19 Feb 2014 01:39 PM EST
-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Iowa LB James Morris makes tackle against instate rival Iowa State. (Image Source: Charlie Neibergall)
Former Iowa middle linebacker James Morris was named to the All-Big Ten second team. He was the only player in the conference with at least 90 tackles, four sacks and four INTs this past season. Not just a star on the field, the Iowa native shined off it as well. The Hawkeye was named to the Capitol One Academic All-America first team and was a William V. Campbell Trophy finalist. Morris was a guest on The B1G Show this week. Listen to the entire podcast below.
We last spoke back in December in New York. What have you been up to since then in terms of preparing for the NFL Draft?
I’m back on campus in Iowa City. I don’t graduate until May so I’m still taking classes. So my day-to-day is pretty much…I wake up, eat and I go workout. Usually finish with my workouts between noon and 1:00 and then after that it’s schoolwork. It’s a quiet life, but it’s exciting. We’ve got the combine this week and that’s what I’ve been working for these last two months so I’m excited.
Did you make sure to load up on some easy classes this semester?
(Laughs) I don’t want to go on record saying that, (so) no. Right now I’m taking business and industry, an independent study that’s a research tutorial and I’m taking a statistics class online. It’s not my hardest schedule.
How much of your combine preparation is beyond the physical?
I think I’m preparing as much as I need to. I’ve talked to my agent about it a little bit. Coach (Chris) Doyle, who’s our strength coach, he’s trained a lot of guys that have gone through the combine. He’s given us some pointers, some interview etiquette if you will. I don’t think it’s something you need to overthink. I think if you’re a good guy and you’re honest, hopefully you’ll be able to portray that. It doesn’t keep me up at night.
How is your workout regiment preparing for the combine different than the way you’ve been training for four years as a football player?
In the offseason when I was still on the team we were doing similar stuff but a lot of the drill work that we would do, the speed training, the strength training, was more general. The coaches made sure to emphasize that drills were competitive. Guys were pitted against one another. We were also doing things to maximize our speed of course. What we’ve been doing this winter has been much more drill specific. We know in Indianapolis we’re going to be tested on drills X, Y and Z, so we’ve been practicing the heck out of drills X, Y and Z, and doing things that are going to supplement and improve our performance in those drills.
Do you plan on doing all the drills?
Yeah. I’m as healthy as I’ve been in a long time. I feel good. My numbers are good. I’m excited to perform.
I guess only the prima donna quarterbacks skip the drills…
I wouldn’t say that. When you’re talking about millions of dollars on the line. Some guys get in these situations where they have nothing to gain and everything to lose. That’s when you’ve got to start making some big decisions, so I don’t judge anyone else’s situation. For me, I feel like I need to go to the combine and I need to do well if I’m gonna end up where I wanna be.
Iowa linebackers Anthony Hitchens and Christian Kirksey will be there as well. How cool is that to have all three of you represented there?
It’s pretty cool. I know those two guys very well and I can speak to the quality of players and quality of athletes that they are. We will be well represented, our Iowa football will, so it’s up to us now to go out and perform.
How much competition between you guys? Any predictions?
Oh, it’s absolutely a competition. As far as predictions, I don’t know. It really just depends on the day. Who’s feeling the best? Who’s less sore? Who’s got enough oil in their joints? I would bet that all of us are going to be in the same ballpark in every single one of the drills.
Who would chirp the most if they came out on top, be the loudest about it?
Oh probably…(pause)… Ah… I don’t know.
You know who it is…
No, no, no. I’m going to have to pass on that one. That could be misconstrued as me saying somebody is a showboat and I don’t think any of us is a showboat. It’s impossible to say.
It’s friendly banter among friends. That’s different than showboating.
OK, I’ll let you pass on that.
Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards.