It’s that time again! In just 84 days from this wonderful Sunday, the Oklahoma Sooners will kick off the 2019 season. That’s only 12 weeks, folks! For today’s Countdown to Kickoff installment, I want to highlight a current player who has put in as much work as anybody on the team and has seen that effort paid off tenfold. That’s right, I’m talking about touchdown machine Lee Morris.
8⃣4⃣ Days Until ⭕️ Kickoff.— Sooner Gridiron (@soonergridiron) June 9, 2019
"Touchdown! Lee Morris has given Oklahoma the lead. Lee Morris a second generation Oklahoma Sooner. His dad, Lee, was a wide receiver in the middle 80s."#OUDNA | #BoomerSoonerpic.twitter.com/RLrL7FLCTn
Lee Morris enrolled at OU in 2015, but he’s really been a Sooner since birth. His father, Del City native Lee Morris Jr., lettered at Oklahoma in 1985-86, and like his old man, he’s also a receiver. Coming out of Allen High School, where he was once teammates with Kyler Murray, Morris crossed the Red River to play for his long beloved school as a walk-on.
Morris mostly saw the field on special teams in 12 games during his freshman campaign, but he continued to work hard in practice and was rewarded with more significant opportunities as a sophomore. His touchdown reception against Ohio State in 2017 was a major moment in his career in one of college football’s marquee non-conference games that season, which ultimately led to his emergence as a legitimate weapon for whoever was behind center for the Crimson & Cream.
Even as Morris developed as a receiver, his presence was still felt on special teams. Check out his punt block in 2018’s season opener against Florida Atlantic.
When he’s on the field and the ball comes his way, Morris seems to play bigger than his already stout 6’2”, 212-pound frame. His kind of open-field physicality is a valued trait, and even with that kind of size, the man has speed to burn.
As I mentioned before, Morris is basically a walking touchdown reception. For his career, he’s hauled in 23 catches for 518 yards and 10 scores. With an almost 2:1 catch-TD ratio, and an average of 22.5 yards per reception, he’s proven himself to be a big play threat and then some. After his big day versus FAU, Lincoln Riley had seen enough. It was finally time to reward the walk-on in the best way possible.
Now on scholarship, Morris is entering his senior season at Oklahoma and will be relied upon as both a playmaker and a veteran. Interestingly enough, he’s one of three players currently on the roster who has caught a touchdown pass from both Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray during their Heisman Trophy winning years, with the other two being TE Grant Calcaterra and WR CeeDee Lamb.
If this one-handed grab and sprint for a TD during the 2019 OU Spring Game was any indication, it looks like the Sooners’ next signal caller will have quite the weapon to go to should he call Lee Morris’ number.
Now let’s cover any days we missed since our last countdown post:
85 Days! - The 1985 Oklahoma Sooners
34 seasons ago, OU embarked on one of the most magical seasons in program history. In 1985, after opening the season at No. 2 in the AP poll, the Sooners started the season 3-0 and were looking like legitimate national title contenders. Led by Barry Switzer, Oklahoma then hosted Jimmy Johnson and the Miami Hurricanes. That’s when everything changed.
Starting quarterback Troy Aikman was injured in that game and would be lost for the season. To add insult to injury, ‘The U’ beat Oklahoma 27-14 on national television. The Sooners plummeted in the rankings and needed an answer at QB in the worst way. Switzer decided to turn to a true freshman named Jamelle Holieway, and the rest is history.
Holieway ran OU’s reborn wishbone to absolute perfection. Over the next four games, the Sooners averaged over 47 points per game and rose up to No. 5 in the nation. Then came a meeting with storied rival Nebraska, the No. 2 squad in the land. This rivalry became that much more important for Oklahoma, who needed to run the table if they were going to have a chance to reach a national championship game.
Of course, OU went on to crush the Huskers, 27-7, and won its final two games of the regular season for a 10-1 record, a No. 3 ranking and an Orange Bowl meeting with top-ranked Penn State for all the marbles.
It was a great game full of talent and entertainment, but there was no doubt which team was superior. The Sooners defeated the Nittany Lions, 25-10 to capture the program’s sixth national title thanks to Holieway’s heroics, Keith Jackson, Spencer Tillman and Lydell Carr’s offensive production, and a defensive unit featuring All-Americans Brian Bosworth, Tony Casillas and Kevin Murphy.
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