Coal Ridge’s Jacob Morgan a role model for all |

Coal Ridge’s Jacob Morgan a role model for all

When I first heard that Coal Ridge senior Jacob Morgan became the first student in school history to be awarded the Boettcher Scholarship, many emotions passed through me upon reading the story, but surprise wasn’t one of them.

You see, dating back to the first time I interacted with Morgan nearly two years ago at the start of his junior football season, I knew right then that this young man was destined to do something great with his life.

As a leader both on and off the field, Morgan is a shining example of what every young student-athlete should strive to be: a hard worker, a tremendous student and an even better person willing to do anything and everything for his community.

Later on in his junior year, I had the privilege — I don’t use that word lightly — to watch Morgan accept his U.S. Army-Pro Football Hall of Fame Award for Excellence. It blew me away just how much support he had show up that day in the gymnasium at Coal Ridge High School. But the thing that stood out to me the most was how well-spoken, polite and grateful for everything he was that day.

Seeing him up on that stage, with his mother, sisters and extended family in attendance, along with the entire school and a portion of the New Castle community, showed me just how special this young man is to the school and community.

When not competing in football or track and field, Morgan often volunteered at Valley View Hospital. You don’t see that often with young student-athletes, who might be focused on things that might be more important to them, but from the very first time I met Morgan, I knew being part of the community and making a difference was very important to him.

While I don’t get a chance to really see most of the student-athletes I cover outside of a competitive standpoint, I do know that Morgan has made a huge impact on the Coal Ridge school system, serving as a standout student and athlete that kids should look up to as a role model when it comes to how to compete and how to conduct themselves.

That, from what I later learned about Morgan and the loss of his father as a freshman, all came from how he was raised.

Really, his mom and dad couldn’t have done a better job.

You’re not supposed to be partial to someone or something in this field, but it’s hard to not root for Jacob after spending time with him and getting to know him these last two years I’ve been in the valley.

As a standout receiver and safety in football, Morgan was poised for big things in his senior year, but a shoulder injury ended it abruptly.

I remember that night against Roaring Fork vividly. There were a handful of starters injured on both sides from a physical matchup, but pacing the sidelines that night, I couldn’t help but notice Jacob with a smile on his face despite having his arm in a sling.

Obviously, he wasn’t happy dealing with an injury, but when I went up to him and shook his hand to wish him well, his attitude about the whole situation stuck with me. He knew he couldn’t control the injury, but he could control the outcome of it, and that’s largely how I think he’s looked at life.

That alone leads me to believe that Jacob is destined for much bigger and better things in life, things that we can’t even imagine right now.

The Boettcher Scholarship will help him get there; no doubt in my mind.

As one of 42 winners in the state of Colorado, I know Jacob is more than deserving of the scholarship because he’s going to take this opportunity and run with it.

There’s nobody more deserving than Jacob for the scholarship in my eyes. He’s going to make a difference in this world in whatever profession he decides to pursue.

I’m just glad I had the chance to meet and interact with Jacob, because I’m better for it. And I hope those that interact with him every day are better for it, as well.

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