TAMPA – Sporting a beard since his freshman year, Robinson’s Eli Morris has always looked older than he really is. Last year, he played up to par in his first full season as a starter.
Moving from nose guard on JV freshman season to defensive end as a sophomore, the 6’1″, 215-pounder weighed 250 lbs before shedding 35 lbs. this past off-season. He had 25 tackles and a half-a-sack as a sophomore before posting 70 tackles (six for a loss), five sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery as a full-time starter last season.
His neighbor once asked him how college was and that was when Morris was just starting high school at Robinson three years ago. Now, he is set to start his second full season on varsity at a new position, outside linebacker.
Morris looked at home at outside backer in the spring jamboree against Plant and Jefferson this year.
“In the spring game, it was good,” Morris told Prep Sports Scouting. “I just had to get a couple reps in the game to really feel for it. It came together after those few plays.”
The Knights are fresh off a 5-5 showing a year ago. With a young core in place, Robinson is going to rely on key returnees and some new faces.
“We just have to be confident,” said Morris on how they can turn it around. “We are a young team so we have a couple of freshmen and sophomores, we have to be real coachable.”
Morris says the intensity has been really high lately in practice. That bodes well for head coach Shawn Taylor’s group. The fourth-year head coach has posted a 13-17 record in three seasons at Robinson. Morris says Taylor is a big help to him on an off the field.
“He [Taylor] encourages us a lot because he left college to coach us. He just motivates us and keeps us going. My relationship has grown from freshman year to this upcoming year. He’s helped me out a lot. He tells me to hang out with the right crowd.”
Getting a late start to his football career, Morris began picking up the sport at age 11 with the Northeast Bandits while living in St. Pete. His older brother Zaquan encouraged him to play.
Morris says he discovered his confidence in a game against Chamberlain.
“A guy tried to run through the a-gap and broke his ankle. When he tried to twist away he couldn’t get up. I felt like I was a force on the field then. I didn’t know my own strength.”
As for his biggest strengths, Morris said that is his strength and ability to make plays in the flat. He’s looking to improve his change of direction and containment.
Currently, he holds two offers from Southeast Missouri, Eastern Kentucky. Morris has also drawn interest from Florida A&M, Marshall, FIU and Samford
He has a visit to Eastern Kentucky set up in December and is planning another one to Southeast Missouri this season.
His biggest role model is his mother.
“She’s hardworking and provides for her family. It’s me, my big brother and little sister. She always makes sure that we have what we need.”
When Morris thinks big picture his ultimate goal is to make it to the NFL, but right now he’s focused on the task at hand.
“I just want to further my education. I’m not really thinking about the NFL, you got to get to college first. I just think about the next step and studying sports medicine in college.”
Last season, he shined at defensive end recording two sacks each against both Blake and Spoto. He also had three games with 10 or more tackles. The move to outside linebacker should pay him dividends.
Eli Morris is a very energetic kid who likes to be around the game. He will be getting more of his work at outside backer on tape this season and that will help him land more offers in the process.
Favorite player to watch – Tyrann Mathieu, Patrick Peterson, Marshawn Lynch, Julio Jones
Playlist before games – J. Cole, Rick Ross, Kodak Black
Favorite movie – The Blindside
Favorite TV show – Ink Master
Fun fact about you that you think no one knows – “I’m a pretty down to earth dude. People look at me because I have a big ole’ beard they think I’m a mean guy, but I’m a pretty cool guy.”
Nickname(s) from teammates or friends – “Zero”
Game film: Morris’s Hudl tape
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Jake Perper is the scout for Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.
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