In casual conversation, Ryan Morrison is a soft-spoken person. But on the field, his play speaks volumes.
After being named Valencia’s starting quarterback over the summer, Morrison has only turned the volume up and will likely continue to do so.
“He’s had a great summer,” said coach Larry Muir. “His offseason has been awesome. He’s really worked hard and been very detailed and really changes some of his throwing mechanics and he’s been really receptive to coaching.”
Morrison was in a quarterback battle with fellow senior Ethan Aguillon, but after Aguillon unexpectedly left the program, Morrison assumed the starting role.
Although he had some game experience from four games last season, it was in late June at a 7-on-7 tournament at Bonita that Morrison really began to get into the groove of things. The breakthrough was a quiet and natural one. Almost effortless, he said.
“I don’t really know if I tried to do any one thing,” Morrison said. “I just kind of went out and threw and tried to make good decisions and good throws.”
Valencia ran a variety of plays at the end of practice on Tuesday evening and Morrison moved fluidly through nearly all of them, seldom flinching as he launched 70-yard throws as well as tossed 10-yard passes.
His 6-foot-4 frame is a benefit to the pocket passer, who has a big arm but says he is working on his capabilities as a runner.
He also has a quality selection of receivers to throw to, most notably Mitchell Torres and Hunter Koch. Morrison said he feeds off of their desire to improve to make himself better as a quarterback.
“I love it because it makes my job a little bit easier,” Morrison said. “I also feel more pressure because Hunter, for example, works really hard. He runs really good routes, so he gets himself open and I feel pressure to get him the ball and like, make it a perfect ball because he ran a perfect route for me.”
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Morrison comes from a football family. His dad played quarterback at Canyon High School shortly before Harry Welch took over as head coach and his family is filled with die-hard Notre Dame football fans.
“He signed me up (for football) since I was little,” Morrison said. “He always pushed me, he played quarterback so that’s kind of why I’m a quarterback. He’s taught me everything that he knew as a quarterback and he’s helped me like that.”
The talent Morrison possesses makes him dependable and trustworthy. His teammates are being patient with him as he comes into his own as a leader more and more with every practice.
The Vikings are handing him the keys to the offense as his calm demeanor is serving as a positive influence.
“Normally during summer I have a bit of a temper, and like I kind of yell at the offense and try to get them going,” said running back Jake Santos. “But recently near the end of summer, I just gave the whole offense to Ryan. He’s the quarterback. It’s his offense. We wouldn’t be wherever we are going to be or where we’re at right now without him.”
Morrison will have his first opportunity to lead the offense in a game when Valencia begins its season against St. Francis on Aug. 22.