Lamar Bell does not claim excellent foresight for the recruitment of Nicholas Morrow.
In his first three seasons at Huntsville High School, Alabama, Morrow played in the forward lineup before switching to linebacker, but Bell watched enough movies to know that Morrow would be one of the best athletes in the then-Greenville College defense.
The possibility of the NFL – let alone a career now entering its sixth season – was not a topic of conversation.
Bell, who was then a defense assistant and now assistant head coach / defense coordinator, spoke with Morrow about becoming a biologist and potentially entering the medical field because Division III players almost always have to plan their lives off the field after college.
There weren’t many other suggestions tomorrow. Although he lived in Hansville, his family was from St. Louis, about 45 miles southwest of the school now known as the University of Greenville. Morrow’s father was a pastor and Greenville was a Christian school. These three factors were enough to get the coaches attracted to him.
And that’s how the Chicago Bears ’newest midfielder began what he called a“ humble ”football trip to a southern Illinois college with about 1,000 people.
“I was probably just as shocked as anyone else,” Bell said of Morrow’s rise in the NFL. “I knew he was talented, but I’ve never played at that level and have no idea what they’re looking for in terms of talent at that level, so seeing it was really cool.
“But if there’s anyone who could do it, he was gifted and smart enough to handle everything they were going to throw at him. And then he will definitely be disciplined enough to work the way he needs to work to succeed. That’s what he did. “
The talent gap
Greenville coach Robbie Schomaker is talking about Morrow in the highest degree.
The smartest player he coached. The most industrious. The introvert, who is also a dynamic public speaker and delivered a team speech, is “probably better than any speech I’ve given in front of a team”.
Signs were on Morrow’s freshman as he jumped between linebackers and security rooms, Bell said.
Tomorrow bypassed almost everyone in football training. He quickly scored coaching points.
By the end of the year, when Greenville were defeated 67-0 in a National Christian Athletics Colleges Association match against Division II Azusa Pacific, Morrow looked one of the few Panthers players to belong, Schomaker said.
Work ethic helped him rise. He wanted to get faster, so he turned to a sprint coach for help. Schomaker caught him in the gym or on the field when he performed workouts and falls at night and on weekends. And there were weeks when he watched more movies than some of the coaches, quenching his thirst for football knowledge.
“He didn’t talk like the first year and a half, so it took a while to find out,” Schomaker said. “We knew he was smart from the start, but it seems he just thrives on Xs and Os, schematics and watching movies.”
After the second season, Morrow entered the conversation with the NFL when Shoemaker began contacting the Scouts. Morrow’s measurable performance on the days of junior-professionals in Division II McCandry was strong, and attention increased so much that scouts from 20 NFL teams visited Greenville, a novelty that was cool and distracting teammates who weren’t used to such people.
Morrow ended his career as the first in the history of the American Football Coaches Association’s second-team All-American team. He did not participate in the NFL reconnaissance plant, but ran 4.52 seconds in a 40-yard run on Northwestern Professional Day as he prepared for his next move.
“There have been cases where he is bored here,” Schomaker said. “Just the talent gap was so big in some games that when I saw him play with an advantage, we played with the best teams on our schedule. … Later in his career some young guys on the team will be intimidated by him and he will be very upset by this because every time he wants their best kick so he can get better ”.
Soon this will not be a problem.
“A completely different language”
Bell and Morrow still exchange text messages once a week depending on the time of year, fighting off each other. Morrow’s interest in football led both Shoemaker and Bell to believe that he should take up coaching when his playing career is over.
“When he gets back to town and we’re in the office, I could schedule things on my calendar, but I could also get rid of them,” Bell said. “Because we’re going to talk about football for four or five hours.”
Morrow believes his research helped him move to the NFL after the Auckland Raiders signed him as an undefeated free agent in 2017 to play linebacker. (Kansas City Chiefs – and now Bears CEO Ryan Poles – were also interested in signing him up to play security, Morrow Said Jeff Joniak of the Bears last week.)
He did not understand many schemes – “for me a completely different language,” – said Morav. And he went from security to linebacker. So he came to the Raiders early every day and chose a couple of plays to study them until he stopped them.
“You have to have that kind of work ethic,” Morav said. “It’s not necessarily talent, if you’re in the league, it’s important to stay in the league. You do it knowing a lot of football and being able to play hard and fast. ”
Morrow played in 62 games and made 29 starts with the Raiders in the first four seasons. In 2020, he set career figures in 11 starts: 78 saves, eight saves, three goals, six defenders, nine assists and interceptions.
Entering training camp in 2021, when Morrow was to play on an annual deal of $ 4.5 million, the then Raiders coach John Gruden told reporters in Las Vegas that Moore was on the rise and had a chance to be captain of the team.
“He has a chance to make a difference for us in the middle of our defense,” Gruden said. “Time will tell. We still have a long way to go, but I really like it.”
But instead Morrow spent the season in rehab after suffering an ankle sprain that required rope surgery in the preseason. As soon as he was able to walk again, he returned from his home to the command complex and sat at each meeting, taking notes and watching a movie.
Moore said he would have played in the second game of the Raiders playoffs if they had defeated the Cincinnati Bengals. Instead, he went to a free agency, where he signed a one-year contract with the Poles and new coach Matt Eberflus for $ 2.5 million.
“The (Eberflus) summary speaks for itself,” Morow said. “It’s in the tape, right? You see what he has done in India, with their changes, the protection they have had together, and the staff they have gathered here. … In the off-season I will come back and watch defenses and the like, so I was familiar with some of his schemes ”.
Schomaker estimated that the Greenville football team could attract up to 2,000 fans on their way home, but he acknowledged that those numbers could drop to hundreds during rain or snow.
A typical turnout failed tomorrow, often involving fans pulling up lawn chairs near the curb instead of sitting in small stands.
“Maybe 100, including the band,” Morow said last week at Halas Hall during his introductory press conference.
So obviously a step towards playing on Soldier Field would be travel.
At the annual NFL meetings this week, Poles and Eberflus will talk in more detail with journalists about their plans and what position they envisage for Tomorrow.
After the release of Danny Trevaton in the “Bears” was only Roquan Smith, who returned as a starter in the linebacker, and Moore said he expects at least to fight for the starting place. The Poles said in a statement that Morrow “attacks the game with superiority and a spirit of being great.”
Tomorrow is ready to prove it true.
“Every time I go out on the field, I want to get better,” Morrow said. “While I’m recovering, I’m thrilled with it. I don’t look at statistics or anything. When I watch the tape, I want to make sure I’m on my own questions and don’t make the same mistakes over and over again. That’s what drives me. “
Schomaker and Bell, who attended Morrow’s wedding a couple of weeks ago, expect that now that he’s in Chicago, they’ll be able to see him play more.
Schomaker grew up in Cincinnati, but played and coached at Trinity International University in Bannakburn, just miles from Halas Hall, and he had several former teammates who turned to the news of Marou’s signing. Moore said he also received texts from former Greenville teammates who were fans of bears, including with reference to “Bear, Chicago Bears.”
“He said, ‘You have to learn this,'” Morav said.
Morrow can add this to your training schedule.