Eric Haynes/Courier - Sophomore Defensive Back Robert Morgan on the football field on Monday, Aprill 11, 2016. Morgan will be transferring to University of North Carolina (UNC) next semester for football.
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At first glance, Robert Morgan looks like a normal football player. But when he is talking about his future on and off the field, he believes his fate is in his hands.

Robert Morgan’s football journey began in fifth grade playing pop warner football for the Baldwin Hills Bruins. His sophomore year of high school, he transferred to Oaks Christian where he graduated the No. 13-ranked prospect in California.

Morgan stopped playing for a few years when he began skateboarding – until seventh grade when his focus moved back to football.

“I didn’t start getting a love for it until about seventh grade, the year I didn’t play,” Morgan said. “I thought to myself, ‘You know what, I think I want to play football next year.’”

Morgan’s mindset was all about football after that and he said he has gotten better every year.

Morgan is his mom’s only child, and considering that, a lot of people got the misconception that he was spoiled.

On the contrary, Morgan said his mom made sure he worked for everything he got.

“I was, but everything I got, I earned. I took the steps … I had to do something in order to get it,” he said. “That was just instilled in me as a young buck saying ‘If you want something, even if it’s playing five minutes worth of video games, you’re going to have to put in something to get it in return.’”

Morgan said he is self-motivated in everything he does, but his mom’s work ethic and uncommon drive pushes him to separate himself from the average football player.

His mom is sad he is going but he said she is also very excited for him and has “saved all of her vacation time for this year” to go to North Carolina to see him play.

At PCC, Morgan played 14 games in his two seasons and racked up a few good statistics, including 37 total tackles, four interceptions, and nine broken-up passes.

Former PCC head coach Thom Kaumeyer said the biggest problem for the sophomores was him getting hired late into their offseason last year. But he still made sure to pay close attention to players.

“I think he’s going to be a good player for them. He gives you the versatility of being able to run nickel, corner or safety—things that he can pick up because he studies the game and pays attention. I think those were great things,” Kaumeyer said. “I’m proud of Rob. He worked hard and came in here after the season ready to go. He kept his diligence and improved on his fundamental stuff. They need a good leader and that’s what Rob is.”

Even though he didn’t play all of his games at PCC, Morgan still got a handful of offers from universities. He talked to a few schools and while some were close to getting him, the University of North Carolina “was the first to pull the trigger.”

He spent a weekend in Chapel Hill in early April and had dinner with two defensive coaches, the head coach, and two new teammates. The next day the head coach, Larry Fedora, told him they wanted him to be a Tar Heel.

“I went in with the mindset that if I get the offer, if I was blessed to receive the offer from coach Fedora, I was going to commit,” he said. “Educationally, UNC is there right behind Cal [Berkeley]. And football, UNC just went to the ACC championship. Then the top-20 defensive backfield in the nation and I’m getting recruited by them? There was no way I could turn it down.”

After he visited the school and talked to the coaches, he knew it was the best school for him. He said the coaches cared about the person rather than just the player, and that was a big reason he chose UNC.

On top of those factors, he said getting the chance to play football as soon as he steps on campus was a big deal because he only has two more years of college football.

Despite going into a new environment, he thinks his only enemy is going to be the humidity. He isn’t worried about anything else.

“I’m going to be fine. It’s going to be picking up the playbook quickly. I’m a pretty intelligent guy when it comes to football,” he said.

Former PCC defensive back Rodon Ogilvie knows Morgan’s work ethic and football intelligence more than anyone. Ogilvie played alongside Morgan in the backfield two seasons ago.

“He’s one of those players that when it’s time to play or work out, he wants to be the best and he wants to win. He was also a great teammate,” Ogilvie said. “He wouldn’t let you get down on yourself. He always picks his teammates up with his positive energy. He deserves everything he has accomplished. He always put in extra time in the weight room and on the field. That’s what makes him a great player. He is one of the best corners I’ve ever played with and is also one of the hardest workers.”

At the end of the day, he feels like he has been making plays on the field since he started taking football seriously and no matter how big or fast a player is, it’s still football.

Playing in the Atlantic Coast Conference gives Morgan a boost of confidence and he said he is transferring to UNC “goal-free.”

“I’m going in to work hard and be confident in my ability and just let it all happen … whatever happens. As long as I know I put 100 percent in. I’m going to have a good chance to do something – something legit. Something that’s going to open people’s eyes.”

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