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July 13, 2004

Morley talks about Florida commitment

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As the college football season creeps closer, it is understandable that Florida head coach Ron Zook might be having trouble sleeping. Zook is about to enter his third year at the helm of the UF football program and has a team poised to make some noise in the SEC this season.

Well, if the UF head coach was having problems sleeping, a commitment from one of the top defensive backs for 2005 could have solved his sleeping woes. Miami (Fla.) Killian defensive back Demetrice Morley called Zook at 11:30 Monday night, but even with a commitment from the four-star defensive back, Zook still ended up having a sleepless night.

"He couldn't go to sleep he was so excited," Morley said. "He said the main thing was to load the wagon up. We just talked about how he was going to work us hard when we come in. He said to just worry about school right now and we will worry about that later on down the road."

Morley, 6-1 and 180 pounds, joined Gerald Williams, Avery Atkins and Vladimir Richard in the late-night commitment spree on Monday.

"All of us were on the phone last night together," Morley said. "They were the ones that called me and said, 'Dee man, what are you going to do?' I was like, 'Lets do this.' We want to put Florida on the map."

Morley was in Gainesville over the weekend at UF's Rising Senior Camp. On Saturday, he began to win over the fans in attendance as he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds. He also boasted a 38-inch vertical jump on Saturday. However, on Sunday Morley won over all the coaches, players and fans in attendance.

In one-on-one drills, Morley was sticking to the wide receivers like glue. He said his greatest challenge was Tampa (Fla.) Middleton wide receiver O.J. Murdock. But Morley's greatest play on Sunday came when he matched up against Apopka (Fla.) athlete Eric Sledge.

Morley was running foot-for-foot with Sledge and as the ball was coming down, Morley quickly turned around to swat the ball away. The ball deflected off Morley's hands and was flying over his head as he and Sledge were falling to the ground. Morley threw his hands over his head and trapped the ball on his back. Morley hit the ground hard, but the ball remained firmly trapped between his hand and his back.

"That is one of the techniques I have been learning -- just keep your eye on the ball," he said. "Go up at the highest point and don't lose concentration.

"I think I performed well at the camp. I have been working hard and getting better on my skills. My coaches are helping me a lot and I just have been getting better trying to be the best."

His athletic abilities are no shock to the coaches and people close to him. As a junior, Morley placed second in the state track and field championships with a long jump of 23-9 1/2

Morley committed to the Gators after receiving more than 30 offers. Some of the other teams that offered Morley were LSU, Florida State, Miami, Rutgers and Ohio State.

"I wanted to go to a Florida team, but if you look at the Florida teams we have right now, I just feel like with Miami and Florida State I am not comfortable with them at the time, so I think I am much more comfortable with Florida," he said. "I had been up there a couple of times and I just loved it up there. I love the atmosphere. I love the campus. It is one of the best campuses in the country. Right now, I am committed to Florida, but I will probably take a few visits."

Morley attended camps at Miami and Rutgers before his stop in Gainesville. He said his best performance came at the UF camp. That is in large part because of the connections he made with UF defensive backs coach Dan Disch, as well as Jacksonville Ed White's Bryan Evans and Daytona Beach Mainland's Atkins.

"As soon as we got there coach Disch introduced us and we just started to hang," Morley said. "(Disch) told me that I am going to have to work hard for playing time. I told him that I would be ready to work."

As a junior, Morley earned honorable mention All-Dade county honors after recording 70 tackles, nine interceptions, three field goal blocks and four punt blocks.

Morley said he has a 2.4 GPA and will take the SAT test when school starts in the fall. He added that he already has passed the FCAT. While his commitment seems to be the top thing on Morley's mind, there can be an argument made that his academics are also front and center. That is because Morley is eager to end his high school days and begin his college career.

"I am trying to get out of school early, so I can come up there," he said. "I am ready to get up there and ready to go."


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