Notebook: CB Morris impresses with speed
March, 11, 2013
By Josh Moyer | ESPN.com
Justin K. Aller/Getty ImagesStephon Morris is only 5-foot-8, but his speed is his calling card for NFL scouts.
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Cornerback Stephon Morris couldn't suppress a grin when he stepped outside Holuba Hall right after Penn State's pro day.
With a white business card from the New England Patriots in hand, Morris said he spoke with several teams -- including the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans -- but that wasn't the only reason for the smile. Standing at 5-foot-8, he knew his time at the 40-yard dash would be critical.
"You can't have a slow 5-8 corner," he said. "So I'm just glad I wowed them."
Morris couldn't have been happier with his speed Monday afternoon. He claimed he spoke to two scouts after his 40, one of whom hand-timed him at 4.16 while another clocked him at 4.22 on the first run. His official time was a 4.35.
"A 4.16?" one reporter asked incredulously.
"Yeah," Morris said with a laugh. "I rode into it, though."
Although that unofficial number would be pretty impressive if accurate, the bottom line is that Morris was able to turn in a good time after missing a spot in the NFL combine by a mere two votes. He said he his measurements came in at 5-foot-8, 188 pounds, and he did 18 reps on the bench press.
The media wasn't permitted to watch the workouts, which 25 NFL teams attended, but Morris said he was pleased with the scouts' response to his numbers. When asked again about his speed, Morris pointed toward the Outback Bowl in 2011 when he ran down Florida tailback Chris Rainey, who's been timed as fast as 4.28 seconds.
Regardless of his times, though, Morris is just hoping he might hear his name called in late April.
"There's shockers who get drafted every year," Morris said. "And, hopefully, I'll be one of those shockers."
Early rounds: Linebacker Gerald Hodges and defensive tackle Jordan Hill said they're both hoping to be selected in the second or third rounds.
And if they do happen to drop to the fourth?
"I'll be a little upset," Hill acknowledged. But I'll be ready to go to work. I just need the opportunity; I need to get my foot in the door."
Said Hodges: "I'll be upset, too, if I went down that far, but I'm going to put it all in God's hands. Just as long as I have my chance to play in the NFL, it's a dream come true. No matter how you get there, it's how you perform once you get there."
Hodges said he'll be working out in State College for now and already has some individual workouts scheduled with a few teams. He wouldn't name them, but he did say he had formal interviews at the combine with the Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders and Baltimore Ravens, among others.
Hill impresses: The defensive tackle said he probably wasn't ready to run the 40-yard dash at the combine because of his lingering knee injury. But he wanted to do everything at the combine; he figured he'd just improve upon those numbers at pro day.
He did just that. He said he turned in a 4.97-second 40 -- 0.26 seconds faster than his combine time -- and increased his broad jump to 9-foot-3.
"I was able to get a full-night sleep; a lot more stress was off," Hill said. "It was my first 40 I ran out there ... and it was one of those things that was brand new to me."
Patience, patience: Now comes the hard part for Rimington Trophy finalist Matt Stankiewitch -- the waiting game.
The center said he felt relaxed after taking part in pro day, but he knew that feeling wouldn't last.
"Of course, you're on edge because you don't know what you're future's going to be like," he said. "I have it in my head that I'm going to get drafted. If I don't, I don't. If I do, I do. In the NFL, it matters where you end -- not where you start."
Stankiewitch took part in field drills and just the broad jump because he didn't want to risk injury and said he believed his numbers would likely be similar those at the NFL combine. He increased his broad jump six inches -- to 8-foot-2 from 7-8.
Package deal?: Fullback Michael Zordich is hoping to land on an NFL team, while his father is hoping for the same -- albeit as a coach -- after the Philadelphia Eagles revamped their staff.
The younger Zordich said the two often joke they're both looking for NFL jobs at the same time. And they're both on the phone trying to find the right place.
"That'd be awesome," he said about the two landing on the same team. "I wouldn't mind playing for Pop."
He said he's not sure whether he'll be drafted, but his focus at this point his just making it to a camp.
The Early Offer: March 5
BIG TEN SCOREBOARD
Final Washington State 45 Colorado State 48 Final 20 Fresno State 20 25 USC 45 Final Buffalo 24 San Diego State 49 Final Tulane 21 Louisiana-Lafayette 24
Final Pittsburgh 30 Bowling Green 27 Final Utah State 21 23 Northern Illinois 14
Final Marshall 31 Maryland 20 Final Syracuse 21 Minnesota 17 Final Brigham Young 16 Washington 31
Final Rutgers 16 Notre Dame 29 Final Cincinnati 17 North Carolina 39 Final Miami (FL) 9 18 Louisville 36 Final Michigan 14 Kansas State 31
Final Middle Tennessee 6 Navy 24 Final Ole Miss 25 Georgia Tech 17 Final 10 Oregon 30 Texas 7 Final 14 Arizona State 23 Texas Tech 37
Final Arizona 42 Boston College 19 Final Virginia Tech 12 17 UCLA 42 Final Rice 7 Mississippi State 44 Final 24 Duke 48 21 Texas A&M 52
Final Nebraska 24 22 Georgia 19 Final UNLV 14 North Texas 36 Final Iowa 14 16 LSU 21 Final 19 Wisconsin 24 9 South Carolina 34 Final 5 Stanford 20 4 Michigan State 24 Final 15 UCF 52 6 Baylor 42
Final 13 Oklahoma State 31 8 Missouri 41 Final 12 Clemson 40 7 Ohio State 35