FAYETTEVILLE — Wide receiver Tyson Morris debated on whether to play another season at Arkansas thanks to the extra year the NCAA allowed due to COVID.
Morris eventually opted to return and now is elated he chose to do so. In four games, Morris is second on the team with seven receptions for 169 yards and two touchdowns. He has stepped into a starting role this season.
“It was a big thought for me over the summer,” Morris said. “Wherever I decided to go I wanted to make plays and contribute so, I kind of thought about that all summer. That was what I wanted to do, and I’m happy I’m able to do that right here, in my home state.”
Prior to this season, Morris, who is a former walk-on recruit, had played in 32 games with no starts. He had caught 24 passes for 252 yards and three touchdowns. He is already approaching his career reception yards this season.
“Definitely, like I said me believing in myself,” Morris said. “Having multiple conversations with my coaches and them believing in me and giving me more chances. I’m just glad I’m able to execute with those guys and come out whenever my name is called and come down with the ball. I feel like it’s building confidence in them as well as building confidence in me so I’m happy about it.”
In the 2018 and 2019 seasons Arkansas won a total of four games with no SEC wins. In 2021, Arkansas has won four games including one in SEC. There’s no doubt Morris and the seniors are going to leave Arkansas in much better shape than when they came here.
“It means the world honestly,” Morris said. “There’s no better feeling. I was yelling when I came off the field this past weekend, there’s no better feeling because I’ve been here through the drought. I’ve been here when it was down down, as bad as it could be. To see us on the uprise, there’s no better feeling.”
In addition to winning Morris is also playing much more and starting. He is obviously happy about that as well.
“For me, it means a lot,” Morris said. “Coming from where I came from, I was kinda slowplayed, but so far my confidence has been out the roof, and I just leave no doubt on the field. It’s all about confidence when you’re playing DB. Even if you get beat you’ve gotta come back with more confidence, confidence, confidence. That’s what we’ve built into our heads so that’s what we believe in. We’re built on confidence.”
Sam Pittman was an assistant at Arkansas for three years before leaving for Georgia. He was there for four years before returning to Arkansas as the head coach. Morris was asked if Pittman is more hyped for this game than usual?
“Coach Pittman is the same man every week,” Morris said. “Every day he comes in ready to work. He believes in us more than anybody in this building. Everybody believes in us, but he truly believes in us. He believes we’re going to go out and play our heart out for him which we will. He’s not over hyped, but if you say over hyped then he’s over hyped every week about every game because he wants to win the game that we have ahead of us. We’re just focused on Georgia just like we were focused on Rice. Just like we were focused on Georgia Southern. So, we’re coming this week to work just like we are every week.”
Morris also had high praise for Kendal Briles, Arkansas’ offensive coordinator.
“I think Coach Briles is awesome the way he dials things up,” Morris said. “It might be the same play here, but something will be different about that play every time we run it. We have multiple different motions and stuff like that. We get a lot of movement and stuff up front right now. I feel like he’s actually confident in the way he’s operating things and stuff like that. He’s confident we’re going to make plays for him and execute his gameplan. I feel like we’re putting confidence into him just as much as he’s putting confidence into us.”
The game on Saturday pits the No. 2 team Georgia against No. 8 which is Morris and Arkansas. What’s it like to play in a game such as this?
“Just like I said, we’re focused on the game ahead of us,” Morris said. “We’re really not too high on the highs or low on the lows. We try to stay even-keeled each week. Obviously it’s a great feeling being No. 8 in the country but you know I’m honestly not surprised the way we worked this summer, the dark days we had over the summer, those months when you put in work and nobody really sees you. I feel like we worked so hard and we built a bond so tight I’m not truly surprised. Like I said, I’ve seen where we’ve come from. But the way we work it’s not a surprise to me.”
When you look at the Georgia defense what do you see?
“I see an SEC defense,” Morris said. “I’ve been in this conference for awhile. Every weekend is a battle. Georgia, I have a lot of respect for them like LaDarrius (Bishop) said, but they’re big and physical like we play every other weekend so we’re just going to go in and do what we do best. That’s play football and execute our gameplan that is laid out for us.”
Arkansas and Georgia will kickoff at 11 a.m. CT on Saturday and televised on ESPN.