Tuesday, March 29, 2016

David Morgan NFL Draft Diary

Photo Courtesy of Kens5.com

In a life full of 'firsts' UTSA tight end David Morgan has one more to cross off his list: 'first UTSA player drafted.' Daniel House tells his story in an NFL Draft Diary for Priority Sports.

Updated: March 29th, 2016 2:00pm

By: Daniel House

Photo Courtesy of 4-Down Territory 
Fire up the film, grab the remote, and one will see the determination, versatility, and rugged run blocking skills of NFL draft prospect David Morgan. The 6-foot, 4-inch, 262-pound, University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) tight end might not be a household name, but he packs a punch. He has not only been the face of a five-year-old football program in San Antonio, but electrified a small Texas town on Friday night’s too. Next, he is ready to startle the NFL community when he sets foot on the field this August. It is just another opportunity for Morgan to represent both Marble Falls, TX and UTSA on the big stage. Morgan has accomplished a variety of ‘firsts’ in his four-year career at UTSA, but he has one more still on his radar: ‘first player drafted in program history.’ For a man that has embraced those moments his entire life, this is just another opportunity to reach a life-long dream.

Turn on the Lights, Marble Falls
When David Morgan and his class entered Marble Falls High School, football wasn’t a huge attraction in the town. As a middle school student who had not yet started playing organized football, Morgan never envisioned that nearly eight years later, he would be pursuing a career in the NFL.

“Obviously as a kid you talked about wanting to play for the Cowboys. I never really put perspective to it. I never really thought I would be doing it,” said Morgan. “Over the last couple months, the whole realization that this process is playing out is coming to clarity and it feels like it just happened.”

A basketball and soccer player his entire life, Morgan started his football journey as a middle school quarterback. Since the time he started hurling the football through the humid Texas air, he knew football was for him. From eighth grade on, he started playing wide receiver and he never looked back. Morgan and his graduating class took football to a new level in Marble Falls. A playoff appearance and a set of committed athletes made Friday Night lights a must-see event in the city of 6,100. This wasn’t the only time Morgan would change a program. A successful high school career was the only beginning.

The Pride of UTSA
Morgan didn’t draw many offers as he weighed just 225 pounds coming out of high school. Many programs didn’t know whether he could play wide receiver or tight end at the collegiate level. He was offered by recognizable schools like Texas State and UTEP, but he was intrigued by the potential of UTSA. They were a relatively new program that didn’t launch until September of 2011. Not only did he like the coaches and the philosophy of the program, but he saw it as chance to be a part of something new in college football.

“I was intrigued by the fact that it was a new program. I wanted to be a part of a lot of the firsts for the program,” explained Morgan.

He committed to the the University of Texas at San Antonio and immediately worked to improve physically and mentally. His coaches pushed him in the weight room, on-the-field, and in the film room. Entering college, Morgan weighed just 225 pounds. By the time he was a senior, he added over 30 pounds of muscle and now measures in at 262 pounds. Ask Morgan about how that transformation occurred and he will tell you it’s all about hard work.

“It was one of those things I embraced and I was grinding every day. Whatever it was I had to do, I did it, and as hard as I could,” Morgan said.

During his junior season at UTSA, he hauled in just 20 passes for 255 yards and a touchdown. However, his breakthrough campaign came as a senior. Morgan notched 45 receptions for 566 yards and a program single-season record five touchdowns. His run blocking skills and versatility, combined with his statistical output earned him second-team All-American honors. He was the first player in the history of UTSA Roadrunner football to achieve this accolade. Morgan recalled receiving the news as he was on a trip back to San Antonio. The message he received is certainly one he will never forget.

“I was actually driving back to San Antonio and my buddy tweeted an article at me. I thought – ‘what is this article?’ I opened it up and it was the All-American announcement. I slowed down and went ‘what the heck’ -- it was mind blowing,” remembered Morgan.  
Weeks later, Pro Football Focus graded Morgan as the top run blocker in the nation, which fueled even more NFL interest. In an offensive system that required him to line up in formations across the field, Morgan flashed his versatility and intelligence on the gridiron.

