In its late-January 2002 issue, when The G&W Recruiting Report put together a list of the top 10 players “yet to verbal,” the publication listed Derek Morris Click Here to view this Link. at No. 2. And where did G&W predict he’d end up? NC State. It turns out that the magazine was a little less than a year off.
NC State’s Media Relations department confirmed to The Wolfpacker that Morris has been cleared to enroll at State for the spring semester, and will be eligible to take part in spring drills.
The 6-6, 350-pound offensive tackle was rated the No. 8 offensive player in the nation a year ago by The G&W Recruiting Report, listed as a five-star prospect and the country’s No. 2 OT by Rivals.com, considered the No. 7 player in North Carolina by SuperPrep and tabbed as a five-star prospect by Tom Lemming of Prep Football Report.
Morris initially inked with Ohio State, but later was released from his scholarship requirements and did not play or attend college this year.
WHAT THEY SAID ABOUT MORRIS
“Teammates refer to Derek as ‘Waffle,’ in honor of his idol, former OSU lineman Orlando Pace, who was known as ‘Pancake.’ Morris notched 28 knockdown blocks as a senior and graded out at 89 percent on his blocking assignments. He’s considered a tremendous athlete (31-inch vertical jump) for his size, which explains the mountain of scholarship offers he’s received.”
-- SuperPrep, January 15, 2002, All-American issue
“I’m going out on a limb giving Derek five stars since he has not yet played like a five-star ball player. However, given his size, athletic ability, speed and strength, it appears to me to be just a matter of time before he becomes one of the most dominant ball players in college football.
“When properly motivated, he is a devastating force at OT. He’s blessed with long arms, NFL size, great body control and agility. He did not allow a sack in the year 2000 and averaged 12 pancake blocks per game. He can be devastating at the OT spot and impossible to get around.
“On film, he looks like a mountain with feet. Can knock a defender on his butt with just a quick arm thrust and has the quickness to frustrate even the best of pass rushers. Having traveled around the country and personally interviewed every top OL prospect, I do not believe there is one out there with as much potential as Mr. Morris.
“When he brings his whole game together, look out! Benches 465 and has an incredible 34-inch vertical jump.”
-- Tom Lemming, Prep Football Report, Summer 2001 issue
EDITOR’S NOTE: We’re working to get in contact with Derek or anyone close to him. Keep an eye out for future updates on Morris.