After battling for playing time with Jacory Harris for the better part of his freshman and sophomore seasons, Miami quarterback Stephen Morris was finally given the full-time starting job as a junior. He didn’t disappoint.
In 2012, Morris threw for 3,345 yards, 21 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. Beyond the stats, he showed the poise and leadership Hurricane fans had been wanting to see from their quarterback for years. Thanks to a self-imposed bowl ban, Morris wasn’t able to play in a bowl game, but he will have plenty of opportunities to play on a national stage this fall.
He’s not considered one of the top two or three prospects for the 2014 NFL Draft at the moment, but that could change with another outstanding year in Coral Gables in 2013.
Here’s a look at his strengths and weaknesses as an NFL QB prospect.
-Displays outstanding pocket presence as the pocket collapses
-Has played in a pro style system at Miami
-Has impressive arm strength, can drive the ball to all levels with nice velocity
-Shows good eye discipline and can manipulate the secondary to his advantage
-Throws well from the pocket, as well as on the move
-Keeps his eyes downfield as he moves subtly within the pocket
-Mechanics aren’t perfect, but he has a quick release that allows him to get the ball out on time
-Throws the deep ball with excellent touch
-Works through his progressions well, doesn’t get tunnel vision
-Takes smooth, efficient drops from under center
-Does a nice job using the snap count to disrupt the defensive pass rush
-Only threw seven interceptions as a junior, knows where to miss, doesn’t take risks
-Solid athlete, will take off and run when it’s appropriate
-Had a low completion percentage in 2012 (58.2 percent)
-Ball placement on underneath throws is inconsistent
-Ball handling in play action pass concepts isn’t ideal
-Needs to protect himself better when he takes off and runs
-Footwork can get sloppy on occasion (could account for inaccurate throws)
-Could get more on his throws with improved weight transfer, though his arm is excellent
-Sometimes rushes throws in the quick game and throws off balance (hurts accuracy)
Miami’s offense is loaded with playmakers in 2013, giving Morris the chance to shine as a senior. He’ll be playing behind an experienced offensive line that only gave up 17 sacks last season. In addition, the running game will continue to improve as dynamic playmaker Duke Johnson is back.
Leading receiver Phillip Dorsett will once again be the favorite target for Morris, but it doesn’t end there. Rashawn Scott was second on the team in receiving and has shown explosive capabilities with the ball in his hands. Also, Malcolm Lewis is set to return from a gruesome knee injury and could develop as the year progresses. Finally, true freshman Stacy Coley has looked outstanding to start camp and could be too talented to keep on the sideline.
The Hurricanes have high expectations in 2013, and a lot of that has to do with their confidence in their senior signal-caller. Morris can vault himself up a lot of draft boards with all the talent he has around him this fall.
2014 NFL Draft Projection: Fourth Round