Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Just: Recruiters have plenty to see at Plano Prestonwood
PLANO — Christian Morgan remembers seeing himself in that gaudy Oregon football uniform.
It was a sales pitch inside a recruiting letter from the Pac-12 university to the Plano Prestonwood star. The letter arrived on the day of Prestonwood’s 2010 bi-district playoff game, and the excitement of his first recruiting letter pumped him up before the big game.
The Lions routed Brownsville St. Joseph that day en route to their second consecutive TAPPS state title. The letter, though, was the first of many.
Morgan, an imposing 6-5, 250-pound tight end, has two large, clear containers that he estimates are six feet long and three feet deep. Both are filled to near capacity with recruiting paraphernalia: letters, name tags and everything else he collected during a year and a half of recruitment.
“I keep it and I figure one day if my son or my family says I wasn’t any good, I can just show them all that,” Morgan said, “and tell them I could play back in the day.”
Morgan visited several universities and, to keep them all straight in his mind, rattles them off from West Coast to East Coast. He committed to Florida State in June over offers from more than a dozen major colleges.
Despite being one of the most sought-after recruits in the Dallas area, Morgan isn’t unique at Prestonwood. He’s joined by perhaps an even bigger recruiting prize: 6-4, 220-pound linebacker Mike Mitchell.
Like Morgan, Mitchell has offers from coast to coast. He’s considering Ohio State, Florida State, Texas A&M and TCU, and he recently gained interest from Oklahoma, which he visited a week ago. Mitchell is No. 5 in Rivals.com’s state recruiting rankings, and Morgan is No. 54.
But they aren’t the only reason Prestonwood is No. 1 in SportsDay’s preseason large private school area rankings.
Senior defensive end Zach Missimo has college offers, and senior running back JP Coward has attracted interest. Senior linebacker/offensive guard Elliott Mason and junior cornerback/wide receiver JR Reed are also potential college prospects, coach Chris Cunningham said.
Prestonwood won state championships in 2009 and 2010, then lost in the state semifinals last season with a team Morgan believed to be better than the title winners. The addition of Mitchell, who transferred from Plano West, will give the Lions a substantial boost, particularly in their new 46 defense.
Morgan and Mitchell provide Cunningham bona fide stars on each side of the football to build around.
“The guys watch someone like Mike practice, and they see him busting it,” Cunningham said, “then they’re all going to work hard to bust it as well. I think in a big way it gives them some confidence.”
Mitchell said he recently hauled three brown boxes of recruiting mail up to the attic. It’s no wonder schools are interested: He had 151 tackles, including 32 for loss, and 11 sacks for Plano West last season. He joins a defense that returns five starters from last year’s state semifinalist.
“Right now we’re getting better every day,” Mitchell said. “We’re running a new defense that we ran separate from the spring, so the defense is still getting adjusted to that, but so far it’s going really well.”
Morgan is adept as a blocker and pass-catcher. He was an offensive tackle on Prestonwood’s 2009-10 state championship teams and converted to tight end last year.
The Prestonwood playbook never included a tight end until Morgan emerged. The senior gives the offense an opportunity for a power running game in addition to his ability as a receiver. He had 16 catches for 226 yards and a touchdown in 2011.
“I’d classify him as a prototype,” Cunningham said of Morgan. “You don’t see many of those. That’s why I think you see offenses, especially in high school, getting away from tight end offenses and going to the spread. Because you just can’t find the prototypes very often.”
One more blue chip on the Prestonwood roster is Mitchell’s younger brother Mickey, a 6-7 quarterback who ESPN recently ranked the No. 2 basketball recruit in the 2015 class.
Mickey Mitchell said he hasn’t decided yet whether to pursue football or basketball in college, but he has major colleges already offering him scholarships in both sports.
Needless to say, he’ll probably have three full boxes of recruiting letters to haul up to the attic soon.
Follow David Just on Twitter at @DavidJustDMN.
Filling the trophy case
Here’s a look at how Plano Prestonwood has fared since winning its first of three TAPPS state championships in 2005.
How they finished
TAPPS Division III state champion
TAPPS Division II regional finalist
TAPPS Division II bi-district finalist
TAPPS Division II state champion
TAPPS Division I state champion
TAPPS Division I regional semifinalist
“The guys watch someone like Mike practice, and they see him busting it, then they’re all going to work hard to bust it as well. I think in a big way it gives them some confidence.”
Coach Chris Cunningham on Mike Mitchell