Henderson (Nev.) Foothill head coach Marty Redmond has seen plenty of jaw-dropping plays made by his star athlete Tyler Morris. But there's one in particular that Redmond will never forget.
It happened during the Falcons' regional championship game against Liberty High School last year. Needing a quick score and under pressure, Foothill's quarterback threw up a hail mary pass to a double-covered Morris. As the ball hurtled towards the back of the end zone, one of the defenders -- an all-conference defensive back -- leaped up and got his hands on the ball for what looked to be a heart-breaking interception. But as the three bodies collided going for the ball, Morris ripped it out of his defender's hands and came away with a highlight-reel touchdown.
"Thats the kind of player he is," Redmond said. "He just made a huge play in a huge game ... he rises to the occasion in the biggest moments and that's the kind of kid I think he is."
SDSU saw the same exact thing when a member of the coaching staff went by Foothill to check out Morris.
"He kind of reminded them of Brian Urlacher at New Mexico," Redmond said. "They moved him all over the place, from safety to outside linebacker, and weren't sure exactly what position Tyler would play but knew he was just a really good athlete and would fit somewhere in their system."
While the Aztecs were enamored with Morris, the 6-foot-3, 195-pound athlete quickly fell in love with them as well. So much so, that it didn't even take him a week to accept SDSU's scholarship offer and become the first commit of the 2013 class.
"He's a good one," Redmond said. "They got a real good football player and a lot of other schools were disappointed when he committed to San Diego State, but that's the place he really wanted to go and I think it's going to be a good fit for them there."
"I knew he was going to get more offers from other schools if he waited," the Foothill head coach continued. "Other schools were very interested in him and wanted more film. But when he got that offer from San Diego State, that was one of his dream spots. We talked about how if he committed now he wouldn't have to worry about the rest of the recruiting season. He talked about it with his family and they decided that they put San Diego State on the pedestal and there wasn't any better school for him, so he decided to commit early. He's happy with his decision and I think it's a good decision for him because it's the place he wants to be."
Morris plays three different sports at Foothill (football, basketball and baseball), and could play multiple positions at SDSU as well, depending on where the Aztecs need him. He has the coverage skills and awareness to be a WARRIOR free safety, the ability to stop the run as an outside linebacker, or even do both at Urlacher's old spot -- the AZTEC safety, which is the most important position in the 3-3-5 defense. Redmond also believes that Morris can get it done on the offensive side of the ball as a wide receiver as well.
"He just plays hard, every position he plays. It doesn't matter what he plays, it could be a pickup basketball game, the kid goes hard all the time. He played special teams, offense and defense for us and doesn't come off the field a whole lot. He's a real versatile player, plays extremely hard and physical and fast and he's very athletic.
"He's only 195 pounds and he's 6'3. His body's very strong already and could even put on a lot more weight in his upper body still. He has that frame where he could definitely pack on more muscle weight and play in college much bigger than he is right now."
According to Redmond, Morris is not only a standout athlete on the gridiron, but a stand-up individual off the field as well.
"He's a dream kid and they're not going to have any problems with him off the field. He's a good student, great character kid, I never worry about him getting into trouble. He's always doing the right thing. He's a dream to coach. He's the definition of a student-athlete and does all the right things all the time. He's a leader by example. He goes out there and works hard and everybody else has to keep up with him or they're going to be left way behind."