2022 3* TE Nick Morrow to Cal Football
6'8" TE, he's a step stool away from being Cal's Paul Bunyan
Another joining the Cal offense. Despite having snaps as an OL and DL in high school, the Flagstaff, AZ player looks to join the team as a TE. He holds 4 offers: Baylor, Cal, Northern Arizona, and UNLV.
He joins Keleki Latu in the “Good lord how do people grow so big, can you moonlight on the Cal MBB as well” list. His 6’8” (which would make him the tallest player in the locker-room now) frame already carries 250 lbs and in pictures, he looks like he carries it very well and can add a little more heft.
Here is what SGBear has to say about the Flagstaff TE:
Elite high school football programs tend to be from metropolitan areas. In Arizona, it’s the greater Phoenix area. In Nevada, it’s greater Las Vegas. Elite players and scouts gravitate toward these areas. Look at any P5 roster – including Cal’s – and it will almost exclusively be kids from bigger metro areas. Cal’s academic prowess can be a barrier to competing for the sure-fire elite players, so sometimes coaches have to be creative to find the under-recruited gems – like Ashtyn Davis (Santa Cruz), Patrick Laird (San Luis Obispo), and of course Aaron Rodgers (Chico).In between Las Vegas and Phoenix is Flagstaff, more known for being a beautiful mountain town than for having good high school football.
If you look at Flagstaff QB’s highlight tape, you see him run the Flag Eagles’ spread offense – usually with a 10 personnel package and four WR (ie, no TE). And if you watch the highlights of their stud 139 YPG RB Luis Jaramillo (2-star, 7 offers), you’ll see a TE blocking. Enter Nick Morrow.
Nick is that TE blocking for Jaramillo. He also started at Defensive End. Frankly, Morrow’s junior stats are not eye-popping – 2 catches for 48 yards over 7 games and no TDs. On defense, he had 20 tackles (2.9 TPG), two sacks, and one TFL. His coach told the Arizona Daily Sun that “every coach in the region had to account for him and actually ran the other way, so our other defensive end had a lot of the tackles on that side. So his stats didn’t necessarily stand out, but what he did made such an impact.” If you look at a little deeper at his stats you see 4 PD, which for a DE means that he probably batted down a ball at the LOS, plus the most fumble recoveries on the team. Hmmm…Let’s go to his highlight reel. There’s Morrow in a four-point stance as DE looking every bit of his 6’8”. My mind immediately thinks about high-school centers running wind sprints, slowly bending to touch the line, coming out of the crouch, and then being last down the court in an ungainly paddling of lanky legs and skinny arms. But I’ll be damned if Morrow doesn’t snap out his four-point stance faster than any 6’8” guy that I can remember. The contrast between my expectations and reality makes me sit up and notice immediately.
Morrow’s next highlight is him catching one of his two receptions on the year. Again, pretty darn fast for a guy that tall. Let’s be clear – he’s no Vernon Davis or Travis Kelce, but fast for that height. And he wears his 235 pounds well. He looks like a normal athlete scaled up to 6’8”. And a few plays later, there he is tracking down a skills position player on a short punt. The athleticism is clearly there.So this makes Morrow a very interesting prospect. He is obviously very tall, which makes him a red-zone target. And he’s clearly fast and athletic for his height. He could be a physical mismatch if he develops really well.
But he’s clearly doesn’t have a lot of playing time at TE and virtually no catching experience outside of practice and 7-on-7 tournaments. And there’s a reason why NFL tight ends are not commonly 6’8” – because they get slow, uncoordinated, and fragile unless they balloon up to blocking TE size. Oh, but what if he does develop?… [insert dream sequence of 6’6” Gronkowski, who ran a 4.68 40 yard dash dressed in a Cal Bear uniform].
And Morrow is already developing now that he’s focusing on football. He’s already up to 255 pounds. Here he is from mid-August putting up a 500-pound squat. And it’s not some cheater’s hack squat – his legs reach the 90 degree angle. Beast.
Let’s put Cal’s recent tight end history into perspective. Cal hasn’t had a really dangerous receiving threat at TE for a long time. Dykes didn’t have a TE spot. When Wilcox took over, Stephen Anderson was a tall receiver that they happened to call at TE on the roster. Injuries and dropsies stopped Ray Hudson from being great. Ian Bunting was tall and a decent blocker, but he was as slow as a 6’7” guy generally is (4.93 40 yard dash). Since then, Cal has had a stable of less tall guys who have not had statistically noticeable performances.
But that changes now. Cal now has three higher-ceiling guys – Jermaine Terry, Keleki Latu, and now Nick Morrow as physical freaks who need lots of development but could represent the mismatch threats of the future. But there’s a massive amount of development that has to happen. But I’d rather we gamble with the risky projects rather than settle for a more traditional TE recruit.