One of the most lethal weapons in Georgia Tech’s spread-option attack is the A-back position.
The B-back, lined up directly behind the quarterback, generally carries the load offensively and is the marquee position in coach Paul Johnson’s offense. But it’s often the fleet-footed A-backs, positioned in slots on the flanks of the backfield and set in motion every which way before and after the snap of the ball, that hits opposing defenses with devastating kill-shot runs (see 2008 Georgia game).
With that in mind, the Yellow Jackets believe they have identified an ideal prospect for playing just that role. Romar Morris is a 5-foot-10, 185-pound speedster out of Salisbury, N.C., and he might be the best back around you haven’t heard of.
“That’s what he’s good at, taking it the distance,” said Salibury High coach Joe Pinyan. “He’s had a lot of home runs for us. The thing about Georgia Tech recruiting him is we run the same thing as Georgia Tech. We’re probably more wishbone than the double slot they run but it’s based on the same concepts. We’ve come to a lot of their camps and we run a lot of the same stuff.”
Morris, who has a modest dozen offers compared to some of the more ballyhooed backs in the South, has narrowed his choices down to Tech and North Carolina. He said he’ll likely choose one or the other by the end of next week, “hopefully.” Jackets’ fans can only hope he’ll come their way.
“Right now I’ve got it down to Georgia Tech and UNC,” said Morris, who rushed for 1,330 yards and 21 touchdowns while sharing carries with two other backs as a junior last season. “I just recently took a trip to UNC. I’ve been to Georgia Tech a couple of times. I went to their spring game and one of their camps. I like what they have to offer.”
I’ve actually been sitting on this update for a while because I wanted to download some highlight video here so you could see this kid in action. Alas I’ve been unsuccessful locating some I could use. Nothing on YouTube and Coach Pinyan hasn’t been able to get any to me. I’m not 100 percent sure if it’s a subscription-only situation but HERE’S A LINK to Rivals.com’s highlight package if you have an account or can otherwise access it. You can also look him up at athletevault.com, but I believe that’s another subscription situation. When I finally get my hands on something I can upload I’ll add it here, so check back.
In the meantime, you have to trust me when I say Morris looks like he’s shot out of a cannon when he takes the ball out of the backfield. His burst and speed is evident on every run. And it figures since Morris is a two-time 100- and 200-meter state sprint champion in North Carolina and was electronically timed at 4.31 seconds at a Nike combine this summer (Salisbury hand-clocked him at 4.26).
There may be some football players that are faster (not many). But Morris has that football speed and quickness that people talk about and know when they see. Pinyan figures Morris probably averages 25 to 30 yards on his TD runs. All I know I just saw a bunch of really long ones.
At Salisbury, Morris plays a wing position known as the “up back” or “up set” further in the backfield than what Tech does with the A-backs in the slot. Morris also catches the ball out of the backfield to the tune of a little more than 300 yards last season.
“They’re recruiting me as an A-back, I guess because I’m not that big,” Morris said of Tech. “But I really like it because it’s a versatile position and they do a lot of different things to get you the ball in space. They say they really like me a lot.”
Meanwhile, North Carolina runs a pro-style offense under coach Butch Davis. The Tar Heels are talking about utilizing Morris as a running back and/or slot receiver. It’s unclear at this point whether that will work for against the Jackets.
One good thing for Tech is Morris said being close to home is not a major factor for him. Chapel Hill, at 100 miles away, is about one-third the distance it is to Atlanta from Salisbury. But there’s a little Ace in the hole for the Jackets in that regard, too.
“My sister lives right down the street from Georgia Tech,” Morris said of his older sister, Kamah Dillard, a registered nurse. “I go there to visit her all the time so I know the area well.”