Morgan Earned His Way Into Starting Lineup

After spending a year in at Mercersburg Prep for purely football reasons, native Alabama offensive lineman committed to Duke in December in what was hardly a surprise to recruiting insiders. Now, nearly nine full months later, he's set to start in his first collegiate game.

Duke first found Bryan Morgan when he played for famed Hoover High School. Despite being somewhat small for an offensive lineman, Morgan began to accumulate offers from Duke as well as Duke, Louisville, Vanderbilt, Navy, and Memphis. Had he been able to stretch his 6-foot-3 frame another two inches and add an additional 30 pounds, Morgan would have easily ranked as a four start lineman prospect according to various Scout.com analysts.

After graduating from Hoover, Morgan headed off the Mercersburg to add additional weight and strength. He succeeded in bulking up to 255 pounds, while improving his blocking techniques and his foot speed. Most believed he would enroll at Duke, and use the 2007 season to continue efforts on adding weight before taking over for soon to be departed center Matt Rumsey.

"That's where Duke wants me to lineup," Morgan told TDD when he committed. "I have talked with Coach Strollo about it and even though I've never played there in a game, I think I'll be able to go in and learn the position and be able to handle it."

Instead, with Duke suffering injuries to interior linemen Zach Maurides and right tackle Fred Roland, head coach Ted Roof was forced to juggle the depth chart and essentially hold open tryouts for two of the five starting positions.

"We had a couple off-season surgeries [on the offensive line] and Fred Rowland hadn't quite it back yet," said Roof. "Bryan Morgan came out and won the job. He's done a good job. You certainly don't want to play true freshmen on the offensive line but that's where we are. He won the job in camp; he's a good, competitive kid that fights and I expect him to play well [against Connecticut]"

Morgan will start at the right tackle position in front of redshirt freshman Marcus Lind. And though he's one of "several" true freshmen that Roof expects to play, Morgan does have the advantage of being a year older than most of his classmates, but that won't eliminate the pressure as he attempts to learn on the fly against the Connecticut defensive line.

"He's a guy that doesn't act like a freshman. You tell him to go in there and do something, and he just does it. Certainly there is a learning curve, especially on the offensive line because the reaction time that he has is so much less than what other positions may have."

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