Richard Morrison was Arizona's scout team quarterback during his redshirt, 2009 campaign and a prep standout at the position. With the Wildcats' lack of depth at the position under new head coach Rich Rodriguez, Morrison has been tabbed for a return to the position this spring.
In his senior season at Royse City High, Morrison passed for 23 touchdowns and over 2200 yards. He also rushed for 669 yards and reached paydirt seven times. His dual threat abilities earned him All Texas honors and Top Player recognition from recruiting guru Tom Lemming.
His sleight frame (around 6-foot, 190 pounds) didn't fit the mold for quarterbacks in the Sonny Dykes-inspired spread offense, hence a move to wide receiver.
Morrison was a solid contributor at his new position in 2011 though, appearing in 11 games and notching one start. He caught 22 passes, including two for scores.
Rodriguez toed the usual spring football line when talking with ESPN.com Pac-12 blogger Ted Miller. He emphasized there was "no depth chart," insinuating competition across all positions. Realistically though, the starting quarterback job is Matt Scott's, and Morrison is merely facilitating a desperate need until his return to receiver.
UA lost three quarterbacks in less than month: Nick Foles exhausted his eligibility, Daxx Garman transferred to Oklahoma State and Tom Savage's future remains in limbo. Incoming recruits Josh Kern and Javelle Allen don't enroll until summer, leaving Morrison as the sole No. 2 QB option until then.
Springtime quarterback storylines are a quaint inevitability of the season that rarely translate to much come autumn -- walk-on Adam Austin was much celebrated in Mike Stoops' second season, but played sparingly in his career. Furthermore, Rodriguez has high hopes for the recruits, per Ryan Finley's notebook.
However, should Morrison adapt to the offense well enough, he could provide the Wildcats a different look while spelling Scott next season. More importantly, he might be the answer for a more long term stop-gap between Scott's graduation and the youngsters being prepared to contribute.
And while mastering the fundamentals of Rodriguez's formation take priority over gimmicks, don't be surprised to see a Scott-to-Morrison-lateral-to-downfield-bomb once or twice come the '12 campaign.