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Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


FAU running back Alfred Morris works out 12 hours per day in preparation for NFL draft

Alfred Morris, FAU’s all-time leading rusher, with 3,529 yards, would become the first drafted running back in school history. Photo courtesy of FAU Athletics.

He wakes up at 6 a.m. everyday to workout. For twelve hours. These grueling sessions consist of weight lifting, cardio, communication, mental and visual training, as well as on the field drills. Some days often include no breaks.

This is running back Alfred Morris’ daily schedule as he prepares for the NFL Draft in April. Morris, FAU’s all-time leading rusher, is training for the NFL combine at the IMG Madden Football Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

“I’m just getting ready for the combine,” he said. “All the hard work I put in at the pee-wee level, the high school level, the college level. Just, wanting all my hard work to pay off. The biggest interview I’ll ever be in is in the combine.”

Those at FAU are certain Morris will have a seamless transition to the professional level because of his attention to detail.

“His attitude and mentality has always been to work hard. That’s kind of what set him apart from other guys is that he out worked them,” assistant coach Jared Allen said. “He wouldn’t be where he is now if he hadn’t worked so hard.”

At the academy, Morris has a diet plan set out for him, something he’s excited about.

“I always wanted to eat a lot healthier,” Morris said. “Especially after performing at your highest level — nutrition becomes key. It won’t be a temporary change, but a lifestyle change for us [at the academy].”

Morris believes the program at the academy is the “full package” and one that will help him become a successful pro.

“We put a lot in, but we get a lot out as well too,” Morris said. “It’s a lot of hard work, not just physically, but mentally as well.”

In addition to IMG, Morris participated in the East/West Shrine game and the Senior Bowl, venues where the FAU standout was able to showcase his talent.

Morris led all East rushers in the Shrine game with 32 yards on nine carries. In the Senior Bowl, he played out of position as a fullback, but was praised after the game by a Super Bowl champion coach.

“I was able to show that I’m versatile, and I can play more than one position,” Morris said. “After the game, Coach Shanahan (Washington Redskins head coach) flagged me down and told me I did a good job. So that was just icing on the cake.”

Listed at 5’11”, 222 pounds, Morris will have to go against players bigger than himself. Not that it scares him.

“I don’t look at personal attributes [of others] like height, size and all that stuff,” Morris said. “I see us as the same. It’s me versus you. I’m going to bring my best. My objective is to win regardless. My mindset is that I’m up for the challenge. I’m definitely looking forward to it.”

In 2011, though, Morris and the Owls did not do a lot of winning. They won a total of one game. Coming off the worst season in the history of FAU football, Morris believes he learned a valuable lesson in the process, one he can carry with him not just in athletics, but in life.

“I definitely mainly learned perseverance,” he said. “Just overcoming obstacles. Adversity coming our way, game after game, loss after loss, but just overcoming that. Just put it in the back of your head, and getting ready for the next week, and just blocking out all the negativity from students around campus or even around the city.”

His former college head coach Howard Schnellenberger, who has Morris to thank for not retiring with a win-less season after Morris rushed for 1,186 yards this past season, compared him to a former Miami Dolphins Hall-of-Famer that he coached after he ran for an FAU-record 198 yards on 38 carries in a victory over UAB.

“The only time I’ve seen what I saw out there tonight was when I was with the Dolphins, and I watched Larry Csonka run roughshod over all the defenders that tried to bring him down,” Schnellenberger said after the game.

When he reaches his goal, Morris would be accomplishing a feat never done before at FAU.

“To make it as a running back or full back is pretty big time,” Allen said. “Nobody’s done that at FAU at that position.”

The Owls have only had two players drafted in the NFL (Tennessee Titans quarterback Rusty Smith in 2010 and Arizona Cardinals tight End Rob Housler in 2011). For Morris, making it to the pros from FAU would make the milestone even sweeter.

“It would be good to join the ranks of the best Owls that got drafted from this university,” Morris said. “It would speak volumes about me as a player coming from a young program, but to still make it obviously to that level would mean a lot. Not just for me, but for FAU and for my family. It would prove that hard work pays off in the end.”

Morris has no preference of location as to where he would like to be selected. He leaves it in the hands of the decision makers.

“There’s 32 teams. I only need one to like me,” Morris said. “Whichever one that is, is exactly where I need to be.”

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