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October 20, 2003

Gators Lead for Injured Morgan

Drunk driving is a serious problem in the United States. According to estimates, someone is injured in an alcohol-related accident every two minutes. For Riviera Beach (Fla.) Suncoast athlete Dajuan Morgan, that statistic has hit close to home.

On his way back from practice before the season began, a drunk driver veered into oncoming traffic and struck Morgan's car. Morgan suffered a dislocated right hip and left arm in the accident. Due to the accident he will not step on the field for his senior season.

Doctors have recommended that Morgan not return to the football field this season but told him that he can continue his football career in college. Even with the bad news that isn't slowing down Morgan, who remains in high spirits and is looking forward to making the return to the gridiron one day.

"My progress is going real fast," Morgan said. "I am jogging already."

Morgan is attending physical therapy three times a week for three hours at a time. Morgan has 13 offers to date and has put together a solid top five.

"Florida, N.C. State, Oklahoma, Ohio State and Virginia Tech are my top five," Morgan said.

Morgan listed the schools in order of where they stand, making the Gators the early leader for his services followed by the N.C. State Wolfpack.

Morgan then went on to say that Tennessee and Georgia remain as outside shots. Although the Vols and Bulldogs may still have a shot, it is a very long shot to land Morgan. Morgan has set up official visits to Virginia Tech and N.C. State. He will make the journey to Blacksburg on Nov. 4 and then over to Raleigh on Dec. 5.

"Florida, Ohio State and Oklahoma I have no dates yet but that is where I will be going," Morgan said.

He has offers from all the above-mentioned schools.

Before Morgan's injury, he was a standout cornerback and wide receiver for Suncoast. As a junior, he rushed for 722 yards and had nine touchdowns. He also threw for 13 touchdowns and added five interceptions on defense, earning him Super 11 honors from the Palm Beach Post and Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, according to Morgan.

Morgan is listed at 6-2, 198 pounds and has an impressive 40-yard dash time of 4.23 seconds. Most of his offers came during the summer and even with his injuries, those 13 teams have not backed off their recruitment.

"They are calling every week," Morgan said. "I get about 12 calls a week.

"The ones that really want me you can tell because they call and talk to me and don't even worry about the hip. They know it isn't a big factor and when I get to a university they are going to work on me even more just to make sure. Most of the coaches ask how is it going but they really talk about what they really want me to do for them. How they want me to come to their school and what is in mind for me."

Most of the schools continue to reaffirm to Morgan that he still has offers to play for their school.

"Ohio State was really the first school to tell me don't worry about it and my scholarship is still there," Morgan said.

Before the car accident, Morgan did attend a camp at the University of Miami. To talk about bad luck, Morgan suffered a right ankle injury at that camp limiting his activities during the summer.

A major reason why Morgan has Florida and NC State atop his list is because of the relationships he has forged with their coaches. He constantly talks to UF linebackers coach Bill Miller and N.C. State wide receivers/assistant head coach John "Doc" Holliday. He has also talked to UF head coach Ron Zook and N.C. State head coach Chuck Amato.

Morgan said one thing when asked what would be the deciding factor in choosing the right school: "The visit."

As far as a verbal commitment, don't expect one any time soon from Morgan. Morgan feels part of the process of choosing a school is to see which school will wait all the way until the very end.

"I am going to wait until National Signing Day," Morgan said. "That is when you really know who is with you. They wait until the end for you. I am going to know my decision after I take my visits and talk to my mom about it. She has already told me wherever I want to go, that is where I am going to go. I probably won't tell anybody. I will probably tell my head coach but nobody else."

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