JACKSON, Miss. -- Callaway offensive line coach Otis Riddley knows the moment the doubt was removed regarding whether Aaron Morris has the potential to impact at the collegiate level.
During an Oklahoma drill - the physical football practice method of pitting linemen against one another down in the trenches - Morris got in his stance two separate times and impressed Riddley with athleticism and strength at the same time.
"It's a great story," Riddley said, smiling and obviously proud of his pupil that just committed to Ole Miss. "Aaron got down across from a big guy, 6-foot-2 or so and over 300 pounds, and Aaron shot out with a flat back, got the leverage and just textbook moved him out of there.
"Of course we were all excited, and then the next time we put him against a short, stout guy, 5-foot-7, and Aaron kept that back flat, got under him too. He's 6-foot-5 and he won the lower-man battle. That's when you know you have something."
Yes, he definitely has something.
Morris, the top lineman in the state, began the recruiting process with an open mind and zero expectations about the colleges offering him a football opportunity and an education. But when he visited Ole Miss, with family along side him, the thought of the Rebels becoming family began to form in his mind.
His mother, Logenvia Morris, shared the same thoughts.
"When we first met with the coaches, they came in like they already knew us," Logenvia Morris said. "They make you feel like you were a part of their family since they got to the door. They knew my name before they walked in, and I didn't know anybody's name.
"They addressed me every time I came (to Oxford with Aaron), even when I was talking - a lot of times men will say 'That's a female, so she really doesn't know anything,' but they we're always listening, and that made me feel good."
The coaching staff as a whole made a solid impression on Morris' family, and then head coach Houston Nutt and assistant Derrick Nix took the comfort to a new level.
"Coach Nix really made me feel like the school wanted my son," Logenvia Morris said. "And then when I met Coach Nutt, he was like 'Hey, where have you been all my life?' and I didn't know him, but when I met him, I felt a calmness. I felt a person that will take care of my baby. He might be big, but he's still my baby.
"So, I think I can sleep at night when he goes. I feel comfortable knowing he's up there and they're going to make sure he's doing what he needs to do, because I tell him all the time, it's about education, and then football. I need that (degree). Coach Nutt assured me he can get it done."
For a time, Aaron Morris planned to take official visits and enjoy the process before deciding on one college.
"It was a close decision between Ole Miss and Mississippi State in the beginning," Logenvia Morris said. "He kind of swayed for a minute and then Alabama came in and BOOM! That's when I knew it was for real.
"I've been writing notes since September of last year when we first went to a football game, so I had a couple of tablets. We went back through them and we were checking off who had the same this and who had the same this and the same that and mark them off, and then when I got done, Ole Miss still had three little lines. and he said 'I felt what I needed to feel when I went there the first time.' and I said 'OK, usually your first mind is your right mind,' so we had to check them out just to be sure that's going to be home."
As the trips to Oxford, Miss., increased, and his relationship with the Ole Miss staff strengthened, waiting wasn't necessary.
"It was very exciting for me, and I was a little nervous seeing my baby grow up and leave home soon, but we talked about it last night," Logenvia Morris said. "He laid across the bed with me and he said 'I'm ready,' and I said 'If you're ready, I've got you 100 percent, let's just do it.' "
"We went to bed and woke up this morning and he gave me that look of confidence and I said 'OK, let's go do it.' "
So they did at WPTY Channel 16 Tuesday and the only research remaining for is for Morris' family to learn more about the Rebels.
"I'm getting ready to learn the little slogan, get my shakers and be ready for the game next year," Logenvia Morris said.
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