Every week, NittanyNation will pose five questions to a recruit, player, alum or coach about all things Penn State.
This week's subject is cornerback Stephon Morris, an All-Big Ten honorable mention who is hoping to be drafted next week.
NittanyNation: You ran an official 4.35 on your pro day. Just how much has that helped you with getting NFL teams' attention, and how confident are you about being drafted now?
Stephon Morris: It helped me a lot. My draft stock has been tremendously high, just talking to my agents, and a lot of teams are interested, and a lot of teams are big on me. But I feel like I got four years worth of film and started 26 games -- so the only thing I really needed to prove to the scouts, especially coming up to Penn State, was that I wasn't a typical stiff, slow corner because that's how I feel they judge us.
But when I ran that, I think my stock really went higher. I don't know my draft grade right now -- some say between the fourth and seventh, so who knows? But whether I get drafted or not, I just want a chance to prove I can play at this level.
NN: You said teams approached you after pro day and commented how they wished they would've seen more of you in man coverage. Where do you think you'd be now if you had played in this defense for all four seasons?
SM: I feel that I would've been one of the top corners in the country. I started my freshman career off in the nickel, and we had guys like NaVorro [Bowman] and Sean [Lee] and everybody, so it made everything easier. So, some games, I wasn't starting and I ended up getting on the freshman All-Big Ten team and I was kind of free. I would play man then. But then -- my sophomore, junior year -- we weren't really a blitzing team, so I played more of a Cover-3 and jumping routes. I didn't really play much man between junior and sophomore year. But coach [Ted] Roof, you know he's going to blitz you.
I feel like if I would've played in Roof's scheme or someone's like Ohio State or Virginia Tech, I would've been one of the top corners in the country, hands down.
NN: Mr. Irrelevant signed a contract last year for $400,000 with a $45K signing bonus. And practice squad players can make upwards of six figures. So, if everything goes as planned, what's the first thing you plan to buy?
SM: Probably a car. Not an expensive car, but that's the first thing I would buy. I'm pretty good at saving my money, so there'd be a car, and hopefully I'd make the team. I'm not looking at practice squad, I'm looking to make the team. And maybe then I'd get a condo or apartment.
I don't know what kind of car yet. Really, I'm just focused on the draft. It's crazy because it's so close. Hopefully, I can be drafted Day 2 of the NFL draft, Day 2 or 3. Hopefully, I go. People realize there's a lot of sleepers to draft out there.
NN: Looking back on your football career at Penn State, what's been the most memorable part for you?
SM: Probably the guys who stayed around my four years -- not the guys who left, the guys who stayed. And, right before training camp, just being around everyone who was committed. Everything from then, that's pretty much what I look at as the high point.
Just the fact that coach [Bill] O'Brien, he really has our best interests in mind, and he's by our side and is a family man. Before everything started, he called our parents and got to know them. And when you have a coach like that, you'd go through a brick wall for him. And the other coaches know a lot of football and do a lot for us, whether it's cookouts or movies or stuff like that. We didn't get that with the other staff, and it definitely went a long way with us.
I think everyone has finally accepted the sanctions, and I think that's why people aren't leaving. Some people say we restored the roar, but we all just gave 100 percent every time we stepped on the practice field. They see you can still be successful without winning bowl games.
NN: You've taken in some practices this spring and you obviously know the young DBs better than most. What underclassman has impressed you the most, and who do you think might have the brightest future?
SM: I think they have good young corners. I think Da'Quan Davis, I feel he probably has the best skill set. He's not the best overall corner yet, but he's playing well. Jordan Lucas is also doing very well, and he can play boundary and field corner. You've been at the practices, so you've seen they've really caught on -- and Trevor Williams, they moved him over and I was very impressed with him because he wasn't scared of making tackles. He's got good ball skills because he just came over from receiver.
But we have a lot of young corners, so I think it's going to come down to training camp to see which one's going to be starting.