DeMatha coach on Morton's UM pledge
The DeMatha coach wanted to discuss the future with his junior running back-linebacker. Morton, a three-star prospect according to Scout.com, was preparing for an unofficial visit to Maryland on Wednesday.
"The day before he committed," McGregor said, "he came and I asked him, 'If you had your druthers, and you could go anywhere you wanted, where would you want to go?' He said, 'Well, there are three places.' One was Maryland, he said two was Pitt and he said the third was Oregon. I said, 'I don't want to burst your bubble, but Oregon's not going to recruit you. They never come this far east. Pitt hasn't offered, but they want to see you and you can go there [this summer]. Right now you do have an offer from Maryland.' And he said, 'Coach, I'm thinking about that. I just may take that.' And then he went to the [Maryland-Duke basketball game] on Wednesday and committed to them."
Morton's pledge to the Terps came hours after Friendship Collegiate (D.C.) offensive tackle Larry Mazyck committed, giving Maryland two significant local prospects to kick off its 2011 recruiting class.
Morton's recruiting story was a little different than that of a typical DeMatha prospect. The spotlight shines brighter on the Stags than probably any other program in the state, making any potential Division I recruit a household name among recruiting followers early in their careers. Morton was on that track before an unexpected setback last summer.
"Actually what happened is he went up to Maryland for a one-day camp last summer and they offered a scholarship based off that one-day camp," McGregor said. "He came into our camp and we were doing just an installation type of drill for the offense. He runs down on a toss sweep and tears his ACL. So he wasn't able to play for us. But he's totally rehabbed, running, sprinting and working out. It was just a really unfortunate accident that happened."
What DeMatha missed in Morton last season was a punishing inside runner; a big, bruising athlete at 6'1, 255 pounds that showed tantalizing potential before that preseason injury.
"They couldn't tackle him in the 9th grade," McGregor said. "As a sophomore, he played for us [on varsity]. He got playing time. Last year, he would have come in and played with our other back, [Iowa-bound] Marcus Coker, and we would have run forever. And he probably would have played inside linebacker or defensive end for us."
In McGregor's opinion, Morton "passes the eyeball" test for either running back or linebacker at the collegiate level. McGregor isn't sure what side of the ball Morton will ultimately settle on in College Park. But he is confident that Morton will make an impact at Maryland one way or another.
"He's just the type of kid that you bring in. You just take him," McGregor said. "If he doesn't make it offensively, you know he can play defensively for you right now. ... Everyone just wanted to make sure he was OK. He didn't go out to other one-day camps. [If he played last year] he would be very, very highly recruited."