FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — His name is not Drew. Don’t call him Drew. He’s been dealing with that older brother-younger brother thing his whole life.
This is Grant Morgan. He’s a redshirt freshman linebacker from Greenwood, Ark. He was under-recruited coming out of Greenwood High and has always wanted to be a Razorback.
Beyond that, the differences more or less cease between older and younger brother.
Drew is currently living the NFL training camp life with the Miami Dolphins after a successful college career at Arkansas. Grant is just beginning his career with coach Bret Bielema, the recruiter who plucked the elder Morgan from Arkansas State with a last-minute scholarship offer.
Grant doesn’t have one of those enticements. A scholarship, that is. He is a walk-on, paying his own way to college in hopes of cracking the Arkansas two-deep depth chart and earning a scholarship. That’s about what it will take, too. Make the two-deep — become a starter or top reserve — and odds are the coaching staff will think highly enough of him to make that financial commitment.
Turns out that Grant might not have to wait that long. Because, really, there is one more way he and Drew are alike.
“In the back of my head, I thought I’d always climb real fast because of the way I’ve been brought up,” Grant said.
The walk-on has leapfrogged a few scholarship linebackers and finds himself taking a majority of first-team reps at inside linebacker in the preseason. He and sophomore De’Jon Harris — part of the same class — are side by side in the middle of Arkansas’ 3-4 scheme.
“I pride myself on being smart,” Grant said. “If you play smart, you play faster. I think that’s one thing I’ve always been taught, one thing I’ve always ran on with.”
He knows as well as anyone the gig is not guaranteed.
Conventional wisdom suggests Grant is keeping the seat warm for Dre Greenlaw. Arkansas’ junior linebacker is the most experienced, by far, on the roster and a potential All-SEC pick. Grant knows that. He doesn’t shy away from it, either. But he sure isn’t about to submit when Greenlaw recovers from a broken foot to return to full reps.
That just wouldn’t be very Morgan-like, would it?
“If you can ball, you can ball,” he said.