June 17, 2009

Miami QB confident in performances

Stephen Morris is confident, but he doesn't want to sound cocky.

However, the three-star quarterback from Miami Shores (Monsignor Pace), Fla., knows he was in a bit of a tryout at Ole Miss last weekend and again at Florida earlier this week. And in both cases, Morris feels like he shined, especially when compared to the other quarterbacks going through the same drills.

However, Morris is smart enough to know that his opinion only matters so much. It's the opinions of the head coaches at the schools on the top of his list that will get the deciding vote.

"Florida said they'll let me know once Friday Night Lights come around and that's in about a month," Morris said. "With Ole Miss, I have no idea when they'll make a decision. As soon as (Ole Miss) Coach (Houston) Nutt makes a decision, I'll know."

Florida, Morris said, plans to take two quarterbacks in the 2010 signing class. The Gators already have a commitment from Venice, Fla., quarterback Trey Burton, and Morris said the Florida coaching staff left him with the impression that the other scholarship would go to either Morris or Tampa (Alonso), Fla., quarterback C.J. Bennett.

Ole Miss' quarterback situation is clearer in some ways and murkier in others. Morris said the Rebels' staff told him last week that they plan to sign just one quarterback in the 2010 class. Ole Miss offered McKinney, Texas, quarterback Zach Lee, but Lee was unimpressive in a workout in Oxford last week and then committed to LSU days later. Another quarterback on Ole Miss' radar, Memphis, Tenn., product Barry Brunetti, committed to West Virginia earlier this week.

Morris appears to be one of a small handful of candidates for that spot, and he appeared to help himself with a strong performance at Ole Miss' camp.

"Ole Miss was really good," Morris said. "It was a great camp. I got to meet all the coaches, see all the facilities and I just really liked it. I did get a little bit of feedback. They're going to offer one quarterback and just take one in the class. It's going to be a tight competition. A lot of coaches told me I blew out some of the other quarterbacks. It really just depends on Coach Nutt and (Ole Miss offensive coordinator) Coach (Kent) Austin."

Morris and fellow Floridians Michael Strauss and Blake Bortles appeared to shine the brightest in the workout inside Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, with Morris' athleticism and accuracy on full display.

"Zach Lee wasn't anything to me," Morris said. "A lot of the coaches thought he was going to go into the MLB draft. I wasn't really impressed. …I just think I beat everyone out. I'm not trying to sound arrogant; that's not my character. But some of the coaches agreed. Right now, it's just down to those two guys (Nutt and Austin)."

If Ole Miss does decide to offer Morris, things could get interesting quickly, as the Rebels appear to be on top of the list for the 6-foot-2, 183-pounder.

"They'd be No. 1, really," Morris said. "There's no question in my mind about that one. I really like the coaching. I like the offense. It's a perfect offense to get you ready for the NFL. Coach Austin is a great coach. I really see that. Look what he's done with Jevan Snead. He's going to be a top draft pick."

Morris, who has offers from Northwestern, Purdue, Central Florida, Florida International and Central Michigan, said his top three choices are _ in order _ Ole Miss, Florida and Virginia.

"If Ole Miss offers, that school would be No. 1," Morris said. "It's just something I need to talk to my parents and really pray about. As soon as one of those schools offer, it's one of those decisions I will make extremely quick."

Morris, who is ranked by Rivals.com as the nation's No. 23 dual-threat quarterback, will make the trip to Charlottesville, Va., this weekend to see the Virginia campus and visit with the Cavaliers' staff.

"It's a school I'm looking into as a school that would fit me well," Morris said.

Morris, who threw for 2,009 yards and 19 touchdowns as a junior, is on pace to easily meet NCAA initial-eligibility requirements.

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