RINGGOLD, Ga. — Zach Morris has a plan for his future, one that, he hopes, will find him practicing medicine in a few years. Before that, however, the Ringgold junior defensive end will learn his new trade and play a little football at Duke University after committing to coach David Cutcliffe and the Blue Devils Saturday following their big win over Miami.
Morris, who has 11 sacks, eight other tackles for loss, five forced fumbles and two blocked kicks for the 9-2 Tigers this season, has also visited SEC schools Georgia and Auburn but felt Duke offered the perfect combination of what he was looking for.
"It just feels like family at Duke, and that's what I want to be around for four years when I go to college," he said. "Coach Cutcliffe has turned that program around and the education there, especially the medical school, is second to none."
Morris' father, Larry, is comfortable knowing his son will be taken care of, both on and off the field.
"It's great how the coaching staff gets to know the players and they treat them like family," he said. "It's just like treated at Ringgold. We've visited some other schools and there is a completely different atmosphere at Duke and, as a parent, I'm very happy with Zach's decision."
As is Ringgold coach Robert Akins, who believes the Blue Devils are getting a steal.
"I'm very happy for Zach because he's such hard worker and he has his future mapped out," said Akins, whose team will play in the second round of the GHSA Class AAA playoffs Friday at home against Cedar Grove. "He wants to be a doctor, and Duke is, obviously, a great school for him to achieve his career goal. And, as a football player, he's only going to get better -- and right now he's one of the best I've ever coached."
Contact Lindsey Young at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 423-757-6296.
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...