Even though four-star safety Jamal Morris is only a sophomore, he has already established himself as a leader both on and off the field. In addition to being one of several defensive captains on the football team, Morris is involved in a program at George Bush High School called “Imagine Excellence.”
“It’s a group that turns kids into business leaders so you can lead by example,” Morris said. “By joining [the program] as a freshman, by the time I’m a senior I’m going to be a great leader.”
Not only has Imagine Excellence taught Morris a lot about himself and what type of leader he is, he’s also been able to apply what he’s learned directly to football as well.
“It helped me to get to know other people, their views and how to work with them,” Morris said. “There’s many personalities on the football team so you have to take a different approach in those situations.”
At the age of 8, Morris began playing football simply to make friends after his family moved to Texas from New Orleans, Louisiana. He soon learned that he not only loved the game, but was pretty good at it too.
Last year, the coaching staff moved Morris up to varsity after playing just one game on the freshman team.
“I saw him come in as a wide-eyed freshman, but he was a confident kid coming in,” Morris’s defensive coordinator Javian Thorton said. “We let him play on the freshman team one game and he was just a man amongst boys, so we put him on varsity after his first game of the season.”
Morris started nine games on varsity as a freshman and is now a captain on defense as a sophomore.
“It’s hard sometimes for the upperclassmen to listen to a guy that’s this young, but it’s happening,” Thorton said. “So the older guys, when he says something, they listen to him and respond in a positive way. They respect him because they watch how he prepares.”
In the offseason, Morris runs on the track team, which helps with his conditioning.
“In football, on both sides of the ball you have to be able to catch somebody, or run for a touchdown or run somebody down when they’re about to score a touchdown and it’s just speed,” Morris said.
Morris also takes the time to do other forms of conditioning in the offseason, like running hills, running with a parachute and doing his own footwork drills.
“It’s a lot taking the initiative for my own success,” Morris said. “But I also have a good coaching staff that can help me out with that.”
Morris also prepares himself academically. Aside from Imagine Excellence, he is a part of Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), which prepares high school students for college.
According to Thorton, a teacher went down to the field one day after school just to tell the coaching staff that Morris had come during his lunch break to receive extra help in the classroom. This recognition showed the coaches the type of person Morris is off the field.
“You don’t see that very often,” Thorton said, recalling the event. “That’s pretty impressive.”
Morris already has an idea of what he wants to study in college as well.
“I want to stay around sports so probably sports medicine,” Morris said. “If not, I’m going to go to school for business marketing.”
Morris has yet to receive any official offers, but mentioned that he’s talking to Ohio State, Notre Dame, SMU and Maryland.
“I’m looking for a school with a great community, good environment, with a good coaching staff,” Morris said. “I know patience is key, but I’d also like a school that can offer me the best opportunity to go to the next level and play professional football.”
Morris’s goals are motivated by the desire to provide a better way to life for his family and to gain more opportunities in his own life. However, Morris has another objective, which is pinned as a tweet at the top of his Twitter page. It talks about his desire to be the first All-American at his high school.
I will be the first All-American to ever walk through bush… watch!
— Jamal Morris (@KinngMorris) March 31, 2016
“You have to set a goal for yourself and I truly believe that I can be an All-American if I work at it and just keep doing what I’m doing, staying humble and praying on it.”
Edited by Noah Johnson
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