Rakheem Morgan boasts a
resume that classifies him as one of the most versatile talents in East
Carolina's football recruiting class of 2008.
The stellar defensive
back/receiver-turned star quarterback, conjures memories of Clemson
cornerback Crezdon Butler for his prep mentor. ECU coaches have a vision
along those same lines relating to the Asheville product's future.
Morgan, one of 18 players
officially bound to the Pirates after signing national letters-of-intent
last Wednesday, will be adapting his considerable athletic skills next
fall to roaming the secondary in Greenville.
Morgan’s path to the
major-college football ranks has been similar to that of Clemson's
Butler, his former high school teammate at Asheville High School.
Butler preceded Morgan as
the quarterback for the Cougars. While Morgan toiled on the varsity as a
cornerback on defense and wide receiver on offense during his freshman
and sophomore years, Butler was spearheading Asheville’s drive to the
state 3-A championship in 2005. On the way Butler broke the school’s
63-year-old career rushing mark previously held by legendary Charlie “Choo-Choo’’
Justice with 5,030.
A year later Butler earned
freshman All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors from The Sporting News
after playing extensively at cornerback for Clemson.
Morgan was already showing
his talent, however, even when Butler was still on the Asheville team.
He caught the game-winning touchdown pass from Butler as a sophomore in
the state championship contest.
Upon Butler’s graduation,
Asheville coach Danny Wilkins tabbed Morgan as his successor at
“He put up some pretty
good numbers for us,’’ Wilkins said. “He became our all-time leading
passer over the last two years and this year he was named by the
Asheville Citizen Times as the Western N.C. Player of the Year.
“He’s been one of our
leaders. He can beat you with his legs as well as his arm from the
180-pounder, Morgan passed for 3,084 career yards, including 1,810 for 22
touchdowns as a senior. He also added 1,173 yard and 12 more touchdowns
on the ground.
Buffalo, Marshall, Elon,
Gardner-Webb and Georgia Southern were just some of the schools
recruiting Morgan. But Wilkins said once the Pirates made it clear they
wanted Morgan, he was ready to commit.
“They came in sort of in
the middle of the process,’’ Wilkins said. “They had to tie up some
other things on their (recruiting) board before they made an offer. They
were telling him all along they wanted him. But once they offered it was
a done deal.
“He was real excited. He’s
been wearing purple to school every day since he committed.’’
The Pirates are expected
to use Morgan at safety or cornerback. Wilkins likens Morgan’s skills at
corner to Butler’s.
“Crezdon is a little
faster on the hoof than Rahkeem, but I really believe Rahkeem’s best
days are ahead of him,’’ Wilkins said. “He’s not even close to
fulfilling his potential physically. But he has great closing speed and
a really good instinct for the game.’’
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thumbnail sketches of all players in ECU's football
recruiting class of 2008.]