Mistake behind him, Nebraska’s Morgan commits to doing right
LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska receiver Stanley Morgan Jr. knows everything he does on and off the football field will be scrutinized a little more this season following his run-in with the law last spring.
He said he’s determined not to disappoint teammates, coaches, family and everybody else who supports him.
“You live and you learn,” Morgan said after practice Thursday. “It was a learning experience for me. I’m just putting that in the past, building off that and growing as a young man.”
Morgan and teammate Antonio Reed were charged with marijuana possession following a traffic stop in Port Orange, Florida, in May. Prosecutors dropped the misdemeanor charge against Morgan last month after he completed a treatment program. Reed, a backup safety, has a trial set for Aug. 21 for misdemeanor possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
The disposition of his case allows Morgan to concentrate fully on football until classes begin Aug. 21. Much is expected of the Cornhuskers’ top returning receiver. The team lost three of its top four pass-catchers.
“Stan is a prideful person,” receivers coach Keith Williams said. “He’s going to be equally as hard on himself as you are on him when he makes a mistake on or off the field. He and I had a really good talk and we continue to talk. He knows what he needs to do as a young man and he’s striving forward on that.”
Head coach Mike Riley has said he’s been pleased with how Morgan has behaved since the arrest and that team discipline, if any, would be announced later.
Morgan started nine of 13 games in 2016 and made 33 catches for 453 yards, including a 72-yarder against Indiana for one of his two touchdowns.
The junior from New Orleans acknowledges his numbers could have been better.
“All the drops I had. All the missed opportunities I had,” he said when asked about where he fell short last season. “I want those opportunities now.”
Morgan and senior De’Mornay Pierson-El lead a until that will feature a couple of talented newcomers in freshmen Tyjon Lindsey and Jaevon McQuitty, redshirt freshman J.D. Spielman and junior Keyan Williams.
“He’s not the same Stan as he was last year,” Keith Williams said. “He’s grown. He’s gotten better. His understanding of the game is better. You learn from experience, bad or good. Those experiences from last year, not making those plays, will inspire him.”
Pierson-El said Morgan has set a good example for returning players and newcomers with the way he’s gone about his business since the marijuana incident.
“He comes in every day with a high motor and ready to work. You can’t ask for anything more,” Pierson-El said. “He knows what he did was wrong. He accepted it and he’s moving forward. As a friend, as a teammate, as a brother, that’s the only thing I can do is move forward with him.”
Keith Williams said it shouldn’t be difficult to convince Morgan or any other player to stay away from marijuana even though society has generally become more accepting of its use.
“It’s not as hard as you think because it’s a rule,” the coach said. “If the NCAA says no mayonnaise, you better start using mustard. It’s a rule.”
Morgan said when he wakes up each morning, he reminds himself to follow what Riley simply calls the “do right” rule.
“I’m going to do right every day, every day, every day,” he said. “Going through football doing right, going to class doing right, going through my everyday life doing right.”