2022’s Gabriel Morris' underdog status fuels his competitive drive | Youth1

2022’s Gabriel Morris' underdog status fuels his competitive drive

Gabriel Morris is one of the best players from the Mayflower, Arkansas area in the Class of 2022. 


The 5-foot-7, 130-pound Morris, who attends Mayflower High School, is a dynamic player that works as a running back, wide receiver and safety. 


Morris has earned plenty of recognition during his outstanding career, such as: Semper Fidelis Defensive Player of the Game and Integrity Insurance Player of the Week.


Morris is humbled by the accolades. 


“The recognition of the aforementioned awards means that I am doing a great job and that I need to continue being the best that I can both for myself and for my team,” Morris said. “It was a great opportunity to learn from the best of the best and to get different play styles.”


Here’s a list of camps Morris has attended: 


Razorback overnight camp at the University of Arkansas (06/10/19-6/11/19)

College Football Prospect Day at Lyons College (06/06/19)

Razorback Prospect Day/Team practice at the University of Arkansas (03/30/19)

Adizero Combine in Dallas, Texas (03/23/19)

Razorback Prospect Day at the University of Arkansas (02/10/19)

Southwest Baptist University Bear Cat Prospect camp (07/14/18)

 East Central University prospect camp (06/29/18) 

Southeastern Oklahoma State prospect camp (06/18/18)

Arkansas State University Elite one-day camp (06/15/18)

Razorback Overnight camp at the University of Arkansas (06/11/18)

Football prospect camp at the University of Saint Mary's (05/19/18)

Next Gen Elite Texas Showcase (05/05/18)

VTO Sports Elite 100 Showcase (04/22/18)

Rivals camp in Dallas, Texas (03/25/18)


No matter the opponent, every game Morris is determined to give it his all. 


Morris is going all out. 


The motor is always at full throttle whenever Morris steps between the lines.


“My mindset is to just get my reads and to focus on what I’m doing and to do my very best,” Morris said. “I mentally prepare myself by watching game film and reading scouting reports.”


Morris has great passion and energy whenever he’s on the field. Morris tells why he enjoys the game of football so much. 


“What I love most about playing football is the unity football creates,” Morris said. “A team does not consist of just one player, but a team of players who learn from one another and become a unified force.”


Morris has learned many valuable lessons from playing football that he applies to his everyday life. 


The main one is applying perspective to all situations. 


“Playing football has taught me to never quit or stop doing something that you love,” Morris said. “Football is about teammate, effort, and focus.”


Morris loves making memories on the field. 


“My favorite memory of playing is being part of a team that is like a family because it creates a better bond between you and other players on the team,” Morris said. 


Austin Emerson is Morris’ coach at Mayflower High School. 


Emerson explains the best parts of Morris’ game. 


“The best part of his game is his knowledge of the game and coachability,” Emerson said. “He always does exactly what he is supposed to do, and it usually takes him one time to get it right.”

Morris discusses what separates him from other players. 

“My mindset, motivation, and drive. I have been seen as an underdog due to my smaller stature and size the majority of my football career,” Morris said. “My motivation pushes me to overcome these obstacles by showing others that size is not a determining factor in what I do or what I am capable of. My drive forces me to compete on a higher level and standard.”

Morris shares a personal challenge he’s overcome during his career. 

“The biggest challenges that I have overcome in becoming my best self would have to be giving up and giving in to others judgments. People would judge me based on my size or weight, but not on my ability,” Morris said. “I’d have to say that pushing myself to be the best version of me has tremendously helped me overcome stereotypes and biases.”

Morris takes his role as one of the leaders on the team very seriously. Morris makes sure he’s a daily positive influence on his peers.


“I try to be a good teammate by pushing and encouraging my teammates to be the best that they can be. Basically, building each other up during the lows and the highs,” Morris said. “I tell them to always work hard and do the best you can no matter what happens, whether it be a game or in practice.”


Emerson adds that Morris is one of those consummate teammates that every squad needs to be successful. 


“He shows up every day and works hard,” Emerson said. 


Morris is appreciative of having amazing male role models that are supportive.


“My coaches have taught me to not take everything to heart or personally. They have taught me to keep pushing to become a better person and player,” Morris said. “The best advice I’ve received from my coaches is to never walk out or quit on anything in life, no matter what.”


Emerson is an advocate of Morris’ capabilities. Morris has amassed 39 solo tackles, 27 assist tackles, and a total of 66 overall tackles (9.4 per game). 


“Against Danville he made a big catch for us, and he has been one of our leading tacklers every week,” Emerson said. 


In addition to making clutch plays, Morris is developing a high level of football IQ as well. 


Morris is growing into excellent football awareness that puts him in position to thrive. 


“Against Danville we practiced him on a vertical route during the week and he missed the catch. I talked to him about focusing on the ball when he is wide open like that, and in the [next] game he did exactly what he was supposed to do,” Emerson said. “He also fits his gap defensively almost every play correctly.”


Morris is on the grind to perfect and hone his craft in any way possible. 


“He is one of our top 3 hardest workers on the team,” Emerson said. “To get better he lifts hard every day, and he is typically our No. 1 film watcher each week.”


Emerson explains why he compares Morris to this player.  


“He reminds me of a guy who I played with at UCA named Seth Allison from Stuttgart,” Emerson said. “Seth was a workaholic like Gabe and he earned a scholarship at UCA because he was the hardest working guy on and off the field.”


Morris patterns his mentality after these athletes. 


“I look up to Deon and Keon Simmons. I had the opportunity to play with them last year and learned a lot from both of them,” Morris said. “Both were classified as underdogs, which inspires me to strive to be the best player that I can possibly be.”


Morris is constantly striving for greatness in everything that he does.


“My goals for high school are to maintain a 4.0 GPA, graduate valedictorian of my class, and to break my school’s record for tackles for the remainder of my high school career,” Morris said. 


Morris shares his top seven colleges as (in order): University of Arkansas, University of Kentucky,  Rutgers University, University of Tennessee, John Hopkins University, Texas Tech University and Carnegie Mellon University.


Morris lists math as his favorite subject in school.


“I have always loved numbers. Math comes easy for me,” Morris said. “It allows me to formulate and solve problems in my head.”


Emerson lists the improvements that will take Morris’ game to the next level.


“His biggest improvement is just getting physically able to accomplish all that we ask him to do,” Emerson said. “He has the brain power, but still lacks the size and strength necessary at times to make the plays.”


Emerson believes the sky is the limit as long as Morris continues to stay hungry.  


“He has the potential to be a great player for us in the future and to be a leader on our team.  By the time he is a senior, barring any injuries, he will have started every game we have played,” Emerson said. “His experience, plus his intelligence, and his growth (by that time) will make him an awesome high school football player.”



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