Richard Davenport covers recruiting for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He is the host of Recruiting Thursday, a weekly radio show that airs from 7 to 8 p.m. on 92.1 FM in Fayetteville; 93.7 FM in Little Rock; 95.3 FM in Fort Smith; 96.3 FM in Hot Springs; 104.3 FM in Harrison/Mountain Home; and 106.9 FM in Arkadelphia.
The Recruiting Guy:
4-star QB recruit has bond with Briles
MJ Morris, one of the nation’s top quarterback prospects, and University of Arkansas offensive coordinator Kendal Briles have forged a strong relationship over the past few months and a visit to Fayetteville is a good possibility.
“I would say our relationship is actually becoming very strong,” Morris said. “I like the consistency. He’s always reaching out, asking how I’m doing. Always checking up on me and my family, and then I’ll text him and ask, ‘What’s up coach? How it’s going?’ We steadily text back and forth.
"I don’t think there’s been a week where we haven’t talked.”
Morris, 6-2, 195 pounds, of Atlanta Pace Academy, has more than 30 scholarship offers, including ones from Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Florida State, Auburn, Miami, Michigan and others.
Under former coach Chad Morris, Arkansas was the first Power 5 school to offer a scholarship to Morris when he was a freshman. Briles re-offered him last April.
“He thinks I would be great in what they’re going to do at Arkansas,” Morris said of Briles. “Arkansas was my first SEC offer. I’ve always had love for them. I’ve watched them play on TV.”
ESPN rates Morris a 4-star prospect, the No. 6 dual-threat quarterback and the No. 57 overall recruit in the nation for the 2022 class. He completed 80 of 133 passes for 1,180 yards and 14 touchdowns as a junior while playing sparingly in several of the Knights’ eight games due to having comfortable leads.
The Razorbacks appear to be in contention for Morris’ signature.
“Arkansas is a school I’m seriously looking at because it’s really a school that’s really recruited me the hardest out of some schools,” said Morris, who expects to do a virtual visit with the Hogs soon. “I’m definitely looking at them a lot.”
Morris, who also plays plays center field for the school’s baseball team, said he feels a good connection with Briles.
“I told my parents the other day I could definitely see myself being in the quarterback room with Coach Briles and being coached by him one day,” Morris said. “I like his personality and I like how he coaches. He’s definitely a coach I’m looking for when I’m deciding on a school or not.”
The NCAA announced the extension of the dead period from April 15 to May 31 on Wednesday but did indicate the dead period may be lifted and visits to college campuses may resume following the latest extension.
Morris visited Georgia, Alabama, Auburn, and Tennessee prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. He said he would “most definitely” visit Arkansas this summer should the NCAA lift the dead period while also looking to visit others.
“Schools I really want to see Oregon, Mizzou, Stanford, Penn State, Nebraska,” he said. “Definitely Arkansas. Schools I’ve never been able to see in person before.”
He said he’s leaning towards studying a particular field in college.
“Kind of in the business field, so like entrepreneurship,” Morris said,
The pandemic has slowed down Morris’ recruiting process and college decision.
“I hoped I could’ve made it sooner, but this has been pushed back more,” he said. “I don’t have an exact time … but I hopefully I’ll start to narrow things down soon so I can go ahead and get it over with before my senior year of high school.”
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