|ESPN.com: 2012||[Print without images]|
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- When Shane Morris made his way down to Dallas from Michigan for the Elite 11 regional at the end of March, many expected Morris to win MVP and earn the golden ticket to the finals. Not only did Morris fail to bring home the ticket, he was not even among the six finalists.
He rectified that Friday -- and in enemy territory nonetheless.
At the Columbus Elite 11 regional, the Michigan commit from De La Salle (Warren, Mich.) was named MVP and will be headed to California for the Elite 11 finals this summer.
"I definitely came in with a chip on my shoulder," the left-handed quarterback said. "Down in Dallas I was disappointed. I obviously felt a lot better today. I had a great time and ripped it."
At the Dallas regional, the knock on Morris, ranked No. 37 in the ESPN 150, was he was not as consistent as he needed to be. Throughout each of the events and the two-minute drill at the end, Morris was on point with his passes.
"Consistency, accuracy, throwing a spiral and not throwing 100 percent," Morris said were some of the big improvements. Taking something off his fastball "is definitely something I tried to work hard on."
Matt Alviti (Northwestern commitment), Malik Zaire (Notre Dame), Ryan Burns (Stanford) and Danny Etling (Purdue) were among the quarterbacks in the top group along with Morris after the preliminary drills. Despite the rich talent in Dallas, Morris said it was the best group of quarterbacks he has seen together at one time.
"It's the best I've ever seen of quarterbacks in my class. Throw for throw, everyone was hitting their target," he said.
Despite competing in Columbus, Morris had some of his Michigan brethren rooting him on. Commits Taco Charlton, who lives just outside Columbus, and Logan Tuley-Tillman came out to cheer for Morris from start to finish.
The Michigan 2013 class is already close and calls itself Team 134, and Morris said it was great to have his future teammates with him.
"It was just awesome. The support I have from all my other commits, it's just an awesome thing," he said. "We're building a family already."
Etling vowed to rid himself of label
Entering the competition, Etling (Terre Haute, Ind./Terre Haute South Vigo) did not feel he was getting the respect a future Big Ten quarterback should. He received offers from three BCS programs and is committed to play at Purdue.
Still, he felt he needed to prove himself at the Elite 11 regional to show the naysayers he is deserving of his accolades.
"Everyone says my team's not that great, my record, and he can't play in the Big Ten," Etling said. "I wanted to show I can play with the best of them and I think I kind of did that."
One of the six finalists, Etling was still not entirely pleased with his performance. In the final drill, Etling struggled to complete passes as the clock ticked to zero.
Purdue fans can be happy that the school's future quarterback is never happy with just being around the top, though.
"I didn't perform how I wanted to. It's eating me up," he said.
Despite his solid performance at the camp, the Boilermakers don't have to worry a new team might steal Etling away. Etling does not foresee a decommitment.
"I just feel as long as Purdue doesn't do anything to make me decommit, I'm going to stick with them," said Etling, whose cousin played at Purdue. "I gave them my word, and that's all a man has in life."
Cozart ready to learn from one of the best
Montell Cozart spent three seasons under the tutelage of one Kansas' top high school coaches in Tim Grunhard at Bishop Miege in Shawnee Mission. Beginning in 2013, he will start learning from one of the best quarterback coaches.
Cozart is committed to play for Kansas, where Charlie Weis was named coach this offseason. A controversial figure at times, Weis is credited for helping mold three-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady and helping Brady Quinn to a first-round draft selection.
"His résumé is ridiculous," Cozart said. "He got [three] Super Bowls and coached Tom Brady, coached some of the elite quarterbacks at Florida and Notre Dame. That's something to look for in a coach."
A Kansas native, Cozart believes he can help turn around Kansas and bring the Jayhawks back to a BCS bowl game.
"I kind of want to bring back that swag to Kansas," he said. "They won the Orange Bowl in 2008, so I feel like why can't we get back there again?"
Trubisky offers no excuses
Mentor (Ohio) quarterback Mitch Trubisky was hardly disappointed in the way he competed at the regional, but he knew he could have done better. The four-star prospect, ranked No. 7 nationally among dual-threat quarterbacks, refused to use a tired arm as an excuse.
"We had two different schools come in, so I threw for them this week and also threw out to my wide receivers, but I don't think I overdid it," he said. "It was kind of an off day, not the best performance I could have done, but you just got to shake it off and keep going from there."
Friday's performance will hardly hurt Trubisky when it comes to recruiting. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound prospect has offers from the likes of Alabama, Michigan State, Ohio State and Tennessee, among others.
The Buckeyes already have one quarterback committed, but the staff could sign two in the 2013 class. Trubisky could be the frontrunner to join J.T. Barrett.
"I've heard that, depending on their scholarship situation because they have limited scholarships, they're going to go about their process and might only take one more," he said, "and if that's me I'm going to go in there with a 'you got to compete' mindset. It's not going to be an ugly battle, just going to be fair competition."