2012??? That's right. 2012. Georgia is now up to two commitments for the class of 2012 with the commitment today of junior kicker Marshall Morgan of Archbishop McCarthy High in Miami. Morgan was also considering Florida State, which yesterday got a commitment from Groveland, Florida kicker Roberto Aguayo (H/T Tomahawk Nation). That appears to have cleared the way for Morgan to pull the trigger and commit to the 'Dawgs over offers from Florida and Virginia Tech. At least some Florida fans really wanted him, which is a bonus with every recruit. When a bluechip high school player chooses Georgia over Florida, an angel gets its wings. With our last nationally known kicker from south Florida graduating after next season, we needed a guy who could come in and start from day one. Marshall Morgan looks to be that guy.
Kickers are invariably underrated by the recruiting services, especially when you consider the number of times over the course of a given career in which the kicker singlehandedly influences the outcome of the game (hheeeelllllloooooo Andy Bailey!). So don't expect Morgan to ever become a 5 star recruit. He is one of 3 kickers on the ESPN 150 Watch List for 2012, which is an achievement in and of itself for a kicker. Morgan trains with Tim Conrad of BIGfoot Kicking in Plantation, Florida, who's trained such recent successful kickers as Auburn's Wes Byrum and Indianapolis Colt Brett Swenson. All of which is to say that Morgan's been competing against and training with some of the best kickers around.
Morgan hit 15 of 16 field goals during 2010, including a long of 53 yards. He also nailed 63 out of 64 extra points and booted 98% of his kickoffs into or through the endzone. Young Marshall could also serve as a punter if necessary, having averaged 43.8 yards per punt as a junior. That type of versatility is a huge selling point as far as I'm concerned. While it's unlikely he'll simultaneously start at kicker and punter in Athens, you never know when your punter will be kidnapped by Basque separatists or move to the Amazon to become an amateur naturalist. Things happen. You have to be prepared. More Morgan:
Obviously collegiate kickers don't kick off from the 40. But if you pulled out a tape measure Hoosiers-style, I'm pretty sure that most of those kickoffs would still land somewhere in the endzone. Jon Fabris would find this unchallenging and unamusing, of course, but that's beside the point. The point is that it's not even Signing Day 2011 and we already have a top player at a position of need for the class of 2012. Yeah us. And until later . . .
Further reading: Morgan putting his best foot forward. (Miami Herald)