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Morgan preparing for NFL Draft

By Rich Palzewic
Sports Editor

ASHWAUBENON – James Morgan, a 2015 Ashwaubenon High School graduate, said he grew up idolizing Green Bay Packers quarterbacks Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers.

The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Morgan – who is a recent graduate of Florida International University (FIU) in Miami – said he’s hoping to leave his mark on the National Football League.

“I’m ready,” said Morgan, who threw for more than 7,500 yards in his three years as the starting quarterback at Ashwaubenon, which is about a mile away from Lambeau Field. “I’ve put the work in, and I’d love to get drafted. My agent has told me I could be as high as a third-round pick to an undrafted free agent. We will see how it shakes out.”

Morgan is looking to become the first quarterback from the Green Bay area to be drafted since the Packers selected former Wisconsin quarterback Bud Keyes (Green Bay West) in the 10th round in 1988.

Morgan said he looks back on his Ashwaubenon days as a great time in his life.

“I had lots of fun with the guys I was playing with,” he said. “I’m still friends with many of them, and I’ll remember the good times we had in practice and Friday nights.”

Morgan began his college career at Bowling Green for three years, but eventually transferred to FIU to play for head coach Butch Davis.

“I loved playing for Davis,” Morgan said. “He brought great insight, was a proven winner, has been around the game forever and was a player’s coach. His door was always open, and it was the main reason I came to FIU. I learned lots from him in my two years there.”

Morgan passed for a combined 5,312 yards and threw 40 touchdowns and 12 interceptions at FIU.

He was selected as the Conference USA Newcomer of the Year in 2018.

The Packers appear to be looking at the possibility of adding a quarterback to their roster via the NFL Draft, and Morgan has been rumored as a possible choice.

Green Bay hasn’t drafted a quarterback since 2015 when they spent a fifth-round pick on Brett Hundley.

“It would be a dream come true to play for the team I grew up idolizing,” Morgan said. “I wore No. 4 during my youth in honor of Favre and then switched to No. 12 because of Rodgers when I entered high school. I liked how Favre would try to make plays in difficult situations, but I also admire Rodgers for taking a safer approach instead of trying to force it. Both of them are inspirations for me.”

Other teams reportedly looking at Morgan include Indianapolis, Chicago, Tampa Bay, Las Vegas, Miami, New England, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Buffalo, the New York Jets and the New York Giants.

“I will go to whichever team wants me and is the best fit,” said Morgan. “I have to leave all my options open. It’s not too much about where I’m selected, but I’d like a good opportunity. I’m taking a professional approach, and I’ve been fortunate to talk to lots of teams.”

In a recent online article by SI.com, writer Kalyn Kahler said Morgan could be the 2020 NFL Draft’s biggest quarterback sleeper.

“I’m confident in my abilities, but I don’t play into the media aspect of things,” Morgan said. “Any publicity I get is great, but I don’t read lots of those articles.”

In recent years, De Pere’s Drew Nowak (Seattle) and Bay Port’s Alec Ingold (Oakland/Las Vegas) made NFL rosters as undrafted free agents.

Two Green Bay Southwest players – Kahlil McKenzie (Kansas City) and Max Scharping (Houston) – were drafted in back-to-back years.

“Alec reached out to me early in the process,” said Morgan. “He wished me well – he’s a great guy. It would be cool to play with him and the Raiders. Athletes from this area don’t get lots of credit for how good they are, and we often get overlooked, so it’s good we are getting more opportunities.”

At the East-West Shrine Bowl Jan. 18, Morgan was 9-of-14 for 116 yards passing with a touchdown for his East squad.

He was honored with the Pat Tillman Award, which is presented to a player who best exemplifies character, intelligence, sportsmanship and service.

Morgan also attended the NFL Combine in Indianapolis in late February.

“It was a great experience,” Morgan said of the combine. “The on-field stuff you see televised is a very small part of everything that goes on there. Lots of it is medical testing and interviews with coaches. The interviews were lots of fun for me. Overall, I felt good about my performance.”

Morgan said he was prepared to answer some weird questions at the combine, but they never came.

“The weirdest question I got was, ‘What’s your alcoholic beverage choice?’” he said. “I told them I like an occasional beer.”

Morgan said his arm strength and toughness are solid, but he needs to improve his mobility in the pocket and work on his balance.

“I have some things to work on before getting to an NFL training camp,” he said. “This is a good time to improve with everything going on.”

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