Today we take a look at a very intriguing prospect in SU signee Landon Morris. Morris is a 6-5, 210 pound tight end prospect from La Grange Park, Illinois and played his high school ball at Nazareth Academy. He picked Syracuse over Iowa State and Central Florida and also had offers from Michigan, Boston College, and Toledo.
Morris is rated as a three star prospect with a rating of 83, according to 247sports.com. He and fellow Syracuse commit Terry Lockett held offers from the University of Michigan. In fact, his former quarterback at Nazareth Academy, J.J. McCarthy, is a five star prospect who just signed to be a Wolverine.
This was a big recruiting win beating out midwest power five schools in Michigan and Iowa State. Both of those programs wanted to use Morris as a big, jump ball receiver, but clearly the pitch to play tight end by Syracuse was enough to earn the Illinois native’s services.
The Orange already have a tight end prospect in the 2021 class in Derek McDonald, but he was recruited to play linebacker. With Morris’ signature, Syracuse has a true pass-catching tight end, otherwise known as a “flex.” He mostly splits out as a receiver, but his frame could come in handy and make him a difficult cover.
Morris has been compared to Green Bay Packers receiver Allen Lazard, who was a pass-catching tight end at Iowa State. Another comparison can be drawn to New York Giants tight end/receiver Evan Engram. He is a “flex” tight end and is often picked to hold down that spot in fantasy football. He is 6-3, 240 pound receiving tight end that lines up in the slot and provides a matchup nightmare for both linebackers and nickelbacks.
Morris presents mismatches and puts pressure on defensive coordinators. On third and short Babers could dial up a five wide set. If the defense runs man coverage, they may have to put their best nickelback on him. This allows the other four receivers to get a more favorable matchup and opportunities to get open and make plays. The defense could also opt for a zone look which is very difficult to defend against an empty set, all of this because of Morris’ presence on the field.
At 210 pounds, Morris will need to add to his frame (if he plays tight end) and will likely be redshirted. At 6-5 though, he has an excellent catch radius and shows the ability to win jump balls in his film. He could be a weapon in Babers’ offensive scheme as a possession receiver and a red zone threat lining up on the line or in the slot. There were several formations where tight ends were utilized in the passing game the last two season through the screen game and five wide sets. Morris naturally fits into this scheme and can thrive in that role.
All members of Syracuse’s 2021 class put pen to paper earlier this week. The class features players spanning from several different states including high school football talent hotbeds Georgia, Illinois, and South Carolina. The class is currently ranked 54th nationally and 12th in the ACC with an average player rating of 0.8456, according to 247sports.com.