“We run a no-huddle offense so I lined up in different packages and spots. It showed I could lineup up out-wide, in the slot, or in the backfield,” said Morgan. “It not only shows a lot about me and who I am as player, but how I process things and the mental capacity I have. I had to know all of those formations and every route concept for every position.”

His value as a tight end who can play multiple positions will pay dividends as he continues to work-out and interview for teams in the coming weeks.

A Big-Time Job Interview
David Morgan was invited to the NFL Scouting Combine this February in Indianapolis. He was the first player to attend this event in the history of UTSA. With that came stress about how to prepare for the workout and interview sessions that are a part of the combine. Luckily, Morgan’s agent, Ben Hartstock played for ten seasons in the NFL and was invited to the event himself.

“My agent was invited to the combine back when he was in college so he kind of filled me in about what would happen. It was an experience,” Morgan recalled. “I was so thankful to be there with the greatest talent in the country. It was great to be out there and show a lot of people who I was. I was blessed to have that opportunity and it’s a great memory.”

Morgan ran his 40-yard dash at 5.02 and led all tight ends in the Bench Press, 3-Cone Drill, 20-Yard Shuttle, and 60-Yard Shuttle. Additionally, he scored a 5.17 draft grade which means he has a “better-than-average chance to make an NFL roster,” according to NFL.com

He interviewed with NFL teams at the Scouting Combine and was challenged to identify formations, reads, and progressions of defenses he had faced. With ten people in the room, including a positional coach, NFL head coach, and general manager, it was a nerve-racking process for a young player. However, the similar experience Morgan gained at the East-West Shrine game served him well as he spoke with NFL teams again.

“I had to pretty much diagnose everything that we did on offense and tell about the formation, my reads, and what the defense was doing,” Morgan explained. “They want to see what you can do when the lights are on.”

Morgan most recently had his pro-day and improved in both his 40-yard dash (4.83) and vertical jump. With over 20 NFL scouts on hand, he continued to flash his versatility, size, and natural ball skills. 

“I felt like everything went well. I jumped better in my vertical and ran a better 40. The positional drills were awesome. It was nice to be out there and show some more people what you can do face-to-face,” Morgan added.

Choosing Priority Sports
After ending his career at UTSA, David Morgan had several agencies interested in representing him. However, one stood out in the end. Near the completion of the decision process, Morgan and his father flew to Priority Sports’ headquarters in Chicago and met with the entire staff. After walking through the office and speaking with everyone, Morgan made up his mind – Priority Sports was his agency.

“When I left there, I knew it was the best fit. Just the environment -- it’s a great place,” Morgan smiled. “Priority Sports is taking incredible care of me and I’m ready for a long-term relationship with these guys. When you have all of those people working towards a common goal, it’s hard to be beat. That comradery they have in that office is incredible and I wanted to be a part of that.”

NFL Draft on the Horizon
The NFL Draft is quickly approaching and David Morgan continues to prepare for draft day on April 28-30. He plans to stay at home in Marble Falls with his family as he awaits a phone call that will decide his future in the NFL.

When the phone rings, there is one man he wouldn’t mind having on the other the line – it’s Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones.

“The Dallas Cowboys, that’s the team,” Morgan said emphatically.

Morgan grew up a huge fan of the Dallas Cowboys and idolizes current tight end Jason Witten on and off-the-field.

[Witten] is that old school guy. He’s a three-down guy that does everything you could ask for. I don’t know if that’s the best comparison, but for me, that’s someone I strive to be. Obviously he’s an even greater guy off the field -- an all-around great guy.”

Whether it is the Cowboys or any team in the league, Morgan is ready to have another ‘first’ in his life. Whether it was bringing life to football in Marble Falls, TX, injecting energy into a new college football program at UTSA, or attending the NFL Scouting Combine, Morgan blazed a trail of ‘firsts.’

However, he has one more achievement left on the radar – “David Morgan first UTSA player drafted.”


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