Tuesday, June 14, 2011

2011 Countdown: #78 Desmond Morgan

Desmond Morgan
Name: Desmond Morgan
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 225 lbs.
High school: West Ottawa High School in Holland, MI
Position: Linebacker
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: #44
Last year: Morgan was a high school senior (commitment post here)

TTB Rating: 76

Morgan was a battering ram of a high school quarterback, where he didn't really throw much . . . and didn't really juke people . . . he just kind of ran people over.  And over and over and over.  I like high school quarterbacks at virtually any position, because those kids understand the game and usually (except in the case of Terrelle Pryor) understand leadership.

Morgan is the rare freshman who doesn't really need to bulk up to play at the next level.  He might not be as strong as he'll need to be, but 225 lbs. is a pretty solid build for a freshman linebacker.  Michigan is somewhat short of inside linebackers for the upcoming season, and there's a good chance that Morgan sees some mop-up duty on defense.  He also has the build to be a blocker on kick return units and might even be able to help on kickoff coverage.

P.S. There has been some talk that Morgan could turn into a fullback, but so far that notion comes entirely from fans and not from anyone important, such as the coaches or Morgan himself.

Prediction: Special teams contributor


  1. What are you thinking for a player rating? I know you have said that you like high school quarterbacks in the past, and he would be no exception. I'm also a fan of the size that he brings, and in addition to his football knowledge from playing quarterback, he is also a really sharp kid in the classroom. Sounds to me like the type of kid you want playing on your team.

  2. @ Anonymous 7:25 a.m.

    Sorry I left that out. It's now fixed. I think he'll be a good player. Not great, but solid. There's a good class of linebackers coming in behind him and I also like Kellen Jones, but Morgan's a big, thick kid who run a little bit and hit with the best of them.

  3. I am one of those fans (not anybody important) who thinks Morgan could line up at fullback. At 225 and, as you said yourself a "battering ram" of a player, he might nicely fill that fullback role that will be vacated by John McColgan after this year (with nobody else to really fill in, I might add). That would also save us a valuable scholarship this year, though I think investing it in EJ Fatu would be a smart one.

    I just got this notion of Morgan as a fullback from his film, where his more fullback-like qualities and build stood out to me. How do you think his skills would translate?

  4. @ GregGoBlue 10:26 a.m.

    I do think Morgan could be a good fullback. He has the right size and build, he can obviously run the ball, and he likes to hit. I suppose it might be a matter of numbers/competition at linebacker. Demens will be gone after 2012, which would leave Morgan and Kellen Jones to battle redshirt freshmen (or true sophomores) Royce Jenkins-Stone and Joe Bolden for the MLB job. If Morgan's the best MLB, I think he's got to stay there; it's a more important position than fullback.

  5. I think if he shows up to camp with good LB skills, he stays put. He strikes me as a good MLB candidate and I'm not sure there is an obvious back-up to Demens right now. As you mention, he already has the size to play some. If Kellen Jones is ready to contribute as a freshman, maybe Morgan gets some practice snaps at FB. But the coaches could potentially wait until Spring 2012 for that experiment. The LB depth will not take shape until 2012. Whether at LB or eventually at FB, I see Morgan eventually becoming starter material, despite the mediocre recruiter rankings. He just looks like a player.

  6. I was able to catch a game of Morgan's last year (it was our homecoming), and he looked really good as a quarterback. At that point in the season, he wasn't playing linebacker due to injury, but he was big, fast, and made pretty decisive cuts while running the ball (he didn't throw well, or very often). He was way too big and way too fast for our admittedly mediocre high school team, but I definitely could see some of his potential at LB. FWIW, I find it hard to believe he'll be used as a fullback, mostly because of his potential on defense and the fact that he's never really had to block anyone before.

  7. I just think Morgan should play FB and backup LB. He could be Michigan's own Owern Maercic. Honestly I think thats the best thing to do because I don't think he'll ever start at LB between Demens having MLB for the next 2 years and then having 5 talented LBs in this new class so why not let him play FB while keeping him as LB depth. Like you said above he seems to be a smart guy who can learn both playbooks (with time not both by Week 1 obviously) and because how deep is the FB playbook really?

    Just for comparisons sake Marecic was 6'0 248 when he was drafted and he played FB only until his senior year. If I was Morgan I'd rather do that than only play ST all my career (which is a possibility, not guaranteed of course) and if I'm Michigan I'd really, really hate having to take a FB over Adolphus Washington, Jaleel Johnson, or Aziz Shittu or especially if I have one who's potentially just as capable on my bench.

  8. @ KB 2:06 p.m.

    Playing both sides of the ball isn't easy. I'm not saying it's impossible, but Marecic was an exception. There's a reason he's the only full-time two-way player you can think of.

    The fullback position can be played by some of our bigger tailbacks (Hopkins, Cox, Rawls) or by walk-ons (McColgan, Kerridge), so I don't think it's anything to get worked up about. We also have a shot at guys like Houma and Fatu, so yes, I'd rather take a fullback than a 5th defensive end or a 4th linebacker. The numbers are a little lopsided on defense.

  9. Morgan reminds me of a Paul Posluszny or Dan Connor type (I know, the typical white guy/white guy comparison, but I think it's somewhat accurate). Not really a super athletic guy, but just has a nose for the ball against the run, a tough, hard nosed old school throwback type of kid.

    I don't know if he'll ever be a starter with the depth we're building at LB, but I bet he'll damn sure work his ass of trying.

  10. @ Anonymous 2:35

    So basically just like Joe Bolden?