Morgan signs with Pack
By Ryan Herman
Published in Sports on February 3, 2011 1:47 PM
LaGRANGE -- Although there were many schools of interest at the end of the day Maurice Morgan had only two choices -- stay home and play for East Carolina or move roughly 80 miles and play for N.C. State.
Back in August, Morgan made it known his choice was to move to Raleigh. On Wednesday, he made his Wolfpack commitment official.
Morgan, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound do-it-all athlete at North Lenoir, signed his national letter-of-intent Wednesday as part of N.C. State's 2011 signing class to play football in the fall; and gave his high school one of its biggest football signings in recent memory.
The athlete who played all skill positions for the Hawks now must up his 16-touchdown senior season for the rough and tough play of ACC competition.
"I'm expecting a lot of tough hits, fast plays, and an exciting experience," said Morgan, who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds at last year's Shrine Bowl combine. "It'll be a big difference, because at the high school level there's good players and great players and then there are players that just come out and try out. It's going to be different because everybody's going to be good or either great."
The chemical engineering department offered at N.C. State helped Morgan with his decision, he said, and also a commitment to winning the coaching staff has.
"The coaches. The coaches there were very interesting, a very interesting group," Morgan said. "They all had different personalities, but a common cause to win. They crack down on your education real hard, too."
In a single game last season for the Hawks, Morgan ran for 134 yards, had a 35-yard kickoff return, a 31-yard punt return, a 42-yard TD reception and a pair of rushing TDs. That versatility is why Wolfpack coaches came knocking on the door of North Lenoir coach Calvin Sutton.
"He's so versatile. He was getting several offers at the end of the day because of his versatility, his size and his speed," said Sutton. "He's a heck of an athlete. He's a guy (the Wolfpack) can bring in and get him in the right niche and help them be a contender for a long time in the ACC."
At N.C. State, Morgan won't play virtually every position as he did for the Hawks, but the Wolfpack are looking to make him into a wide receiver or safety or maybe both. Focusing on one or two positions will be a different, but welcoming challenge for Morgan, he said.
"I'm used to playing everywhere so it will be different for me to play one position or two positions," said Morgan. "I just have to practice harder, better, and different, and get stronger and faster and better."
For Wolfpack head coach Tom O'Brien, this year's 20-member class was about a winning attitude. It was also about players who are versatile, just like Morgan.
"For all these kids, down the road, is to help us win a championship," O'Brien said during his webcasted signing day press conference. "We have more athletes listed than we ever had. Kids just want to come play football and be a part of this experience."
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