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Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Four-star WR Stephens running wide open

By Derek Tyson

PERRY, Fla. -- When former Florida State defensive ends coach D.J. Eliot left to take the defensive coordinator position at Kentucky, four-star wide receiver Moral Stephens (Perry, Fla./Taylor County) was caught off guard.

The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Stephens had built a strong relationship with Eliot, and his departure affected the recruitment of Stephens.

"When D.J. Eliot was at Florida State, we were really close," Stephens said. "Everyone thought I was going there because I would visit all the time, but that's because me and coach Elliot had a great relationship.

"But after he moved, I wouldn't say it pushed me away from FSU, but we don't talk as much as we used to. We talk sometimes, like when I go visit them, but it's not like it was when D.J. was there."

Florida State was once in the driver's seat for Stephens, but now he insists he is wide open.

"At the moment, there aren't really any schools standing out," Stephens said. "Me and my family are just enjoying the process. I've been on a lot of visits like to Florida and FSU, but we haven't actually sat down and looked at each school, like what I want to major in and things like that."

Stephens, who is planning to camp at FSU and Florida this summer, said the Gators are recruiting him a little differently than the other schools.

"Florida wants me to do what Jordan Reed did -- like some of the hybrid tight end stuff," Stephens said. "I mean, that's OK, but if I had the choice I'd like to play receiver. I haven't ever played tight end. Growing up I was like the quarterback or running back or receiver, so it would be different, but I would probably catch on to it the more we practice."

As a junior, the talented athlete scored seven touchdowns and gained 700 yards receiving despite missing several games with an ankle injury. Stephens also averaged over 25 points per game in basketball.

To date, only Kentucky has mentioned giving Stephens the opportunity to play both basketball and football on the next level. It's something that he admits would be intriguing to him.

"I mean, I prefer football," he said, "but if someone wants to offer me a scholarship in basketball, too, then that would definitely come in to play with my recruitment."

As for his future plans, Stephens said he just wants to prove to teams that he has fully recovered from the injuries that plagued him his junior year.

"I want to go to as many camps as I can because I'm not a 4.8 guy -- I was injured when I ran my last recorded 40 time," he said. "I want to show that I can run a 4.4, like I always do. That's why Florida suggested tight end because of what I ran in the 40. I want to prove that I'm faster than that."

Stephens has no time frame on when he would like to make his final decision.