If you were already asleep like me, you might have missed wideout Stanley Morgan Jr. announcing in the most Stanley Morgan Jr. way possible that he would be returning to Lincoln for his senior season.
There was plenty of worry around Nebraska that the star wide receiver would leave for the NFL Draft or another school following the coaching transition, but Morgan is not (bleeping) leaving. Some thoughts on that decision.
Greatness On and Off the Field
This might be the greatest Twitter announcement for anything that I’ve seen in a long time. If you’ve seen Leonardo DiCaprio in "The Wolf of Wall Street," you were instantly excited when this GIF rolled across your timeline. If you haven’t seen Leonardo DiCaprio in "The Wolf of Wall Street" yet, Leo says, in a very colorful way, that he will not be leaving. Well done, Stanley. Well done.
Morgan in this Offense?
Morgan returning for his senior season means Husker fans get to watch Stanley Morgan Jr. run routes, catch passes and pretty much torture opposing secondaries in a Scott Frost offense. That’s a thought that brings a different Leonardo DiCaprio scene to mind.
In 13 games last season for the Knights, Frost’s leading pass-catcher was 6-foot-1, 205-pound Tre’Quan Smith. Smith caught 59 balls for 1,171 yards and 13 touchdowns.
The Frost system likes to get a ton of different wideouts onto the field and involved in the action (nine guys had double-digit receptions) and Smith still hauled in a 1,000-yard season. To say Morgan, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound throw-it-up-and-he’ll-get-it-type receiver, can do the same is a very cool take. The 59 catches for Smith is right in line with Morgan’s 61 last season. Add in a few more explosive plays — fans are hoping that will be a given with this new system — and subtract a few of those drops and voila, the Huskers first 1,000-yard receiver in school history.
More History on the Way
That’s not the only kind of record Morgan has the chance to set, though. The school record for receiving yards in a career is 2,689, set by Kenny Bell from 2011-2014. The school record for receptions in a career is 181, set by, again, Bell. The school record for touchdowns in a career is 25, set by Johnny Rodgers. Those all appear to be in reach.
Following a record-breaking season from Morgan in 2017 — 61 catches, school-record 986 yards, 10 touchdowns — his career numbers sit as follows: 119 receptions, 1,743 yards, 15 touchdowns. That means he’s 63 catches, 947 yards and 11 touchdowns away from GOAT receiver status in Husker history.
Morgan’s return is exciting from a numbers standpoint and an on-field wow factor, but it’s also a huge disaster averted for Frost and Friends. Had Morgan decided to leave, Nebraska would have been left with five scholarship wide receivers before taking this recruiting cycle into account. Two of those five —JD Spielman and Tyjon Lindsey — are both sophomores and there’s still the chance either could decide to transfer. The other three — Keyan Williams, Jaevon McQuitty and Zack Darlington — have, combined, one catch, one season-ending knee injury and two years of exclusive holder duty. When Frost talked about scholarship numbers being low at certain positions back on Dec. 20, he singled out receiver and the staff is working to get some depth added through this upcoming class.
Losing Morgan would have been awful. Consider the Huskers 1-0 to start 2018.
Morgan sticking around for his senior season is generally just a happy thing. Morgan has an infectious personality and is the type of locker room presence you want on teams. Everyone that comes into contact with him likes the dude. There’s that wonderful GIF of Morgan deadpanning to the camera as he’s drinking from a cup, there’s the famous Hail Varsity photoshoot that we will still have the chance to use and there are countless times he’s walked behind teammates or coaches during media availability and tried to wreck their mojo. Morgan does everything right, on and off the field, and he’s a guy that fits right in with the culture change making its way to Lincoln.
Derek is a newbie on the Hail Varsity staff covering Husker athletics. In college, he was best known as ‘that guy from Twitter.’ He has covered a Sugar Bowl, a tennis national championship and almost everything in between (except an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game… *tears*). In his spare time, he can be found arguing with literally anyone about sports.