April 9, 2009

Arkansas fullback has birthday wish

Morgan Linton's birthday is July 8.

He already has a specific gift in mind.

The bruising fullback from Lonoke, Ark., just might get his birthday wish fulfilled. The timing's right, as his birthday comes towards the end of the summer camp season, and Linton has a summer full of camp appearances on his schedule.

Linton, a 6-foot-1, 245-pounder, will camp at Ole Miss, Auburn and Tennessee _ among other places, in all likelihood _ this summer. The trip to Ole Miss, however, might be the most significant of that group, as it will be Linton's sixth trip to Oxford and it will be yet another reunion with a coaching staff he's come to know personally.

"I've been with this coaching staff since I've been in the eighth grade," said Linton, who was in Oxford last weekend to see the Rebels' first scrimmage of the spring. "When they were at Arkansas, I went to all their Arkansas camps, so they all know me. They know my face and they know me by name. They kind of give me a bump. It's not a normal handshake like with any other coach. It's a special connection you have with them because you've known them for so long."

Linton, who rushed for 112 yards and a pair of touchdowns while adding 87 tackles and eight sacks on defense last season, doesn't have any scholarship offers yet. Several programs, however, have indicated that if they see what they need to see this summer, that could change. Ole Miss, Linton said, is in that boat.

"I believe they want me to come to camp," Linton said. "They don't care about my (time in the 40-yard dash). They don't care about how high I can jump. They just want me to come on that middle day. They tell me, 'Morgan, I know you can do it. I've seen you on film. You make plays when the lights come on. I just want you to come to camp and I want to see you do what you do.'"

Linton has family connections to Ole Miss. His mother, Jennifer, attended Ole Miss, giving the Rebels a presence in a family full of Razorback fans.

"When Arkansas wasn't playing, we were watching Ole Miss," Linton said. "I've always liked Ole Miss."

As it stands now, Ole Miss, Oklahoma, Notre Dame and Memphis are at the top of Linton's list, with Tennessee and Auburn in the mix. Linton is hopeful that by the time July 8 rolls around, things will be crystal clear.

"To tell you the truth, I would like some scholarship offers, just like every other kid," Linton said. "I believe if (an offer came from) Ole Miss or Oklahoma, it would be hard for me to say no. I understand that my entire life, I've never had anything handed to me, and I'm not going to think for one second that right now anything's going to be handed to me. I know I have to go out and earn everything that I get. …I would like an offer. That would be a pretty good birthday present."

Linton certainly has the right mindset to be a college fullback. He's hoping his physical actions this summer seal the deal.

"I love to hit people," Linton said. "I believe that's the No. 1 thing that a fullback should be able to do. I pride myself on my blocking. The past couple of years, that's pretty much what I've been based on. I can catch the ball pretty well, but in my offense, pretty much what I did was block. Every time I'm in the game, my quarterback didn't go down. I tell my halfbacks, 'Just follow me and we'll score.' I believe every time that they follow me, we score a touchdown. I believe I'm a great blocker and I believe I have good hands. I have running ability and I'm not afraid to hit somebody."

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