GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Former Ashwaubenon HS quarterback James Morgan was drafted by the New York Jets in the 4th round on Saturday.
Morgan becomes the first Green Bay-grown QB to be drafted since Bud Keyes in 1988.
Morgan played his high school football less than a mile from Lambeau Field, and will soon be playing inside NFL stadiums, fighting for a pro job.
Morgan certainly flashed talent at Ashwaubenon, but had to work hard to get to this stage. He went to Bowling Green at first, but ended up transferring to Florida International after a coaching change. He has become accustomed to taking the long route to success, and being overlooked.
"I think there is an unfair stigma with high school football athletes in Green Bay, and Wisconsin as a whole, where they are under-recruited," Morgan said. "And so my advice to someone who may be an aspiring athlete in high school and isn't getting all the attention; just keep working. If you are unusual because of how much you are working, if you aren't hanging out with your friends and are getting crap because you are doing your own thing and working hard; that's not a bad thing. That's the position I was in. And I am really happy that it paid off.
"And the other thing I would really say is that sometimes it's not going to be the exact track that you think it might be. You might not go to the school that you want to go to, but if you go to the best situation for you, it may be better than what you had planned. That is certainly how it worked out for me. I didn't think that I would take the path that I did. And it has gotten me here and I wouldn't change it for sure."
But even the most confident young man in the world has to experience doubt from time to time along such a winding road.
"That can creep in," Morgan admitted. "For me, I just had belief in myself that this was my dream, and I had the resiliency to know that I could do this. Despite whatever that adversity was, I had a firm belief that I could do this. And you have to have that, especially at the quarterback position. You are going to have adversity on the field in the game, and then in life in general. And retaining that belief and pushing through that is really important to me.
"I always kind of felt like this is where I was destined to be. You know whatever bumps in the road came along, I always had that back of my mind belief that, you know what, I can do it. And I can push through this. I kind of expected it."
But he never expected how much random chance would play a role in him finding his 2nd college home at FIU, which became a springboard to this opportunity.
"One of my buddies worked for a recruiting service and I purchased from him a list of all the emails of college coaches in the entire nation," Morgan explained. "And so I literally sent a block email to like 60 coaches. 3 each from 20 schools I had picked out. The only person who responded to me was from FIU and it just so happened to be the perfect situation for me. They were looking for a quarterback to come in and compete."
And Morgan is ready to compete now, following in the foosteps of FRCC brethren Alec Ingold (now of the Raiders) and Max Scharping (now of the Texans), who have helped change the perception of Green Bay football.
"I'm excited to maybe be a part of that, and changing that stereotype that we don't have a lot of athletes," Morgan said. "Max and Alec have reached out to me. It's really cool to see those guys getting recognition in the NFL. Hopefully that can change for the better for Wisconsin athletes."
Morgan feels his arm strength and anticipation will translate well to the NFL game.