hectic. Like i mentioned before, I'll probably be talking to Coach Applewhite more. They haven't discussed that (a Junior Day invite).
I see from your email address that you might the Longhorn Network. Do you have the Longhorn Network? As a recruit considering Texas how has the Network affected you?
I do have it. My mom and I joke all the time that she could turn on the TV and see how I'm doing in practice. Haha. I think it'd be really cool, but I don't think it has much of an effect as far as choosing one school or the other.
Which schools are recruiting you the hardest?
There's a few. I'd say Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Baylor, Arizona State, Iowa, Auburn, Alabama, LSU, Oregon, Michigan, Notre Dame, UCLA, and Stanford. There's some more I'm forgetting.
Have you received or been promised any scholarship offers yet?
Not yet. A few different schools have talked about offering me they said they're just being patient. Iowa, Texas A&M, Baylor, Arizona State, and Stanford are probably the closest to offering.
What's most important to you when choosing a school?
I'd say just a comfort level with everything. The coaches, but you never know if they're still going to even be there. I just want to be comfortable and happy in the environment.
What are your goals for the rest of the season?
I don't think I have any personal number goals or anything. I'd like to get healthy that's for sure, but I just want to win state again.
My readers would be upset with me if I didn't ask you this. Do you have any idea what college Julius Randle is leaning towards?
Haha Julius is my boy. He's coming over today actually I'll be sure to ask him. Haha, but he's pretty hush hush about it. Besides I cant sell out on my boy. He's the reason I quit basketball.
Christian I'm glad to hear you were at the Texas summer camp in June. There's always some confusion around which recruits attended which camp. Did any of your friends or teammates attend the Texas summer camp with you?
No, most of my teammates were just in the off season program at PCA.
On positional preference, do you enjoy playing TE or DE more? You played some OT last year. What are you thoughts on possibly playing OT at the next level?
I feel like I could play TE or DE. I like having the ball in my hands as far preference, but just playing in college would be enough for me. I'd prefer not to play tackle, but if that;s what it took I'd be more than willing to do it.
Do you feel that playing defense has made you more physical on offense?
For sure. I think the attitude that you have to play with on defense definitely helps me in all aspects. You have to be fired up to play defense and that aggression helps me on both sides of the ball.
Did you watch the Texas game yesterday? What are your thoughts on the game?
I did watch. I was really impressed with how they played. I honestly thought they weren't going to be able to hang with them (Oklahoma State), but they played well and showed why they have so much potential. I was surprised (Case)McCoy didn't see any play time.
Again it was very nice to meet your mother. You're one of the most polite student - athletes I've come across. I wish you and your family nothing but the best. Good luck with the rest of your junior season. I will certainly be watching. Stay in touch.
Thank you that means a lot and thanks for coming as well. Hope to see ya soon!
Quick evaluation on 2012 PCA WR Zach Peters:
Zach Peters (#32), Becca Earhart Photography
Peters is a Kansas Basketball commit playing football for the first time in high school. He's 6'9" 235, and is the tallest player I have ever seen playing WR at the high school level. He uses his height well, and catches the ball at the highest point. On a well thrown ball he is almost impossible to defend. He moves well for size, but certainly isn't fast. He lumbers a bit when he runs, but he has excellent agility. I saw him catch a short pass, and used a couple spin moves to gain extra yardage. For a basketball first player, he has excellent football instincts. Bill Self is getting a good one. I don't think he plays football at the next level, but he has played well in his senior season.
Julius Randle photo. Randle was at PCA's game on Friday instead of Kentucky, Kansas,Duke or UNC's Midnight Madness. Could be a small victory for Texas. Many believe Randle is the most important Texas Basketball recruit since Kevin Durant.
Julius Randle, Becca Earhart Photography
Wes, Blake and I will have the final rounds of My Guys later this week. Try to survive the bye week, a win against Kansas is coming.