Memphis East offensive tackle Christian Morris is the Class of 2013 TNVarsity.com Lineman of the Year.
The 6-foot-6, 292-pound 4-Star prospect, who took up football as a junior, is improving every time he steps on the football field.
Rivals.com reported from the U.S. Army All-American Bowl earlier this month in San Antonio that Morris "held his own" in practice against outstanding East defensive ends (LSU commit) Frank Herron (Memphis Central) and (Alabama commit) Jonathan Allen (Stone Bridge High, Ashburn, Va.)
Herron is a strong pass rusher, who was elevated to 5-Star status by Rivals.com on Monday, and Allen is a 6-3, 255-pound 5-Star with 4.5 speed in the 40.
"Morris used his long arms effectively, moved his feet consistently and engaged with aggressiveness," Rivals analyst reported about his efforts against the East stars in practice.
Morris was impressed with the honor of being named the Class of 2013 TNVarsity.com Tennessee Lineman of the Year.
"It's a great honor," Morris said. "I've been working so hard since day one to get my name out there and dominate other guys to prove I am the best player for my position in the state of Tennessee."
Morris said he actually started as a basketball player but when he began playing football he loved it.
He talks about the struggles physically and mentally that he had growing up in Memphis and how he has worked to conquer the trials and tribulations.
"I always had to fight to prove I wasn't weak," he said. "I always was picked on, talked about, and hated as a child. I was one of the children who started off bad and I was hanging with the wrong crowd and was a little thug. When I enrolled in middle school I always heard this phrase, 'You're big and soft, you're not good enough, and you suck.' I heard this all the way to my ninth grade year. So, I sat and thought to myself one day and said I'm going to prove them wrong and look where I'm going now. This honor is a way to get back at my foes."
Morris said his work ethic has improved in the short two years he has played football. He added that it's important for him to stay in shape and look fit and lean.
He hasn't had to look far for offensive linemen to serve as role models he could pattern himself after in his future.
"There are many linemen, such as Michael Oher (Baltimore Ravens) and Antonio Richardson (Tennessee Vols), that I look up to," he said. "I feel that they are high caliber players I can see myself following after. I look at those players and say to myself, 'I'm going to be better. I'm going to make myself different ... I'm going to become not just a typical lineman but a skilled lineman.'"
In his own words, Morris said wherever he enrolls in college he plans on becoming the best at his position.
"I want to be an All-American, an Outland Trophy winner, a first round draft choice, etc.," he said. "But the major thing for me is obtaining a degree in respiratory therapy and giving back to both communities in the state I go (to school) and (in) Tennessee."
Hidden behind the rough and tough exterior Morris is forced to portray to survive on the gridiron as well as in life is a concerned youngster who is serious about his future and is appreciative for what others have done for him.
He thanks his great grandmother, his parents, his brother, family and coaches for what they have done for him. In addition, he takes time to also thank his girlfriend's family that he refers to as his, "second family."
Nevertheless, Christian Morris has a rock solid plan for his everyday life that he takes very seriously. Football has become a tool to implement that plan.
"I'm just trying to make it and get out of Memphis," Morris said.
Morris is verbally committed to UCLA and has had visits to Nebraska and Tennessee.
He has received more than 20 scholarship offers, including six from SEC schools, plus Oklahoma, Texas, Washington and Southern California to name a few.