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Notre Dame Football

Morgan Seeing Focus and Younger Players Stepping Up

December 28, 2017

The mantra for the Notre Dame football program this month has been 'focus'. Head coach Brian Kelly has challenged his team to lock in on LSU and the preparation that it will take to beat the Tigers in the 2018 Citrus Bowl. 

“We made a big emphasis on it last week and before practice started,” stated linebacker Nyles Morgan. “The captains have it. The leaders on the team have it. Everyone is carrying their weight and ready to go.” 

The senior captain, who is second on the team in tackles with 83, has also seen the youth on the Irish roster step up in recent weeks. 

“We’re seeing the young guys really step up,” stated Morgan. “It’s given us a lot of competition. It’s not like the end of the season. Guys are competing hard, and it’s going to make us even better.”

One player stepping up is freshman safety Jordan Genmark Heath.

“I like Jordan,” Morgan said “He’s like a linebacker. He plays like it. I like his attitude, and he reminds me a little of myself. He’s asking me or Drue (Tranquill) questions and trying to figure things out. 

“He does drills after practice, and he’s really getting better. He wants it.”

Focus might be the word of the month, but Kelly’s words mean more in 2017 as he has been more involved in the program.  

“He’s way more involved and interactive, especially on the defensive side of the ball,” explained Morgan. “You might look up and see him in the meeting room, so guys are on point. He’s really involved himself in the weight room too. I’ve heard he’s also been in guys classrooms too.” 

The Crete (Ill.) native will strap on the gold helmet for the final time on Monday, and a win would end his collegiate career with a bang. 
“A bowl win would be how everything should be in my eyes," said Morgan. "It means everything for the seniors, and it leaves a trail of success or the younger guys to uphold in the future.” 

“I’m just soaking in everything. It’s on the front of my mind to make sure we come out with a win.” 

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