Goodbye, Desmond Morgan

Goodbye, Desmond Morgan

March 4, 2016

Desmond Morgan 801x

Morgan attended Holland (MI) West Ottawa, where he was a quarterback and inside linebacker. As a senior he threw for 519 yards and 5 touchdowns, while also running for 802 yards and 11 touchdowns. He committed to Michigan in December of 2010 as a part of the 2011 recruiting class, and I gave him a TTB Rating of 76 (LINK). A 3-star prospect across the board, Michigan only had to beat out the likes of Northwestern and some MAC programs for his commitment.

Hit the jump for more on Morgan’s career.

Morgan enrolled in the summer of 2011 and immediately started battling for the starting weakside linebacker position. He was behind more athletic players like Brandon Herron and Brandin Hawthorne to begin, but he still started seven games as a freshman (63 tackles, 4 TFLs, 1 sack. 1 FR. 1 PBU). He was a full-time starter in 2012 and notched career highs in tackles and tackles for loss (81 tackles, 5.5 TFLs, .5 sacks, 2 PBUs). His solid play continued in 2013 with 79 tackles, 4.5 TFLs, 1 sack, 1 INT returned for 29 yards, 1 FF, 1 FR, and 3 PBUs). That one interception was a highlight-reel, one-handed, leaping snag of a pass during crunch time in a victory over UConn. Morgan was expected to help anchor the defense again in 2014, but a shoulder injury derailed his season after just one game (6 tackles) and he was awarded a medical hardship. He returned as a fifth year senior in 2015 and started eleven games (71 tackles, 2 TFLs, 1 sack, 1 INT, 1 FF, 3 PBUs).

300 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, 2 interceptions (for 29 yards), 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, and 9 pass breakups

Academic All-Big Ten (2012, 2013)
Roger Zatkoff Award for team’s top linebacker (2015)
#48 Legends Jersey in honor of Gerald Ford

Morgan overachieved in a lot of ways. For a 3-star recruit who was not respected much for his athleticism, he came into Michigan, started, and played pretty well as a true freshman. That’s a pretty outstanding feat, especially considering that his freshman year was spent on a pretty good defense that helped win a Sugar Bowl. Morgan played solidly from the beginning of his career, but he did not improve a great deal beyond that. His pass drops and coverage awareness improved; his speed and explosiveness continued to be a bit of a weakness. As a four-year starter, he did not have a ton of big plays but he could always be counted on for consistent play in the middle.

…that interception against UConn in 2013. It was a one-handed stab to help seal a Michigan win that would have been a devastating and embarrassing loss otherwise.

At 6’1″ and 236 lbs. as a senior, Morgan has decent size for a 4-3 middle linebacker in the NFL. However, his speed is lacking, and he does not change direction well. He was not invited to the NFL Combine, and Michigan’s pro day has yet to take place, but I would guess his 40 time is somewhere around a 4.8. He was a solid player in college; however, I don’t think he has the speed to be a big success in today’s pass-happy NFL game.There are no character concerns. I do not think Morgan will be drafted, but he might have a chance to make a squad as an undrafted free agent. I would not expect him to have a long pro career.


  1. Lanknows
    Comments: 5801
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Mar 04, 2016 at 1:02 PM

    It is a little surprising that he wasn’t even invited to the combine.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3501
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Mar 05, 2016 at 6:02 PM

      I didn’t find it all that surprising. He wasn’t a huge playmaker in college and isn’t a great athlete. I figured he would be a guy who would have to make a name for himself at Michigan’s pro day if he was going to get a chance to get drafted.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 5801
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Mar 05, 2016 at 6:33 PM

        All true, but most 4-year starters in a power 5 conference team, especially ones at prestige programs like Michigan, will get a shot when they are as productive as Morgan.

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