From his early commitment to Michigan back in May, 2011, to the disappointing showing in the recent Under Armour All-American Game, it's been one wild journey for 5-star quarterback Shane Morris.
Destined to be the future signal-caller for the Michigan Wolverines, Morris will arrive in Ann Arbor this summer with plenty to prove.
After a solid—if not spectacular—junior season for Warren (Mich.) De La Salle in 2011, Morris began his senior year on a similar note, completing just 40 of 83 passes for 456 yards, including three touchdowns and three interceptions.
He was then diagnosed with mononucleosis, which forced him to sit out the next three games.
After making a quick recovery, Morris was stellar against University of Detroit Jesuit, completing 17 of 22 in a 39-12 win. The left-hander was just ordinary in the season finale against Chandler Park, completing four of 11 attempts.
Next was his lackluster performance in the Under Armour Game, which caused his critics to question if he really had the goods to make it as a Division I quarterback.
According to 247Sports.com, Morris dropped from the 19th-rated recruit in November to the 81st rated recruit this month. Morris, while still a 5-star recruit with Scout.com, is now a 4-star with rivals.com.
Morris's supporters, however, see several reasons why he will be a successful starting quarterback for Michigan. Here are three of them.
Shane Morris might have thrown in the towel when he was diagnosed with mono early in the 2012 season.
After all, he already committed to Michigan, and missing the remainder of the season may have been best in the long run.
Instead, he returned to the lineup after only three weeks of rehabilitation, hoping to lead his teammates to a spot in the playoffs. Afterward, Morris went on to compete in the Under Armour All-American Game, exposing himself to the wrath of critics since he wasn't in top-notch playing shape.
Many Michigan fans are familiar with former Michigan coach Bo Schembechler's famous speech, "The Team, The Team, The Team."
Before Shane Morris dons the Maize and Blue for the first time, you can almost envision him reciting the speech in the not-too-distant future. Morris already has what it takes to be a successful coach.
Playing quarterback at a high level, Morris undoubtedly has a solid understanding of both the technical and leadership aspects of the game.
What's even better, Morris has already shown he's all about the team.
Throughout the recruiting season, Morris has been a non-stop spokesman for the Wolverines.
“Definitely, I'm just trying to get the best players in the country to come to Michigan,” Morris told freep.com. “In person, on Facebook or whatever I have to do to get a hold of them.”
Morris had a hand in recruiting several prospects of the 2013 class, especially 5-star safety Dymonte Thomas.
“I’ve been recruiting him hard,” Morris said, “He’s a great kid, and we’re really good friends."
There are few questions about Shane Morris's physical makeup. The 6'3", 202-pound southpaw has one of the strongest arms in the 2013 recruiting class.
Being rated that high allows the critics to get a closer look, so Morris's performance in the Under Armour All-American Game unveiled accuracy issues.
Whether there were lingering problems from his bout with mono, or that he played so little as a high school senior, might account for the problem.
In fact, Morris had totally different results at the Elite 11 in California last summer. Facing the top quarterbacks in the nation, Morris took top honors during part of the competition.
Morris earned the gold jersey after winning the accuracy contest in the morning, and he continued his fine play in 7-on-7 situations, reported Mike Farrell of Rivals.com. While all of the quarterbacks have been encouraged to check down quickly, Morris keeps his eyes downfield longer than others and used his cannon of an arm to fit the ball into tight windows.
Perhaps the best thing in Morris's favor is that he won't be forced to start as a freshman. Devin Gardner will most likely have the job for the next two seasons, although Morris might be ready to step in if needed.