Introducing the 2007 Class: Morris Wooten

Introducing the 2007 Class: Morris Wooten

The need for a middle linebacker in the upcoming season was evident. ASU's coaches didn't have to look far to find Morris Wooten. He was penciled into the Sun Devils' starting position at the beginning of spring practice, and early reviews indicate that he's likely to stay there. While confident in his abilities, the linebacker told Devils Digest that he is not taking anything for granted.

The 6-1 237 Morris Wooten was the first verbal commitment under new Arizona State Head Coach Dennis Erickson. The Glendale (Ariz.) Community College standout signed with the Sun Devils as a mid-year transfer, after initially committing to West Virginia. The Sun Devils did show some interest in the linebacker under the Koetter staff, and once the staffs changed in Tempe his recruitment by the maroon and gold picked up considerably.

"Coach Cozzetto gave me a call and my Coach at GCC Coach Kersting told me that I have a chance to go to ASU," recalled Wooten. "During that same time I was still talking to West Virginia. Once I found out that ASU really wanted me that persuaded me to stay in-state. This is where I've been all my life, and I'm on a good team with good coaches."

Along with West Virginia, Wooten visited UTEP. In his mind he was fully ready to venture away from home to play his last two years of college football. "West Virginia is a nice place," he said. "The players were nice, the coaches were nice. But why should I go so far, when I have it all here. If I have a good environment here, I don't have to go across the country to play football. I'm in my own backyard and I'm happy to be home."

Wooten prepped at Maryvale High School in Phoenix and accepted an offer from Idaho State to play football for the Bengals, but he didn't take things seriously during his time in Pocatello. "I redshirted there and I had to get my grades in-order and the surrounding area wasn't very good so I started to think about transferring," Wooten told JCFootball.com. "Coach (Mickey) Bell from Glendale had tried to get me out of high school and he said that if I ever needed to find a home that I should call him up. After I was at Idaho State for a semester, I called him up and he said ‘come on down' so I headed back home here and I joined Glendale."

As a valley native, Wooten has been attending Sun Devil games at a very early age, mainly because of his cousin and ex-Sun Devil Mitchell Freedman. Last season he attended the last two home games against Washington State and UCLA. He is also friendly with current ASU players Keegan Herring and fellow Maryvale graduate Robert James. "I always loved ASU," he remarked. "and I always wanted to go there."

In his sophomore year for the 9-2 Gauchos, Wooten tallied 104 tackles, four sacks and two forced fumbles. He was voted NJCAA Region 1 Defensive Player of the Year, 2006 All-WSFL First Team, and 2nd Team NJCAA All-American Selection. "I'm a physical player, and I can move fast from sideline to sideline," said the middle linebacker of his skills. "I always go with my first instinct. I need to focus more on my pass coverage." Wooten has been clocked with a 4.58 forty time, has a 35-inch vertical and benches 24 reps at 225 pounds.

Like any JC transfer, the expectations of Wooten are to produce right away and be a leader in his position. "I'm always gonna give my best anyway," he stated. "I know I have to work hard to make that transition from the JUCO level to the Division I level. Even though I'm starting, I know anyone's position can be taken. I'm not saying I'm better than the next guy, but I will work harder than the next guy to keep my spot."

"(Defensive Coordinator) Coach Bray never promised me anything, but he said that if I work for it the spot is mine. Everybody is pushing each other to get better. If I'm that guy that starts, then I'm that guy. No matter if I start or not, I'm gonna keep on working hard."

Despite his success in the spring, Wooten admitted that the transition to the next level has been rough. "I'm coming along, and learning from my teammates and my coaches," he commented. "I'm just working to try and get better and learn the schemes. The speed is very different from junior college and the defensive coverages are very different too. Once I get adapted to the speed and get the schemes down I'll be fine."

"A lot of this scheme is based on instinct, but you still have to know what you're doing," Wooten explained. "If you know what you're doing, you'll be able to react faster. Instinct is a big part of playing this position. I like this scheme because it does suit my skills."

With 11 players currently listed at the linebacker position, it would be an understatement to say that there's a plethora of bodies at this position. "Nothing is secure," said Wooten. "We're all working out there, competing for the same spots. I'm just trying to get better and we're all just building off each other. We all know that the best are gonna play."

And true to that last statement, Wooten is playing well, filling a major defensive need for the Sun Devils and getting to do so in his hometown school.

Recruit Profile

Name

Morris Wooten

High School/Junior College

Maryvale (Phoenix. Ariz.)/Glendale (Ariz.) Community College

Position

LB

Height

6-1

Weight

237

Date of Birth

2/6/86

Birthplace

Phoenix, Ariz.

Nickname

"In high school they called me ‘Moose', and in JC they called me ‘Woot'."

Favorite TV Show

"The Simpsons"

Favorite Movie

"Saw 3"

Favorite Singer

"50 Cent"

Favorite Food

"Spaghetti"

Favorite Drink

"Pink Lemonade"

Favorite Athlete

Ray Lewis

Favorite Pro Team

Baltimore Ravens

Person you most admire

"My mom. She has gone through a lot of struggles in her life and I have too. She taught us to always work hard no matter what, and I'm just trying to follow that path."

First Football Memory

"Playing when I was 8 yards old and just hitting people. No technique, just running around and tackling (laughs)."

One Thing most people don't know about me

"I'm a nice guy, but I can also be the opposite a lot of times."

Why did you choose ASU?

"They are so many reasons…I would say the environment, the coaches and the players."

Where do you want to be in ten years?

"In the NFL. If that doesn't work out, then coaching in high school."

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