”I didn’t expect it, but I wasn’t like ‘Oh my gosh, I never thought in a million years,’” said Brett Morse, who becomes the 19th known commitment for Iowa’s class of 2006.
”My dad (Steve) felt it was unbelievable. He kind of had a feeling. I had a feeling I would get something from the Big Ten, but (getting an offer) this late was a surprise. His response was, ‘Wow, unbelievable!’ I expected, at the latest, that an offer could come early last week. But it came last Friday, a few days before signing day. Both of my parents (Laura is his mother) were ecstatic like I was. It is a great feeling.”
As the old song goes, it was more than a feeling, it was a dream offer and opportunity for the athlete from Hinsdale, Illinois.
On Friday morning, he woke up as a verbal commitment to Central Michigan. His other offer was from Western Michigan. The big boys had flirted with him early on in the process, with most of them falling by the wayside last summer and into the fall.
”In late May I received phone calls from all of the Big Ten schools save Ohio State. But other than that, it was pretty much Iowa, Northwestern and Minnesota plus the two offers I got in Central and Western Michigan.” Morse said.
Morse feels that an early season injury (to his elbow) was a part of the reason he was not more widely sought after, which didn’t allow him to play defense until late in the year.
”I think what hurt me was that I played quarterback and you have to be the best of the best to get an offer at quarterback. Those guys throw everyday. My senior year, my injury hurt me there. I didn’t get cleared to play defense until the last game. So the bigger schools were after me as an athlete, sort of a tight end/linebacker guy, so that hurt me. But it worked out in the end,” said Morse, who accounted for more than 3,300 total yards last year, which set a school record.
He rushed for over 1,500 yards, threw for over 1,200 yards, in addition to racking up 418 kickoff return yards, including one return that went 97 yards for a touchdown.
Morse knew from a very early age that football was something he loved being a part of.
”Football is my true love. This was my eighth year playing football. Hitting and being able to do that and not get in trouble for it…It’s so much fun and it’s by far my first and true love of all the sports I have played,” said Morse, who also plays baseball.
It was midway through his ‘career’ that some coaches felt he might have a shot to keep playing after his high school days were finished.
”A couple of my coaches played college ball, and when I was in 8th grade, they told me I would have a shot at playing college ball. But I didn’t think I would be playing Hawkeye football.” Morse said.
After my sophomore year, our head coach (Tony Lombardi) told me that if I worked at it, I could be a Division I football player. After my junior year, I hoped people would come on to me. I felt that I had a good year this year and I was really happy with Central Michigan, but you can’t turn down a school like Iowa who has been there the whole time. It is my dream school.”
When asked why Iowa was his dream school, Morse was quite eager to elaborate, still sounding somewhat awestruck that conversations like these were even taking place with the subject matter being about his being a member of the Iowa Hawkeyes.
”The overall combination of academics and the football program stand out. I know a ton of people that go there or have gone there and say that it was the best time of their life, the whole Big Ten atmosphere.” Morse said. “Obviously, Coach (Kirk) Ferentz is arguably the best coach in the country. He is constantly getting attention from the NFL, so the overall combination is great.”
The NFL attention is something that Morse sees as a plus.
”It definitely is. A coach who is not good or qualified is not going to get calls from the pro’s, so you know that you have a great man. It gives all of us a great opportunity to play for a great coach.”
Morse was able to take a tour of Iowa’s campus just prior to last summer when he attended a one-day camp in Iowa City. The family didn’t rush right out and buy any Iowa gear this weekend, though his girlfriend did pick him up a key chain.
”I am going to get some stuff on my official visit next weekend and get the real McCoy down on campus,” Morse stated.
Though Morse has never seen a game at Kinnick, he is familiar with what the Hawkeyes have accomplished on the field.
”I am a big football fan. I am a Big Ten fan, so I watch as many games as I can between my playing and practices and that. I tried to watch as many Iowa and Big Ten games as I could this year,” said Morse, who is 6-feet-4 and 220 pounds with 4.65 forty-yard dash speed.
Morse admitted that it was hard for him to get to sleep last Friday after instantly accepting Iowa’s scholarship offer.
”Yeah, I was pretty excited. I was just thinking that it was a dream come true. I was just thinking about playing in front of 70,000 people and then playing at Michigan and Ohio State that have over 100,000 fans. It’s unbelievable. I am used to playing in front of a few hundred people. This is just unbelievable.”
It would appear that the Iowa staff has once again found a lightly regarded prospect who is more than just appreciative of the chance to play football for them and someone that intends to come in and give the program everything he has, an all too familiar formula and ingredient to the success Iowa has enjoyed in recent years.
”Just to be a part of what they do and what they stand for,” said Morse, pausing to find the right word. “I mean…it’s unbelievable.”
Unbelievable, indeed, for it was just this past Friday when Brett Morse was just going through the normal motions of his life, same as he always had, when the phone rang…and his life was changed forever.