Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Allen's Morris, Williams land with SEC schools
By Jeff Andrews
ALLEN, Texas -- Alec Morris had a feeling Alabama would eventually offer him a scholarship.
The Allen quarterback was invited to the Tide's camp over the summer, and both parties came away impressed. Alabama even invited him back for another workout.
"I just feel at home there," Morris said.
Allen quarterback Alec Morris signed with Alabama, which wasn't the first school to offer him a scholarship.
But Morris had to wait as the defending national champions considered their options at quarterback. The offer didn't come until the middle of the 2011 season, well after Morris had committed to Wake Forest.
When the offer did come, he took a week to discuss it with his family and made the decision to switch to Alabama. Morris made it official Wednesday morning by signing a letter of intent to play for Alabama at a huge ceremony featuring 32 athletes at Allen's indoor practice facility.
"They had always been there after I worked out, calling me every week or so," Morris said. "They were always in contact with me. I felt like it was a matter of time."
What Alabama was waiting on was Gunner Kiel, one of the top quarterback prospects in the nation. Alabama was in hot pursuit of Kiel, who ended up committing and decommitting to both Indiana and LSU before signing with Notre Dame on Wednesday.
When Kiel committed to Indiana, the Tide moved on to Morris, who threw for 3,242 yards and 35 touchdowns in his second season as Allen's starter.
"Kiel committed to Indiana and that's when they jumped on me," Morris said.
Allen rarely has players switch commitments. Head coach Tom Westerberg attributes that to the way his staff prepares players for the recruiting process.
Shortly after signing day, Westerberg invites all freshmen, sophomores and juniors to a meeting that explains what it takes to play at the next level and what players need to do to prepare both on and off the field.
The work Allen's staff does in the recruiting process also helps ward off the third parties that offer workout or recruiting services that have popped up over the last four years.
"Those people are in it for the money," Westerberg said. "They ask players to pay them money and when we do the same thing for free. We try to keep our kids away from all those recruiting services."
But this year Allen had not just Morris switch commitments, but running back Jonathan Williams as well. And both are heading to the SEC.
While Morris had just three offers -- Wake Forest, North Texas and eventually Alabama -- Williams had more than a dozen, but he managed to narrow it down to two schools -- Missouri and Arkansas.
Williams, who rushed for 1,169 yards and 12 touchdowns in an injury-riddled season, committed to Missouri in the spring, but Arkansas didn't give up on him.
The Razorbacks kept calling Williams and got him to take a trip to the campus. Meanwhile, Missouri backed off, allowing Arkansas to slip in.
"They were persistent," Williams said of Bobby Petrino's staff. "When a coaching staff is that interested in you to stay persistent after you commit to another school, they obviously want you bad. I took that into consideration."