Jordan Morgan casts an imposing figure along the Marana Tigers’ offensive and defensive lines, striking fear in the hearts of opposing players each week.
The 6 foot, 7 inch senior has a blend of speed and strength that’s unmatched in the Tucson region, catching the eye of first-year University of Arizona Football Coach Kevin Sumlin and offensive line coach Joe Gilbert over the summer.
The young man’s efforts during his junior season, anchoring the Tigers’ offensive line from the tackle position, earned him a scholarship to play for Sumlin next fall.
It’s an offer that means the world to Morgan and his coach, Louie Ramirez, who formerly worked as a graduate assistant at Truman State and Northern Arizona universities.
For Morgan, staying close to home to continue his football career is a dream come true.
“It’s pretty breathtaking,” Morgan said. “It’s pretty crazy just being one of the first players from Marana. One little boy making it big, and I think they opened the gate and opened everyone’s eyes…hopefully more kids come here to play football.”
Ramirez believes Morgan has the potential to dominate his foes in the Pac-12 Conference and beyond going forward, given his commitment to the game. The Wildcats are getting the most athletic offensive tackle in the state, by Ramirez’s estimation.
“I said it when I first got here, this kid is a sleeper and I’m happy that he’s going to have an opportunity to pursue a high education and play at the next level, because not everybody gets that opportunity,” Ramirez said.
Morgan spent his summer months honing his craft, working on speed and footwork drills, while also upping his caloric intake to gain weight. He’s currently consuming 5,000 calories every day in order to pack extra weight onto his 270-pound frame.
Despite having to foot the grocery bill, Morgan said his parents were ecstatic when the UA scholarship offer came this summer. With that fiscal assurance, the young man said he’ll be able to concentrate on this education while at the university.
“[My parents] always tell me to just focus on school first and to get my grades right before thinking about football,” Morgan said. “So, that’s what I do.”
Ramirez commended Morgan on his selfless dedication to his studies and the game, calling the young man the type of quiet leader that demands respect from teammates.
“He’s locked in at school, he’s not on social media and he’s focused on the tasks at-hand,” Ramirez said. “He cares about his family so much. A guy like that… It’s great to see him succeed.”
Both Morgan and Ramirez hope that a commitment to the Wildcats will also open the door to recruitment opportunities for his teammates.
Ramirez hopes that Morgan’s triumphs will inspire other Tigers to put in the extra work on the field, in the weight room and the classroom to play in college.
“If you have one guy commit, a boatload of other coaches are going to come through just to see what he looks like and size him up,” Ramirez said. “I was a college coach, so I see the guys that still try to talk to him. It’s good, because it’s going to give a lot of our other guys the opportunity to be seen by coaches that come through here.”
Morgan’s main task at-hand is keeping his teammates, including senior quarterback Trenton Bourguet, healthy.
The Tigers are off to a hot start, defeating Horizon and Fairfax in their first two games, with a game against Catalina Foothills happening last Friday after deadline.
Morgan knows that his teammates have the opportunity to make a name for themselves nationally if they keep winning, playing in the ever-competitive Division 5A conference.
“I’m a leader now, so I’ve got to step up and make sure that everyone does everything right,” Morgan said. “Every rep needs to be done right in practice, and we need to do our best to get healthy.”
Morgan hopes to pursue his love of chemistry in college, while building better on-field chemistry with his future coaches and teammates in Tucson. He’s been impressed by the care that Sumlin and Gilbert have shown, checking in with him frequently to see how he’s doing.
“I like it because it shows that they care for each one of their players,” Morgan said. “They care that we’re healthy and doing well. I Feel like it’s a pretty special place for everyone.”