Wednesday, November 17, 2010

MVSU's Morgan to recruits: We have plenty of open spots

GREENVILLE – Mississippi Valley State head football coach Karl Morgan has a message for recruits: if you want to play right away, MVSU may be your best shot.
“The No. 1 thing we can sell here – besides the chance to get a quality education – is opportunity. The opportunity to come in and be a part of something right now,” said Morgan, whose team just wrapped up an 0-10 season after falling to Alabama A&M 21-7 at Greenville-Weston High.
Needless to say, the Delta Devils need help. They’ve lost their last 11 games; their last victory came in Nov. 2009 when they defeated then-winless Lincoln University, 16-6.
This year, MVSU sits dead last in the SWAC in both scoring offense and defense. The Delta Devils didn’t score their first touchdown until the third game of the season during a 27-9 loss to Alcorn State.
Next year, Valley will retain quarterback Oliver Hughes and their two top receivers Paul Cox (21 catches, 520 yards, five TD’s) and Chris Williams (32 catches, 315 yards).
But Morgan contends that everyone’s job is up for grabs this offseason.
“We have a lot of positions that we need help and upgrade (in)….We have nobody really set in stone as far as coming back for next year…..All positions can be upgraded,” said Morgan.
So, coach Morgan what exactly is your living room pitch to recruits?
“If you want to play (and) wanna play right now, you want to come in and really be a factor in helping us turn it around, you can do that here,” said Morgan.
“You won’t have to go and sit, let’s say, if you go to a place like Jackson (State) or Alcorn (State) maybe. You may have to spend a little more time in the waiting process. Our deal is wide open. I’m not going to guarantee anybody is going to start, but I’ll tell you what – I can give you pretty good odds that you have a real good chance at coming in and playing.”
One area Valley looks to need an immediate upgrade in is at running back. Chris Watkins’ 406 yards and two touchdowns lead the team in both categories. It marked the second straight season MVSU didn’t have a player to reach the 500-yard mark.
Morgan said he has his eyes on both high school seniors and transfers – anybody that can make an immediate impact.
“I think it’s gotta be a mix. We need immediate help in a lot of positions,” he said.
One of those positions Morgan refers to is his injury-riddled linebacker corps.
“Linebacker-wise, I think we finished the year with five guys that are traveling (from different positions),” said Morgan. “We lost three guys to (season-ending injuries) at linebacker. So at that position, we need numbers and we need an upgrade.”
Morgan was announced as the team’s head coach in early January, which put him several steps behind on the recruiting trail, resulting in no announced signees a few weeks later on Signing Day.
But there’s an upside to that scenario, said Morgan.
“We have money left over because we didn’t sign many (recruits) last year,” he said during a recent SWAC teleconference.
Despite having no signees in January, no home stadium in 2010, and an athletic budget of only $3.3 million — which is $1.9 million less than Alcorn State and $3.5 million short of Jackson State — Morgan says money isn't the problem.
“Money isn’t the reason we’re losing," Morgan said in an interview with the Associated Press. “We’ve got to get some better players...”

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