The De La Salle (Warren, Mich.) football team clinched a Division 1 playoff spot last week, and nobody will be able to say the Pilots got there bereft of quality opponents. The team has played one of the most challenging schedules in the state, week after week going head to head against nationally and state-ranked squads.
But thanks to a stellar quarterback, the Pilots have managed to navigate the schedule and win more than its fair share of games. That quarterback is junior Shane Morris.
Morris played perhaps his best game of the season last week against Plymouth (Canton, Mich.), which was ranked No. 2 in the state in the POWERADE Michigan Weekly Rankings. Morris led his Pilots to a big fourth quarter rally to hand Plymouth its first loss of the season. He threw for 364 yards and three scores in the game.
And in De La Salle’s opening-round playoff game against Roseville this past weekend, Morris completed 11-of-16 passes for 109 yards and two scores.
The stellar Class of 2013 signal-caller has been a bright spot all year long. He’s thrown for more than 1,500 yards and 16 touchdowns while tossing only five interceptions. And Morris says his team hasn’t been concerned at all about the tough slate of games week after week.
“We have one of the toughest schedules in Michigan,” he says. “But I think that’s good for us. The season’s going really well and I think we’ve gotten better each week.”
Morris has already made his college commitment, pledging to Michigan before his junior season had begun. So what’s the scoop on this tremendously talented junior and soon-to-be Wolverine? It’s time to Get Familiar with Shane Morris.
ESPNHS: Do you remember getting your first college offer?
Morris: Yeah, definitely. My first offer was from Cincinnati. They called my dad and told him they were going to offer me. It was a huge honor. I think I even cried. It was my dream coming true.
ESPNHS: And then they just kept coming. Were you surprised by the attention?
Morris: It was a huge surprise for me. It was my dream, my goal was to play Division I football. I’ve been working hard for it my whole life.
ESPNHS: It’s gotten to be a pretty big deal for you. Is it still fun?
Morris: Definitely, always. I’m always having fun. That’s why we play. Even when I’m losing, I’m still out there having fun. I think it’s an honor that I’m even playing football.
ESPNHS: What’s been your favorite game so far?
Morris: My freshman year, I got called up to varsity for the first time. Our quarterback got hurt so they called me up from the freshman team to start my first game. I think it was against Grosse Pointe North (Grosse Pointe, Mich.). The first series I fumbled the ball and we lost it. But then I came back and I threw a 50-yard touchdown pass. It was the craziest thing. I remember I looked up at the student section and just took it all in.
ESPNHS: You’ve come a long way since then. What have you done to continue to improve?
Morris: In the offseason and during the winter I work out five times a week. I lift weights three days a week and the other days I’m doing core exercises. I throw three or four times a week. I’m working hard every day trying to get better. I’m just trying to reach my goals.
ESPNHS: So what do you need to improve on?
Morris: Everything. I’m trying to improve on everything. I’ll never be perfect. Right now I’m working on my footwork and on being more patient in the pocket. And then just getting more of the mental aspect down, reading defenses, stepping up in the pocket and making my throws.
ESPNHS: You’ve committed to Michigan. What’s it about the Wolverines that made them the right fit?
Morris: I grew up a Michigan fan. I grew up watching Michigan football. So when they offered, that was a huge honor for me. But I wanted to check it out a little more, so I visited the campus, met (head coach) Brady Hoke, and I just loved it. They treat everyone like they’re family.
ESPNHS: You also committed really early. Why?
Morris: One of the reasons is because of watching all of the high school athletes who are older than me. All of the big superstars go through the process of recruiting, with every school calling and getting all the mail, and it started happening for me. I picked up four offers in one week, and there are coaches at my school every day. And I was getting really tired of it. I didn’t want that to happen for the next two years. I just wanted to play football. So it’s something I wanted to get over with. Plus for me there was no reason not to go to Michigan.
ESPNHS: Is there one quarterback you really model yourself after?
Morris: I try to model myself after Tom Brady. He’s the best. He’s so calm in the pocket.
School: De La Salle (Warren, Mich.)
TV Show: “Glee”
Movie: “Friday Night Lights”
Actor: Adam Sandler
Athlete: Tom Brady
Musical Artist: Mac Miller
Clothing Line: Nike
Video Game: “NCAA Football 12”
Car: Rolls-Royce Phantom
Sports Team: Michigan Wolverines
NEXT UP: De La Salle plays Warren Mott (Warren, Mich.) in the second round this weekend.