The Carrollton Trojans are a blue-blood type football program in Georgia. Year in and year out, Carrollton puts a product on the field that is going to contend for the state championship while churning out top tier talent. The next superstar for the Trojans already has two years under his belt as the starting quarterback, with two more to go.
MJ Morris is a 4-Star Dual Threat quarterback in the class of 2022. Morris has produced mightily during his freshman and sophomore campaigns. In the 2019 season alone, Morris threw for 2,186 yards and 20 touchdowns while completing 60.6 percent of his attempts. He also added 379 yards on the ground and 8 touchdowns and averaged 6.5 yards per carry.
All with a rather painful hip injury Morris suffered leading up to the 2019 campaign. Morris had a ligament strain that was going to require surgery but was given the option to play through the pain if he could manage.
"But with the injury which occurred during the summer, I knew I had to make a choice as to have the surgery or support my team by playing through pain. I knew I couldn’t outrun anyone or even maneuver in the pocket therefore I had to be mentally strong and make the correct reads. I think it says I’m a team-first guy, mentally strong and have a warrior mentality." - Morris on playing through injury
His head coach, Sean Calhoun, had this to say about Morris playing through such an injury:
“It answers the question about his toughness. He’s one of the toughest kids I have been around. Do you know what he accomplished and lead us to a region championship and he was named first team GACA all state and he wasn’t even 100%. That’s scary To think about what he’s going to do when he is 100%. It was a great example and testament to our players to fight through adversity, injury, pain, discomfort and still play at a high-level and still lead at a high-level.”
As for the player, one word comes to mind when you watch MJ play. Smooth. His throwing motion, his pocket awareness, and even when he pulls the ball down and takes off, it all looks effortless.
Not only does Morris have great God-given athletic ability, but he has a mind for the game and was able to talk in-depth during a recent conversation about full-field reads, pre-snap indicators, and his favorite concepts that he and the Trojans of Carrollton employ in their spread offensive attack.
Morris stated, "I like reading the whole field. We run the spread. So the quarterback has to read the entire field. I see that as my strong suit. I can read a defense in a quick, short amount of time and know where I'm going with the ball."
When breaking down one particular play, the famous high school spread play Y-Cross Morris explained without hesitation his pre and post-snap reads, in detail. He talked about the leverage of safeties presnap, the depth alignment and the aggressiveness of the front side corner. Morris then expounded upon the progression reads of the play.
Starting off with looking at a choice of throwing the go route, being run by the outside receiver, and the speed out, being run by the inside receiver on the play side, and subsequently taking what is there based on the cornerback's alignment and reaction. If that's taken, then move to the Y's climbing crossing route coming from the backside (Y is the tight end in spread offenses), and finally to the dig route by the outside receiver on the backside if all other routes are covered.
It was clear that he enjoys the little things that makeup quarterback play on Friday nights.
Morris's affinity for full-field reads and wide-open spread offenses in the past would be something that could possibly put Georgia at a disadvantage in his recruitment. However, with the hiring of Todd Monken as the offensive coordinator at UGA, it appears that the philosophy of the two parties could be aligning.
Morris indicated that he and Todd Monken, who is MJ's main recruiter on the Dawgs staff, had a lengthy and productive conversation during his time in Athens recently. On Monken, Morris stated, "I feel like our relationship is developing well. Toward the end of my official visit, me, my mom and Coach Monken went into his office and had a really good, probably 20 or 30-minute conversation. It was really good. He's the main one I've been keeping in contact with."
Also, despite being labeled a dual-threat, it's clear with Morris's knowledge of his team's offense and his ability to deliver the ball down the field, that getting things done inside the pocket is his first priority and one would think that would mesh well with a play-caller like Todd Monken, given the history of Georgia's new offensive coordinator.
MJ Morris Sophomore Highlights:
However, the dual-threat label, despite Morris's desire to beat opponents from the pocket first and foremost, is well warranted. Time and time again when watching the film of MJ, you'll see him pull the ball on a zone-read play and just glide his way through the opposing defense. He's the type of runner that defenses never seem to get a clean shot on and. Again, it seems effortless.
When asked how closely he would be watching Jamie Newman this fall, should he win the starting job for Georgia as expected, Morris responded, "I'm definitely going to be watching to see how they use him in that offense. See how we are both dual-threats, I could be used in the same way. When I was talking to Coach Monken, he said something that made a lot of sense. He said that the days of just a tall, statue type quarterback are over. Most colleges want dual-threats and guys who can make plays outside the pocket."
Speaking of other quarterbacks, Morris knows that wherever he goes that there will be competition for playing time. Having Carson Beck on the roster and Brock Vandagriff currently committed in the 2021 class does not deter him from Georgia at all.
MJ has fun playing the game with his friends that he's been with at Carrollton for a while, but he also possesses a tremendous work ethic and seemed confident in his abilities and his chances of competing with any quarterback, regardless of school or class. After all, Tennessee has just brought in a highly touted Peach State product of their own in the 2020 class in Harrison Bailey and Alabama has Bryce Young, the number one ranked dual-threat quarterback in the 2020 class. So, it's understood that competition is going to be everywhere.
Lastly, Morris shed some light on his relationship and conversations with Kirby Smart. Morris indicated that Smart came across as genuinely interested in him and his family as people. "It was a getting to know me better type of conversation. He definitely talked about how he wants me to be a part of Georgia and told me many of the things that Georgia has to offer, but he took a lot of time to get to know me and my Mom better," said Morris of his talks with Smart.
Morris also mentioned, "They (Georgia) really push academics first. The entire visit they always mentioned academics, and you know my Mom loved that! But, that's a big thing, because they talk a lot about life after football and if football doesn't work out, then, when you go to Georgia you always have something to fall back on."
Morris indicated that Georgia is definitely one of the schools recruiting him the hardest, along with Florida State, Alabama, Penn State, Michigan, Oregon, and Auburn. The Carrollton quarterback would like to start narrowing things down sooner rather than later and definitely wants to be committed before his senior football season rolls around. Expect to see many red and black-clad coaches and staffers making their way across the state this fall to watch Morris in person. He's got all the tools and will be a huge in-state target and priority for the Dawgs going forward.
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