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QB recruit Morris patiently awaiting clearance

Stephen Morris has known for quite awhile that he'll be playing for the University of Miami next season. But when his Canes career will begin exactly has remains a mystery.

Stephen Morris  Morris (6-2, 181) is patiently waiting and hoping for good news from his coach and athletic director regarding his ability to graduate early from Miami Monsignor Pace. The Catholic private school in Opa Locka usually doesn't let students graduate early. But Morris, who took an online English course to complete his requirements and has a 3.6 GPA and 1000 SAT score, is hoping to receive permission to do so in hopes he'll be around to participate in spring football.

With starting quarterback Jacory Harris expected to miss the majority of camp after having surgery to repair torn ligaments in his thumb on his throwing hand, Morris was looking forward to getting extra snaps with backup A.J. Highsmith. 

"It's just been frustrating," said Morris, who received an in-home visit from offensive coordinator Mark Whipple and receivers coach Aubrey Hill on Monday. "I don't even know the whole process. [Athletic director] Joe Zaccheo and [coach Alvin] Slaughter are trying to clear that up. But Pace is a private school and they do things differently. It's one of the disadvantages. If I won't be able to do it, I'll still be at UM learning the playbook and watching practices. I'm supposed to find out soon."

Morris had a tough senior season at Pace. The Spartans suffered a number of key injuries to players on both sides of the ball and failed to make the playoffs for the first time in 19 years despite finishing 7-3. Their losses were to Class 6A state champion Miramar (13-7), Class 2A state semifinalist Hollywood Chaminade (24-20) and regional semifinalist Gulliver Prep (28-27). 

Morris still completed 96 of his 179 pass attempts for 1,531 yards, 22 touchdowns and only six interceptions. He also ran for 125 yards and a touchdown. 

"The last game was fun," Morris said of his team's 48-13 blowout of Broward power Cardinal Gibbons. "We played the last game for pride. We finished out real good. It's just a bitter feeling my high school career is done and over with. Everything about my senior year was difficult. A lot of people went down with injuries and I was asked to step up a lot more. It's a lot harder when your starters are out on defense and offense. I felt real bad about not making the playoffs. But I think it was a good lesson learned. You aren't always going to be healthy. You have to fight through it. You have to come ready to play."

Morris took his official visit to UM in early December and hung out with a number of recruits. "I took my trip about three weeks ago," Morris said. "I went the trip before Brandon Linder committed. It was me, [Carol City receiver] Allen Hurns, [running back] Storm Johnson, [linebacker] Javarie Johnson, [running back] Eduardo Clements and two other linebackers. We had a good time. We all know we're going to be Canes, so it was nice to bond."

Morris said he doesn't have a playbook (recruits aren't allowed to) but he still attended a number of Hurricanes practices throughout the season and before the bowl game to take notes and learn. "I'd listen to Jacory call out the formation and I'd ask AJ and Spencer questions. I talk to Jacory, AJ all the time. We're chill."

Morris said he should find out after Jan. 14 if he will be able to enroll at UM when the spring semester begins on Jan. 19. 

> Hurricanes coaches have been visiting recruits around the country since Monday. UM currently has 25 commitments in its class. Look for more recruiting updates on commitments and targets here at Eye On The U over the next couple of weeks.