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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Morrison stands out

Morrison stands out

Arizona’s endless depth and talent at receiver makes it easy for wideouts not named Juron Criner and Dan Buckner to get lost in the shuffle.

But sophomore inside receiver Richard Morrison found a way to separate himself from the pack in Saturday’s spring game as he hauled in four balls for 63 yards and two touchdowns.

“”It felt amazing to get back out here,”” Morrison said. “”My whole plan was to get out here and do my best because I didn’t do as good in the spring as I thought I should do. So, I figured I should make every catch and try to score every time I touch the ball.””

Morrison showcased his speed and agility as he turned a Nick Foles dump-off into a 23-yard touchdown with ease. Bryson Beirne also found Morrison streaking down the middle of the field for a 26-yard score as the 6-foot, 180-pound receiver made a tough grab before falling into the end zone.

“”Richard’s come on. He’s a playmaker and he gives us another skill guy that can really move when he catches the football,”” said head coach Mike Stoops. “”He’s very illusive.””

“”He’s shifty,”” Buckner added. “”He’s caught the ball well, and he stepped up big today.””

But Saturday’s spring game wasn’t the first time Morrison’s stepped up. The Royce City, Texas, native caught six balls for 66 yards in the 2010 Valero Alamo Bowl, and also had what would have been his first touchdown of the season called back because of a penalty.

After redshirting in 2009, Morrison played sparingly during his freshman season, finishing with only 19 catches for 188 yards. Although his numbers weren’t stellar, the 20-year-old came to play when his number was called, and his Alamo Bowl performance gave him the necessary confidence to take a big leap into his sophomore season.

“”I think I matured a lot more,”” Morrison said. “”I’m learning more and I’m starting to read the defense better so I know what plays to run, what routes to run so I’m real comfortable at the position. And I’m looking to do even better this year.””

Morrison’s made quite the transition during the last couple of seasons, transforming from a starting high school quarterback into a slot receiver in college. He played receiver as well in high school, but mostly stood out as a quarterback throwing for 2,472 yards and 22 scores in 2008 to finish his three-year career with 77 touchdown passes.

Buckner, also a Texas product, watched Morrison play quarterback in high school, and he liked what he saw.

“”I think he threw like an 80-yard bomb at the end of the game to win it,”” he said. “”I saw him 1-for-1 as a quarterback, and when you get wins at quarterback you’re playing pretty well.””

Morrison said he still feels like he could also play quarterback, but his greatest potential is now at wide receiver despite a corps full of talented wideouts.

“”Every time people ask me questions they ask about Juron or David Douglas, but having second string guys that can step up and make big plays, it’s great to have,”” Buckner said. “”When you have inside receivers that can get so much attention, it opens you up on the outside.””

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