Maiden linebacker Morgan named to Shrine Bowl

Blue Devils’ linebacker, Chris Morgan (32) is 12th player from Maiden to be selected to Shrine Bowl. (Photo by Cody Dalton/ CSD Photography)
Cody Dalton
O-N-E Contributor

Inside linebacker Chris Morgan has been chosen to the 83rd Annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas — becoming the 72nd different prep football player from Catawba County and 12th from Maiden High School to be selected to the prestigious all-senior prep football game.

The 6-foot, 230-pound Morgan found out about his selection to the game after a video announcement was made on Facebook by the Shrine Bowl.

“When I heard my name, I was shocked,” Morgan said. “Out of all the football players in North Carolina, I was one of the 44 chosen. I was really happy about that. I am doing this for Maiden football, my coaches and my teammates.”

Morgan attended two Shrine Bowl combines — the first at AC Reynolds High School in Asheville, N.C. in May.

He impressed so much at that first combine that he was called back to a second comeback at Salisbury High School in July where only 44 of the 100 invited players would make the final Shrine Bowl roster.

“I thought I did good at both of the combines,” Morgan said. “I thought that I had a good chance of making the team.”

Maiden head football coach Will Byrne — who was selected to the Shrine Bowl as a wide receiver for the Blue Devils in 2000 — is proud of Morgan for earning his Shrine Bowl honor.

“He’s a great kid,” Byrne said of Morgan. “He’s a great teammate. He’s just worked so hard. He’s so strong and physical. He showed that at those combines. He went down there and did it on his own. He opened everybody’s eyes at those combines with how well he could move for as big as he is.”

This fall, Morgan has recorded 41 tackles (six for loss) and four pass break ups so far for the Blue Devils. On Friday, he recorded a season-high 11 tackles in a 41-14 victory against St. Stephens.

Morgan has also made two catches for 16 yards on offense as a tight end.

A four-year starter at Maiden, Morgan originally started his prep football career as a defensive lineman before Byrne moved him to linebacker.

“After about three games, he was so physical that no one could block him,” Byrne said. “We knew we had to move him up. He hadn’t played a lot of football. His football knowledge wasn’t great. He was always just bigger than everybody and no one could block him. He’s really worked hard physically to change his body and mentally to study the game. He started learning the game and how it’s being played. He never really used to watch football on TV, which is one way to learn the game. Then he started watching football, studying film and really learning the game.”

Morgan is the first Maiden football player to earn Shrine Bowl honors since current Virginia Tech defensive back Caleb Farley was chosen in 2016.

Morgan joins a list of Blue Devils who have participated in the Shrine Bowl that includes Farley, Byrne, Tommy Henry (2006), Matt Isenhour (2002), Grant Rembert (2000), Chris Ramseur (1996), Michael Ramseur (1991), Larry Stallings (1990), Jamie Pope (1977), David Singleton (1975) and Richard Williams (1969).

The 83rd Annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas — which features the best senior prep football players from North and South Carolina facing off against each other — will be played on Dec. 21 at Gibbs Stadium on the campus of Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C.

While the prestigious game will be an early Christmas present of sorts for Morgan, he’s keeping his attention on his senior year on the prep football field for the Blue Devils.

“I am just trying to focus on our season right now and then worry about (the Shrine Bowl) when the season is over with,” he said. “That’s all I’m thinking about.”