In the Mid-American Conference, home to the 2-star-prospects-turned-high-NFL-Draft-pick special, it's not often an elite high school talent commits to one of the schools. But that's exactly what happened Saturday when 4-star (247Sports) Green Bay, Wisconsin quarterback James Morgan announced his decision to commit to the Bowling Green Falcons.
"It was the staff and how important they've been to me and how they came across as really wanting me there, and I really appreciated that," Morgan told Hustle Belt of why he chose the Falcons. "They're shown me a lot of support.
"Also the fact that this staff produced Jimmy Garoppolo, I think was a big thing that helped me make a decision."
Since Dino Babers was hired as the new BGSU head football coach this past December, all anyone had on their mind was offense, and what an impact Babers' up-tempo Baylor-style basketball-on-the-gridiron system could have on the MAC. Now we've gotten our first taste: luring in elite-level quarterback talent is just the first step.
The first-year Falcons head coach wrapped up his second season at Eastern Illinois in December; a season in which his quarterback threw for over 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in an offense that averaged just shy of 50 points a game. Before taking the EIU job two years ago Babers was on Art Briles' staff, helping run a system that produced Robert Griffin III. Babers offense isn't just a gimmick, he has proven he can elevate players to their max potential, while shredding defenses. That was no't lost on Morgan.
"It's extremely exciting ...," Morgan said of the potential to soon run Babers' offense. "Obviously they've showed that they can get a quarterback to that level, to the next level, and can be drafted by the Patriots and that's just something that is very cool to think about in the future."
The 6-foot-4, 215 pound pro-style quarterback from Ashwaubenon High School has the potential to be an NFL quarterback in the future. He has a cannon of an arm, great pocket presence and the intangibles of leadership and an understanding of the game which are hard to teach. There are several schools he could have committed to that would have still put him in a position to reach the next level, including Central Michigan and Ball State, both of which have offered him, and Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh, but the opportunity to run such an up-tempo offense, along with the comfort level he felt with Bowling Green pushed the scales in the Falcons' favor.
"It was something I had been really thinking about all week ... so after talking for a long time with my parents, I came to the decision, and I called [Bowling Green] and they seemed pretty excited," Morgan said of his decision.
"They've came across a lot as really wanting me a lot in that program, which is something I've really appreciated. They've shown a lot of support in me. They're very nice and classy guys. I think a lot of schools that have recruited me have showed that attitude too, and I was really appreciative of them as well. But I think [Bowling Green] went the right way about it, really showed real interest, and that's something I really appreciated."
Morgan says he's developed a close bond with the coaching staff, and that with the mix of BG's academic status, the school and the coaching staff's recent success with building winning programs, and the fit in the system and relationship with the staff were perfect fits for him.
"I'd rather go to a program that would like me there and that I'm a better fit with than just a big name program just for the sake of it being a big name program."
The fit seems perfect, even from an observer's standpoint. We've seen what Babers could do with a talent like Garoppolo—a 2 star prospect, knocked for having small hands—but now he has an elite quarterback prospect in his 2015 class, a player some have ranked as high as a Top 10 pro-style quarterback in the nation, to groom from the start in his system.
It could be dangerous, especially with some of the younger pieces already in place at BG. Two of the team's top receivers are only sophomores, and the team brought in some talented weapons in the 2014 class as well. While this isn't the first 4-star quarterback to choose the MAC—Brogan Roback, a Top 20 quarterback in the class of 2013, chose EMU—one coming into a system with the potential of BG's, a program already heading in the right direction, could tear the MAC up like never before.
And though Morgan will undoubtedly have more offers rolling in until he can sign in Feburary, Bowling Green fans should feel confident that Morgan will someday where the orange and brown.
"I'm not going to worry about that stuff," Morgan said when asked about potential offers coming in from Power 5 schools. "I'm just going to control what I an control, but I'm pretty positive that I'm going to Bowling Green.
"I've got to focus on what I can control and do what I can do and hopefully do some damage in the league with these coaches, and I think it's a great opportunity to do that."
Check out Morgan's highlights, courtesy of Hudl: