Friday, April 23, 2010
Old connections helped Morgan's résumé
By Paul Kuharsky ESPN.com
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Cross-checking with old friends can be a very valuable thing at draft time.
Derrick Morgan had a number of coaches vouch for him before the Titans drafted him.
Titans defensive line coach Jim Washburn did with first-round pick Derrick Morgan, and Washburn said his phone was buzzing with text messages Thursday night about the two being a perfect marriage.
Joe D’Alessandris was the Chan Gailey assistant who led the recruiting charge to pull Morgan to Georgia Tech over Ohio State, Penn State, Miami and Boston College. He also just happened to have coached with Washburn way back when they were both starting out and Washburn was the defensive coordinator at Livingston College in 1979.
“Joe’s my best friend in coaching,” Washburn said. “… He told me Derrick was the most unusual high school player he’d ever seen, everything he did was just so intense. Joe said this is a great match, me and Derrick being together.”
Giff Smith, who coached defensive line at Georgia Tech, worked as a graduate assistant for Arkansas when Washburn was there. Like D’Alessandris, Smith now works for Gailey with the Buffalo Bills.
And before Livingston and Arkansas, when Washburn and Titans scout Cole Proctor were at Lees McRae College, a high school coach used to visit them to talk football. Paul Johnson’s now the head man for the Yellow Jackets.