Names to know Part 4: Jonah Morris (ATH/WR)

Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports /

Over the next couple of weeks I will be discussing some Indiana football players that you may have not heard of but should keep an eye on. Some of these players have flown under the radar as recruits, transferred to Indiana from high profile schools, or been forced to sit out a year due to various reasons.

Unlike all of the previous players covered in this five-part series, Jonah Morris didn’t transfer from a high profile school. He’s not a 4-star recruit, and he doesn’t have a guaranteed starting position. What Morris does have is raw talent.

Like the last player discussed, Jayme Thompson, Morris is also an Ohio kid who dreamed of suiting up for the Buckeyes. Ohio State came calling, recruiting Morris throughout the whole process, but all along they knew Morris was a consolation prize. The Buckeyes were keeping their ties with Morris until they knew the decision of 4-star recruit, Binjimen Victor. Once Victor committed to Ohio State, they kicked Morris to the curb.

While the Buckeyes were his first choice, the high school All-American had other suitors offering scholarships, along the likes of powerhouses, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Wisconsin.

Jonah Morris originally committed to play for the Spartans during May, going into his senior season before decommitting during November and committing to Indiana instead.

Mark Dantonio. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Mark Dantonio. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

However, he informed Coach Dantonio that he would like to visit other schools, but Michigan State is still at the top of his list. Traditionally, Mark Dantonio has dropped players that want to visit other schools, therefore its unknown if Dantonio forced Morris to leave, or if Morris truly decommitted on his own terms.

Morris played his high school ball at Archbishop Hoban high school in Akron. For those Big Ten diehard fans, the name might sound familiar because it was the alma mater to the 2005 Big Ten Freshman of the year, Tyrell Sutton from Northwestern.

During his time in high school the accolades Morris accumulated were insurmountable. He was named an All-American, a first team all-state/district/league selection, and the defensive player of the year to go along with all-around player of the year. Morris is known for being an offensive juggernaut at wide receiver, but he also tore it up on the defensive side of the ball as he played all over the secondary. This past season he lead the Knights to a 14-win season and their first state championship in school history.

His statistics in high school are all over the board as he played wide receiver, defensive back and kick returner. Morris’s senior season was a complete success, along with the state title he hauled in 38 passes for 784 yards to go along with nine touchdowns. While those numbers are impressive, they’re not typical of a kid being offered by the premier teams in the country.

These numbers have look decent to the naked eye, but many don’t know that Hoban’s workhouse is running back Todd Sibley. Sibley is a 4-star prospect, ranked #177 in the ESPN 300 and held offers from Ohio State and Michigan before he committed to Pittsburgh. The offense at Hoban goes through Sibley, they’re a dominant running team that rarely throws the ball. Therefore, those numbers that Morris put up look pretty respectable now. Oh and did I mention that Sibley was a 2,000 yard rusher last season?

Morris also excelled on the defensive side of the ball, playing free safety and cornerback during his high school days. He finished the season with 41 tackles, 4 fumble recoveries and a pair of interceptions. While he played on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, he also has experience on special teams as he returned kickoffs periodically during his senior season. This versatility is what convinced IU coaches to label him as an athlete coming into his freshman season. 

As we are further along in the offseason and the start of college football is upon us, the coaching staff likes to specify positions, instead of throwing them in that wishy-washy athlete category. Most positions have been announced and Morris is back to his true position, wide receiver.

This is a positive and a negative for Morris, while this is his true position and the one he had hoped to play in college, Indiana’s wide receiver core is absolutely stacked from Simmie Cobbs Jr., to Mitchell Paige, to Ricky Jones, even Nick Westbrook.

If Jonah does have one thing going for him, its his size. Listed at 6’4 and 198 lbs, he is the biggest wide receiver on the roster. The only other players that can match Morris’s 6’4 frame are Simmie Cobbs Jr. and Donavan Hale.

This makes Morris one of the only receivers on the roster that has the ability to go up and get the ball at its apex, snatching it away from smaller opposing defensive backs. Look for the Hoosiers to use Morris in goal line situations alongside Cobbs and throw him a jump ball against a slighted cornerback.

Before Morris is thrust into the action, Kevin Wilson and the coaching staff must feel like Morris is prepared and ready for the next level. Coach Wilson has been reluctant to play true freshman in recent years, redshirting them until they are prepared. Although, with the raw talent that Morris possesses, it will be hard for Wilson to keep him off the field.

Next: Names to know Part 3: Jayme Thompson (DB/Husky)