SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Shane Morris has had a lot of growing up to do throughout this past season.
The former five-star prospect has gone from the Under Armor All-American Bowl as a senior in high school, to Devin Gardner’s backup as a freshman, to now starting his first career game as Michigan’s starting quarterback in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl against Kansas State this Saturday.
While his journey to the starting position hasn’t been story book, it was always in his plans to be the No. 1 QB since the first day he arrived on campus in June. And now, he has the opportunity to showcase his skills.
“Since the day I came in, I've been preparing to be a starting quarterback at the University of Michigan,” Morris said. “That's been my goal. Having the opportunity now, it's surreal. But I've prepared for that.
“It's been my dream since I was a little kid to start as quarterback for the University of Michigan. It's a huge bowl game. I'm excited.”
A dream, indeed, as Morris admits he has be groomed for this opportunity since birth.
“I grew up in Michigan,” Morris said. “My family surrounded me in Michigan. I have baby pictures of me in Michigan jerseys. It's really cool.”
During his senior season at Warren (Mich.) De La Salle, Morris came down with mononucleosis and missed most of his final season, which makes this opportunity to start -- even better.
“It’s pretty crazy. I didn’t play most of my senior year, as most of you guys know. Just getting back to football for a full season -- It’s crazy, but it’s awesome,” Morris said. “I’ve learned a lot this year from the team especially, having older guys. I’m enjoying it. I’m taking it all in and I’m preparing myself.”
At 6-foot-3, 201-pounds, Morris would start at most universities, said fifth-year senior Taylor Lewan, who noted how Morris has become more mature since he stepped on campus back in June.
“It's almost been day and night,” Lewan said on Morris growth mentally. “Since I was a freshman, he's been committed to the university. I've gotten the opportunity to be around him, and been like this guy that's worried about Twitter followers, to a guy who could truly care less.”
And that type of attitude has Morris prepared to play against KSU.
“Last couple weeks of bowl practice I've grown because of my teammates and they've helped me a lot with this situation,” Morris said. “They've helped me with everything, from film work to just playing with the ones. It's a lot different. They've done a great job helping me prepare for that.”