Young Huskers: How Nebraska’s depth could give WR Stanley Morgan Jr. a breakout season
As fall camp heads into its first full week and players are fighting for starting positions, it’s a good time to look at some young guys at Nebraska who might be ready to have a breakout season.
This week, we will spotlight some “Young Huskers,” and we’ll start today with wide receiver Stanley Morgan Jr.
Who is Stanley Morgan?
After Morgan’s big freshman season in 2015, the sophomore wide receiver may not be the most unknown player on the Huskers, but thanks to the depth at wide receiver, Morgan’s talent is sometimes forgotten.
Depending on how you feel about the return of Demornay Pierson-El, Morgan, at least for now, likely sits behind Jordan Westerkamp, Alonzo Moore, Brandon Riley and Pierson-El on the depth chart.
Morgan was a 3-star recruit from New Orleans and had offers from Clemson, Tennessee, Michigan State and Utah before committing to Nebraska.
What did he do last year?
Well, he did this against UCLA in the Foster Farms Bowl:
And this at practice:
— STANLEY MORGAN JR (@Thekidstan) November 5, 2015
The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder played in all 13 games in 2015. Along the way, he rolled up 304 yards receiving and finished third on the team with 25 catches.
Morgan’s biggest game came on the road against Miami, where he caught four balls for 78 yards and a touchdown.
Why he could break out:
Jordan Westerkamp said it best a few days ago. Teams aren’t going to have to worry about just one Nebraska receiver this year. They’re going to have to worry about all of them.
With Riley and Moore as a deep threats on the outside, Westerkamp an all-the-time target in the slot and tight end Cethen Carter rumbling through the middle of the field, it might seem like Morgan has no real place in this offense for him to make a mark.
But that’s the reason why he could be huge this year. Teams have figured out they need to shade or double-cover Westerkamp. That’s usually Armstrong’s first or second read. And Nebraska can use that to their advantage.
Westerkamp, Riley and Moore will attract tons of attention, which will force defenses to put their third- or fourth-best corner on Morgan. That gets Morgan out in space to make a play, which is what he does best. He could break some big plays.
A perfect example of this comes from a touchdown against Purdue last season.
Westerkamp, Pierson-El and Cethen Carter are bunched up on the left, and Morgan is alone is in single-coverage on right. Watch how focused the defense is on that group bunched group, and not Morgan.
Morgan runs a simple out route, and when he gets the ball, the field completely opens up. And two moves later, Morgan is in for six.
On a similar note, against Miami, Westerkamp playing decoy gives Armstrong just enough time to float a pass up to Morgan in the end zone.
Morgan — lined up at the top of the screen — runs a simple slant route on an outside corner while Westerkamp drags any potential help away from the play.
That touchdown pulled Nebraska within two points late in the fourth quarter, and also shows how much trust Armstrong has in Morgan.
Teams realize how good Nebraska’s wide receivers are, but they may not realize how good Morgan is. His biggest flaw is being the youngster of the group, but if they use him right, Morgan could easily take those 25 receptions from freshman year and turn them into 40 or 45 this season.