Narduzzi, head coach of the University of Pittsburgh, put his credibility on the line for his former player. The Clemson Tigers had five players selected in the 2021 NFL Draft, but Narduzzi's Panthers led the ACC with six.
Narduzzi joined his longtime friend, Hondo Carpenter, on the "Pritch & Clay" morning show. Carpenter, Editor and Publisher of Sports Illustrated's Raider Maven, co-hosts on Raider Nation Radio (LINK TO LISTEN LIVE) Mondays.
Carpenter had been with Narduzzi in Pittsburgh several times and had met Morrissey. Narduzzi discussed in depth what the Raiders are getting out of Morrissey.
"I just think he's a natural born leader. He's a connector of people--he knows everybody's name in our buildings, he's one of those guys who really resonates leadership and besides his athletic ability on the field, his intelligence as a center and identifying blitzes and fronts. You know I think he's every quarterback's dream," Narduzzi said on what kind of player Morrissey is.
The Raiders selected Morrissey with their seventh-round pick, 230th overall, in last weekend's NFL draft. Morrissey was as a former walk-on at Pitt, so Coach Narduzzi had a good chance at evaluating him during their camps. They liked the guy; they saw how he worked his tail off, he did everything they asked him to do, and he won a spot on the team, earned a scholarship, became a starter, and was voted a team captain.
"Yeah, you know he loves the game of football, I mean the kid loves to play football. He loves to be in meetings and I think that's where it starts. Some of these guys do want to just make money and make a living out of it. This guy wants to play football. He wants to play at the highest level he can, he wants to go out there and start on Sunday. He's got a dream, he's gonna fulfill it, he's got goals he's going after. And I don't know if the guy could be denied," Narduzzi said of Morrissey being on a mission to fulfill his NFL dreams.
Coach Narduzzi was more impressed by Morrissey's ability to point out and identify everything the defense was doing, and go back to his offensive line to make the adjustments needed.
"I don't know how many centers do that. He's a student of the game. I don't know another guy who understands the game like he does, I really don't. He'll come in there, and be able to snap to a quarterback under center and shotgun snap, he can do it all," Narduzzi said of how intelligent his former player is.
It was an easy sell for coach Narduzzi, putting his credibility on the line for a player he believes to have so much upside and potential in the NFL.
"He's a (Jon) Gruden type guy; this guy is a grinder like Gruden. He's tough. Gruden will love this guy in his offense and on his offensive lines. But you know, I'm never gonna put my name on somebody I don't believe in," Narduzzi said on putting his reputation on the line for a player he believes will have success in the next level.
At Pittsburgh, Coach Narduzzi's football team had six of his players selected in the 2021 NFL draft, most in the ACC. Morrissey was among one those six picks.
Coach Narduzzi knows with the Raiders drafting him, they will be getting a grinder who has proved it once and is on a mission to fulfill his dreams in the NFL.
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