Multitalented Morgan leads Jackets
There aren’t many things on a football field that Trey Morgan can’t do. Because of that, the senior finds himself called on to play a lot of different positions.
Defensive back, check. Morgan is an outstanding safety and his presence discourages opposing quarterbacks from throwing anywhere on the field near him.
Wide receiver, check. Morgan is among the most dangerous players in the area when he gets his hands on the ball in the open field.
Kick returner, check. Morgan’s athleticism, which makes him so good playing on the perimeter on offense and defense, is also on display returning kickoffs and punts – although most opponents directionally kick away from him.
Quarterback, check. Morgan not only possesses a rocket arm, but has the intelligence to operate an offense and has opposing defenses scrambling when he comes into play quarterback in the Wildcat formation.
In last Friday’s resounding 44-6 victory over Lexington in North Augusta’s Region 5-AAAA Morgan did all of the above. And, of course, he did it well. No single statistic is overwhelming, but in the big picture Morgan was invaluable to the Yellow Jackets’ victory. He had three receptions for 42 yards, not counting a 40-yard touchdown catch that was called back because of a holding penalty. He had four carries for nine yards, not an eye-popping total. But put in the proper context, understanding that of all the carries came inside Lexington’s 10-yard line and two of them resulted in touchdowns, it’s much more impressive.
Morgan didn’t get to return any kicks, because Lexington avoided his side of the field, just like it’s starting quarterback Will Hunter did when he tried to connect on a vertical passing game. Morgan’s presence in the secondary discouraged Lexington, even though he didn’t get much action in his direction Morgan recorded six tackles.
But the most unexpected part of Morgan’s performance was his passing. In spite of his skills, Morgan hadn’t attempted a pass all season. Much of that was because he had not one but two traditional pocket passers ahead of him on North Augusta’s quarterback depth chart. But with senior signal caller Cody Turner out with a leg injury and the importance of games escalating, Morgan got to show off his passing ability.
With less than a minute to play in the first half, the Yellow Jackets had a second-and-goal situation from Lexington’s 3-yard line and the defense expecting Morgan to try and run for another touchdown. When he rolled to his left, Lexington followed in full pursuit. That was when Morgan broke from the expectations, stopped on a dime and twirled a sidearm pass to Zach Wilson in the end zone for a touchdown.
“He can throw the ball real well. When Trey’s back there defenses have to stay honest. He will throw more as the year progresses,” North Augusta head coach Dan Pippin said of Morgan, who finished the win over Lexington 2-for-2 for 33 yards and the score. “We’re starting to do more with him. As teams get better, he’ll play more. This week, he’ll play a bunch.”
Before looking ahead to this week’s home game against White Knoll, which will be the ASTV Game of the Week, this will be one last opportunity to appreciate everything Morgan did last week.
Because of Morgan’s outstanding performance, he has been selected as the Aiken Standard Player of the Week for Week Seven.
“I think he’s one of the best players in the state,” Pippin gushed about the player he thinks highly of as much for his playing skills as his personality. “He’s a quiet kid, but on the field he takes control and gets everyone where they’re supposed to be. He’s fun to coach. That’s a kid I want leading me some day.”
Pippin was referring to a scholarship offer Morgan has received from the Air Force Academy. It’s just one of several offers he’s got to play football in college, with interest shown from schools in the Southern Conference as well as Conference USA.
Pippin said because Morgan isn’t the biggest player, or the very fastest in the 40-meter dash, some bigger college programs aren’t willing to open their eyes to see the kid who’s just an old-fashioned great player.
“He’s great at being a really good football player,” Pippin said. “He’s not going to line up and run a great 40 time in some camp. He’s just going to make every play in a football game you ask him to make. I’m certain that he’ll go anywhere in the country, at any level, and be a starter by the time he’s a junior or senior.”
Morgan’s versatility goes a long way in making him such a good player. For the season – playing an average of 60-70 plays a game in all three areas – Morgan has 43 tackles, two interceptions, 17 carries for 92 yards and six touchdowns and 13 receptions for 169 yards and two more scores to go with the TD he passed for against Lexington.
But it’s Morgan’s effort that sets him apart. Pippin said that Morgan is smart and a student of the game who’s dedicated to studying film. He’s also coachable and will do anything he’s asked, regardless of circumstance. The fact that he’s a star player willing to do that is another invaluable tool for Pippin, because Morgan is a role model for his teammates.
“He’s an athlete and you couple that with a kid who cares and works hard,” was how Pippin described Morgan. “When you get the best kid on the team doing that and working hard it means a lot to everybody else.”
Expect to see Morgan doing more running, receiving, passing, returning and defending as the season gets closer and closer to the playoffs. North Augusta’s in good hands with the ball in Morgan’s.
Noah Feit is the Sports Editor for the Aiken Standard and has been a professional journalist for more than a dozen years after graduating from Syracuse University.