Dudley E. Dawson is a reporter for Hawgs Illustrated. A graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a voter for the Heisman Trophy.
Arkansas QB pledge Chandler Morris ready for next challenge
Chandler Morris (left), son of Arkansas coach Chad Morris (right), watches Saturday, April 6, 2019, during the Razorbacks' spring game in Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.
MURPHY, Texas Arkansas 2020 quarterback commit Chandler Morris (5-11, 180 pounds) knows that all eyes are going to be on him as he enters his senior season for Highland Park in Texas.
Such is the case when you are the reigning Dallas Morning News Offensive Player of the Year, an SEC commit, your program is riding a 31-game winning streak and trying to win its fourth straight state championship. Morris is also the son of a major college head coach, Chad Morris at Arkansas.
Highland Park enters the season as the No. 1 Class 5A Division I in Dave Campbell's Texas Football Magazine rankings.
“It’s great to have all that (publicity) and stuff, but then again, that was last year and we haven’t done anything this year,” Morris said. “That’s the mentality I have got to have, this team has got to have. I just have to stay in my role, keep everybody bought in and win one game a week and move on to the next one.”
Morris completed 64 percent of his passes and passed for 4,010 yards and 46 touchdowns last season. He also ran for 20 scores last year while leading his team to a 15-0 mark in his first season as a starter.
The ESPN four-star prospect took over as the starter for John Stephen Jones, who won two straight titles before coming to Arkansas last season.
Jones and Morris have kept in touch this month.
“He is doing good,” Morris said. “I am really proud of what he has been doing.”
Morris was 9-of-16 passing for 120 yards with a 56-yard touchdown pass as his team downed Plano East 18-0 in a controlled preseason scrimmage this weekend.
“I thought we did some good things,” Morris said. “We have a lot to work on, obviously, and we are going to hit that hard this week coming up. We have Rockwall on Friday and that’s always a big game.”
Rockwall is the last team to defeat Highland Park. That came 53-49 in the 2017 season opener.
“Rockwall is a tough game every year,” Morris said. “It is like a seven-point game every time we play them. The last time we went to their place we got beat. So it is going to be a great atmosphere and a huge game for us.”
The Scots are trying to become the third team in the history of Texas' UIL to win at least four straight titles. The Morris family has already been involved in one such streak, with Chad serving as head coach for two of Lake Travis' five consecutive titles from 2007-11.
“It’s gone pretty good for us winning state championships,” said Chandler Morris, who was part of the Elite 11 QB camp in Frisco, Texas, earlier this summer and will play in the Under Armour All-American game after the season.
Highland Park lost some key pieces from last season’s championship team, including Arkansas walk-on cornerback Hudson Clark, Rice offensive lineman Reagan Riddle and leading receiver Finn Corwin, who is a walk-on at Oklahoma. Morris believes that Highland Park has had a good preseason camp.
“It is going good,” Morris said. “We have a bunch of young guys having to step up due to a couple of injuries and a couple of bumps and bruises. We have got guys stepping up, buying in and that is going to be the key, having depth and buying into the system.”
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