David Morris, 32, is no stranger to the gridiron. As a former second-string QB for Ole Miss (1998 – 2002), Morris traveled with starter and four-year roommate Eli Manning, who went on to be first pick in the 2004 NFL draft and a Super Bowl MVP. After graduation, Morris went into full-time real estate work and trained aspiring quarterbacks on the side. In 2010, he reversed his career track and founded QB Country, a year-round training and development program for local middle and high school quarterbacks, as well as those at the collegiate level.
When did you first gain an interest in football?
Since I could walk and talk. My brothers played, so I was always around it. I’ve played QB since third grade.
How is playing quarterback unique in comparison to other positions?
There’s a lot expected of you, and that draws leadership qualities out of a kid. They need to have confidence, intelligence and poise. For me, poise is the ability to perform when there is chaos all around you. That’s the “it” factor.
What inspired you to train youth?
I was always the undersized, less gifted player who had to outwork people, so I wanted to help the underdog: the kid who has been overlooked or the kid who is too short. I want to let him know that it doesn’t matter what people think, he has an opportunity to be excellent. I challenge each player to overachieve on and off the field; to be a great friend, son, boyfriend; and to be the most humble, respectful guy in the class. I want them to be passionate and inspired every day.
What is the training process like?
I approach it from a holistic viewpoint: physical, mental and emotional. It’s all about creating a crazy pace. You can’t practice fast enough. You have to perform at a high level and at a tempo that is initially very uncomfortable. For younger players, ball security is one of the most important things to establish. Whether they are securing a snap or in the pocket, they will start and end the play with the ball. Coaching needs to ingrain that.
What was it like to play alongside Eli Manning?
I learned a ton from Eli. I’ve never seen a more consistent player. He doesn’t believe in hype and doesn’t even have a photo of himself in his house. He’s a big supporter of QB Country.
As you’ve transitioned from player to coach, is the game of football still fun or has it become more of a job?
If you don’t enjoy it, then you’re not doing it with all of your ability. On the field, I have to have passion and excitement, or the kids will see right through me. It never really feels like work because it’s what I love doing.
text by Joshua D. Givens • photo by Ashley Rowe