Others wanted him as receiver, cornerback
Quarterback Richard Morrison heard exactly what he wanted from Arizona offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes: He’d get a chance to call signals for the Wildcats.
If not, it would have been a quick conversation, and the Royse City (Texas) High star would have looked elsewhere.
“(Dykes) was like, ‘I am going to be straight with you. We want you to play quarterback. We’re not going to say you can play quarterback and then move you to another position,’ ” said Morrison, a three-star recruit who is expected to sign Wednesday with the Wildcats during the first day of the NCAA’s letter-of-intent period.
Oklahoma and Texas sought him as a receiver, and Baylor wanted him as a cornerback.
“I’m a quarterback,” Morrison said.
The 6-foot, 170-pound prospect has the numbers to back up his claim. He threw for 2,257 yards, 23 touchdowns and six interceptions this season. He also rushed for nearly 700 yards and scored seven times. He passed for 3,350 yards during his junior season in a spread attack.
“We ran the exact same offense they do at Arizona. That excites me,” Morrison said. “This offense gives you a lot of freedom. There were a lot of times when I would be running out of the pocket and it looked like I would run, and then stop and pass. I like it.”
Arizona needs a starting quarterback after the graduation of school-record-holder Willie Tuitama. Michigan State transfer Nick Foles has sat out his mandatory season. Sophomores Matt Scott and Bryson Beirne will be given ample looks.
Morrison knows he is going to be in the picture, somewhere.
“I know Foles has a really strong arm, and I have seen Matt Scott run,” Morrison said. “The coaches know I can throw and run. They know what I can do.”
UA’s other offensive recruits:
• Jack Baratz, 6-4, 275, North High, Naperville, Ill. The offensive tackle is physical at the point of attack, with long arms and good balance to help control the line of scrimmage. “Impressive in pass protection and can anchor down and stop the initial charge of the pass rusher,” ESPN reports.
• Jake Baucus, 6-6, 235, Carmel High, Mundelein, Ill. The tight end suffered a season-ending knee injury during his team’s playoff appearance. He is considered an under-the-radar prospect who had offers from Colorado, Northern Illinois, Eastern Michigan, etc.
• Kylan Butler, 5-6, 180, De La Salle High, Concord, Calif. As a freshman, tore his anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in his left knee. Came back to become a force this season, rushing for over 1,300 yards and scoring 15 TDs in his first 13 games. He had 186 yards and a TD in North Coast Section title game.
• Travis Cobb, 6-0, 180, Blinn (Texas) College. The deep threat with 4.3-speed in the 40-yard dash had 36 receptions for more than 500 yards and four TDs in 2008, earning all-league honors. He also averaged 34 yards per kick return.
• Daniel Jenkins, 5-9, 170, Rancho Verde High, Moreno Valley, Calif. Quick footwork and speed are the major traits for the four-star tailback who also is deceptively strong for a player of his stature. He rushed for over 1,000 yards and caught 16 passes during his junior season. He had 212 yards and three TDs against Bellflower High in September.
• Jack Julsing, 6-8, 315, College of the Desert High, Palm Desert, Calif. Played at Division III Wisconsin-Whitewater before signing with UA and enrolling in the fall. He will take part in spring workouts and will have a shot starting at either of the vacant tackle spots.
• Terrence Miller, 6-4, 215, Rancho Verde High, Moreno Valley, Calif. The tight end doesn’t have the body of a Rob Gronkowski, but he creates mismatches for defenders with his frame and soft hands.
• Chris Putton, 6-4, 275, Cactus High, Glendale. The 4A all-state player was a force along the offensive line, creating running room for heralded tailback Mike Brown to reach the 2,000-yard plateau.
• Derrick Rainey, 6-2, 185, Northbrook High, Houston. The receiver turned down Missouri, Baylor, TCU and Kansas State to play here but could be switched to free safety. Rushed for more than 700 yards as a junior.
• Shane Zink, 6-7, 290, offensive tackle from Shasta (Calif.) College. Already enrolled here, he will take part in spring drills to fill either of the two vacant tackle spots. He has three years of eligibility left.
THIS WEEK IN CITIZEN
> Monday: Offensive recruits
> Tuesday: Defensive recruits
> Wednesday: How UA’s recruiting class compares nationally
> Thursday: UA coach Mike Stoops rates his recruits.