Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

August 15, 2012

Largest Maverick is ‘leaner and faster’

LINDSIDE — Hunter Morgan is primed to make his senior year as a James Monroe Maverick his best one yet.

The football lineman has grown to a height of 6-foot-5, making him the tallest Maverick, and he’s worked in the weight room to put his 311 pounds to good use on the gridiron.

He said about his weightlifting, “I got really serious about that — and cardio.”

In addition, his thyroid had been acting up. He’d been taking medication for it for several years, but after putting on “a lot of body fat over a few months,” he visited his doctor and his dosage was changed.

The combination of workouts and medicine have worked wonders.

In previous years, he said he was “just always tired.” This year, “It’s a whole lot easier to practice now, for sure. Physically and mentally, I’m not drained after the first 10 minutes. I’ve been able to make it all through practice.”

“He worked real hard in the weight room,” said James Monroe head coach Donnie Jackson. “Last year he was out there dragging around. This year he’s hustling, moving around.”

Morgan, who is 25 pounds larger than any of his teammates, said, “Last year I was 278 [pounds], but I’ve worked out hard. Now I’m at 310 but at the same time I’m leaner and faster.”

His family has helped him develop his football ability to its greatest potential as well. With their support, he has attended football camps, including one “where Tim Tebow went to work out,” he said.

The camps have paid off, he said, in better use of his hands and better footwork on the offensive and defensive lines. Another benefit is visibility, “getting [college] coaches to know me,” he said.

But for now his focus is on becoming a productive part of the James Monroe line. Practices continue in Lindside, leading up to the start of the season on Aug. 24 when the Mavericks host their neighbors from across the state line, the Narrows (Va.) Green Wave, at the H.E. Comer Jr. Sports Complex.

Morgan said, “It feels like I’ve actually contributed to the team. ... I’m just trying to make the team better — and they’re trying to make me better. It’s like it says in Scripture, ‘Iron shapens iron.’ ”

He said the football coaches have “been telling me how I’ve gotten better. They have always been positive forces behind me. They’ll tell me when I need to do something better, and I want to help them and the team out.”

— Contact Tom Bone at

tbone@bdtonline.com

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