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Tracking the Stars of the Future

Football Recruiting Report
Wednesday, February 13, 2008

By Sammy Batten

RECRUITING THUMBNAILS:  2006  •  2007  •  2008

Asheville star takes a liking to purple

By Sammy Batten
with additional staff contributions.
All rights reserved.

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 quarterback.

“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 quarterback spot.’’

A 6-foot, 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.’’

All rights reserved.

[View thumbnail sketches of all players in ECU's football recruiting class of 2008.]

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02/13/2008 01:48:10 AM


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