How do you get to college on a Scholarship? Is it the camps and combines? What if your not listed in the ratings lists or the All State Awards? What if you don' t even have an All League Award or anyone covering your story? Can you still make it?
Well if you follow the plan that Crater High School's RJ Morgan did you can.
Granted he is from Central Point which is a long way down the State of Oregon and along way from the recruiting hotbeds. But while we were busy covering his amazing team mate Derrick Turituri and his big offer to Oregon State RJ was working out his own plan. In fact none of us "Network Types" had a bead on this guy. And that was of little concern to him. Because his way to college was his own and it is the system that has been used for decades and it still works.
"I sent out packets to schools and coaches. My Mom and Dad helped me and so did my Coach. We made highlight film and sent that and all of my information to a lot of schools," said RJ. "The response was excellent and a lot of schools contacted me back."
One of those schools was Arizona and now with only an unofficial visit under his belt he not only has been offered by the Wildcats but has accepted.
"It is a done deal. I spoke to them today and verbally committed to play for the University of Arizona after I am done at Crater," he said overjoyed from the Airport in Tucson as we spoke by phone.
He has not worked out for the Wildcats and said they do not need to see anymore on him.
"On my film they said they loved my versatility. They loved my ability to cover deep and short routes and to be there for run support too. Overall they want to use me as a hybrid DB and Line Backer depending on the coverage that is needed."
But how does a kid from Crater High School go from not even a small school offer all the way to the Pac 12 and without any help from anyone outside his circle?
"Hard work. Period. We set our a plan. We executed the plan. And I never stop working. We sent out information and followed up. I worked with out trainer to transform myself into a bigger faster athlete. They loved my film last year when I was 195 pounds. Now I am 215 pounds and right at 6'2". If you want something you have to go get it as it is sure not going to come to you. So we worked on recruiting together and I work all the time to be the best," said RJ in a business like manner.
His film shined as well of course. And as we have stated time and again the "Eye In The Sky Doesn't Lie". Arizona was attracted to his information and stellar resume and his 3.8 Plus GPA. That got his foot in the door. That film took care of the rest.
Here is a link to his film! http://www.hudl.com/athlete/687728/highlights/1960384 The quality is very good! Hats off to Crater for doing that and supporting RJ and all their kids in a way that allows this type of offer to happen.
Why Arizona and why so fast to commit?
"Tucson was amazing first of all. The heat is not an issue at all for me. That was a plus. Then it was the people and the direction they are going. All of the staff and the Coaches have a clear vision of winning the Rose Bowl within a few years and that I believe can happen," he said. "The thing I liked most is that they are changing the recruiting to go after guys who don't just like football but love it. Guys like me. That was what I wanted to hear. The passion at Arizona is amazing and I knew right away I had to be a part of it!"
In his spare time RJ plays Basketball and Baseball and says both sports help him a ton on the grid iron. He lives with his Mother and Father and a younger Sister and Brother and is a Central Point native!
So the question had to arise. Would he try and bundle a deal for he and his team mate Turituri who also holds an offer from Arizona?
"No. He actually really likes it there too. But he has to travel his own path and make his own decisions. But that would sure be great wouldn't it."
Now to all of you who have gone to every camp and clinic and showcase event ask yourself this. Have you sent information to 5 schools? 10 schools? 20 schools? Have you made sure your film is the best it can be and have you focused on college coaches and programs the majority of your efforts? Because if you have not your probably going about this the wrong way.
What does RJ Morgan, the guy who went from no offers to the Pac 12, advise athletes to do?
"My message is that you have to dream big. You have to improve yourself and do all of the things needed to get better. Then take responsibility for your own recruiting and get after it. Have a plan and stick to it," he concluded.
What a great kid and a great story. We have had him on our watch lists since last year but have never featured a story or ever caught up to him. And while we feel foolish now it makes it all the better that he was the ultimate under the radar guy! Way to go RJ! Way to go.