The Arizona Wildcats baseball team has plenty of two-way players, but not necessarily any two-sport players.
That could change with Matt Morin as he looks to join the baseball team as a pitcher after completing his senior season with the football team.
Morin has not been added to any official roster, but Arizona head coach Jay Johnson says that the quarterback/tight end has the opportunity to be around the program.
“Matt is on the roster as of now, and we kind of have to see how it shakes out here over the next 12 days before we make a final decision on it,” Johnson said on Monday when asked to clear up Morin’s status. “I love having him around, and he’s made a real positive impact on our team, and I do feel like he’ll be associated with our team this year. We just have to clarify the role. We’re waiting on an NCAA rule interpretation if you will.”
“But he’s made a real positive impact and I love having him around here.”
The issue has to do with the number of scholarships available to baseball, and the number of roster spots. A baseball team has 35 roster spots available, and Arizona currently has 35 players listed on its online roster.
“It’s a unique situation in terms of scholarship counters and number of spots for our team,” Johnson continued. “And then adding a player that’s on a scholarship in another sport onto our team. I don’t even know how to explain it. There’s an NCAA component to it, and then there’s a roster component to it with us where we have to figure out what’s ultimately best for the program.”
“I’m hopeful he’ll be part of our team.”
This is the first time Johnson has dealt with a player from another sport trying to join his squad. Football at San Diego was a non-scholarship sport, and the situation never arose at Nevada.
“It’ll be cleared up in 11 days as far as how we finalize it,” added Johnson. “But like I said, we’re waiting on the NCAA and some things as far as that goes. At the end of the day, I will make a decision that’s best for our program, and there’s just that small piece I have to wait for.”
The first time Morin got in contact with Johnson was a full year ago, and the way he tried to make a first impression was pretty interesting.
“He sent me a video, the first thing he sent me...he contacted me literally right after they finished their football season, and I was like send me some video,” recounted Johnson. “And the first video he sent me was a football pass of him throwing the ball a hundred yards, and I was like ‘Well this is kind of interesting’.”
MaxPreps only has sophomore season stats for Morin in high school, which was back in the spring of 2010. It has him pitching one inning, allowing a run on two hits. It also says he was 1-for-4 at the plate with two strikeouts. His official football roster bio has him as a letterwinner in the sport though.
For those that know Morin, it’s not surprising that he was immediately well-liked by the coaching staff and the players when he made his way from Arizona Stadium to Hi Corbett.
“He’s integrated himself right into the team, has done things we’ve asked him, and it’s been one hundred percent all positive so far,” Johnson concluded.
It’s certainly something to keep an eye on over the next 11 days, but I also wouldn’t foresee Morin being a major contributor on the Arizona pitching staff. But an extra arm can never hurt.