Camden County High School’s Bob Sphire, a veteran coach of 41 years, explains why.
“College football recruiting these days, it’s always about the athlete; it’s never about the person and the student,” said Sphire, who coached at North Gwinnett High in Suwanee for 11 seasons. “Well, let me tell you, Micah is an absolutely wonderful young man, and we couldn’t ask for a better representative of our school and our community.
“There’s very few kids that get recruited in today’s world that don’t have some warts or some black eyes or something. This young man has never been a discipline issue, he’s never been full of himself, he’s never gotten crossways with an authority or a teacher, he’s very coachable, he goes about his business, has a great sense of humor and he’s just super smart. All he’s ever been is all the things you’d want a kid to be.”
All that was before Sphire got around to the football side of things.
“Obviously he’s got great size,” he continued. “He’s got tremendous athleticism to go with that size. He’s powerful, fast, explosive, all that stuff. He started (Class 7A) ball for us as a 14-year-old freshman in one of the toughest regions in the state. And he’s still only 17, so they’re getting a young man who’s still going to mature physically and get stronger. Roll it all together, and it doesn’t get much better than this kid.”
Hearing himself gush, Sphire stopped for a second.
“I don’t want to blow the kid up too much because the challenges of playing in the SEC for the Georgias and Alabamas of the world, who knows how it’s going to play out. Right?” he said. “So much can happen at that level. Nobody has a crystal ball and can predict how it’s going to turn out. But Micah’s as good as they get.”
Sphire should have some perspective. He coached NFL linemen Mitch Hyatt and Ju’Wuan James while at North Gwinnett. He said Morris has size, speed and athletic ability to match them. He might even exceed them in “smarts.”
Morris doesn’t know or care about all that. He’s just happy that everything worked out to get him to Georgia. There was a point that whether he was going to end there came into question.
Like every other offensive lineman who has been recruited by the Bulldogs the past few years, Morris had become quite close to former offensive line coach Sam Pittman. Pittman had courted him hard since Morris was a sophomore, and was the main reason Morris planned to go to UGA. In fact, he silently committed to the Bulldogs before Pittman ended up accepting the head coaching job at Arkansas last December.
That’s where Kirby Smart’s quick hiring of Matt Luke as Pittman’s successor paid dividends. Within weeks, Morris not only had heard from Luke, but had met him as well.
Georgia’s recruitment of Morris never missed a beat. Neither, then, did Morris’ loyalty.
“That kind of slowed things down for a little bit to see who would come in to fill his spot,” Morris said of Pittman’s departure. “But there was nobody better that could have come in than coach Luke, for me anyways. I built a great relationship with coach Luke and that just got better over the summer. So, it was really just perfect timing and a perfect fit for me.”
Apparently it was for others, as well. Georgia signed four highly rated offensive linemen in the Class of 2021. In addition to Morris, the Bulldogs landed 5-star prospect Amarius Mims of Cochran, 4-star Dylan Fairchild of Cumming and 3-star Jared Wilson of Winston-Salem, N.C. Along with 16 other signees, Georgia’s class ranks No. 3 in the country and second-best in the SEC in the 247Sports Composite rankings.
Morris believes it’s even better than that.
“I feel like the Georgia class of 2021 is probably going to go down as one of if not the best classes because of all the high-quality players we were able to get, especially in-state,” Morris said in a phone interview Wednesday afternoon. “We got (seven) of the top 10 recruits in the state, and that’s just amazing to me. That really shows how good a job Georgia is doing of keeping all the best players in the nation at home when they could literally go anywhere in the country they want. But they want to stay home, and that shows the vibe and the atmosphere that’s at the University of Georgia.”
As for his academic acumen, Morris said that came from staying on top of his work. He plans to major in criminal justice at UGA and possibly pursue a secondary degree of some sort or a master’s. With his credentials, he should be able to exempt a portion of classes from the outset. Meanwhile, he’s one of at least 14 signees who will enroll early Jan. 10.
In the end, he said UGA’s combination of academics and football is what set it apart from Alabama, Florida and many of his other suitors.
“Eventually football will be over,” Morris said. “A degree from whatever college you choose to go to is really what you are going to make your money off of and live off of for the rest of your life. A Georgia degree in the state of Georgia really means a lot; even outside of the state it means a lot.”
As well-rounded as Morris is, Sphire warned UGA fans to remain patient. What they’re getting is an unfinished product.
It’s the finished product that has him excited.
“There’s just so much upside to him,” Sphire said. “There’s a lot of pressure on these kids to play right away and make an instant impact as a freshman. He had to do that for us. But at Georgia, you already have established players that can show him the ropes and he can learn from them. Nobody’s going to work harder in the weight room and he listens to coaching. He’s still 17 years old and I’m not saying that to make an excuse for him. The point I’m making is, can you imagine what his potential is when he’s 19, 20?”
Yes, the Bulldogs can imagine.