Though his career stats may suggest otherwise, Duke transfer Jacob Morgenstern is likely going to be more than just a special teams ace for this year’s Texas Tech football team.
In life, finding the right fit is crucial. Whether that be in terms of a career, a place to live, or in a relationship, when you find the place where you fit, it makes everything click. That could also apply to sports and specifically to Texas Tech senior LB Jacob Morgenstern.
The Duke transfer has joined the Red Raiders for his final collegiate season and he’s started to draw some high praise from his coaches during fall camp. That’s because he seems to be a better fit in Tech’s scheme than he was in the Blue Devils’. Last week, defensive backs coach Derek Jones, who was on the staff at Duke last year as well, explained why.
“What we did at Duke,” Jones said, “we played basically two inside linebackers and that didn’t fit him.”
Jones then went on to explain that after Morgenstern was recruited to Duke, their defensive philosophy changed and they took an outside LB off the field in order to play an extra defensive back more often. Thus, Morgenstern was essentially forced to be a middle LB when that isn’t what he’s best suited for.
“…he’s not a prototypical inside linebacker,” Jones said. “But everything about Jacob in my time dealing with him was A+….The way I describe him is, he is the example of what you need to win.”
Thus far in his career, the 6-foot-4, 220-pound native of Lagrange, New York, has racked up just eight tackles. Most of those came on special teams as he carved out a niche for himself in the third phase of the game. In fact, he was Duke’s special teams player of the year in 2019. But according to LBs coach Kevin Cosgrove, there’s more in store for Morgenstern than that this year. After saying that Morgenstern has been “very, very impressive throughout camp”, he went on to say that we should expect to see the senior on the field for the Red Raider defense this year.
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“There’s no question that Jacob Morgenstern is going to play here,” Cosgrove said adamantly.
There is an opportunity for an outside linebacker to step up and earn playing time with sophomore Xavier Benson having taken a leave of absence from the team. Look for Michigan State transfer Brandon Randle and former JUCO transfer Kosi Eldridge to compete with Morgenstern for reps in that role. But don’t be surprised to see Morgenstern push for the starting job.
When he signed with Duke in the class of 2016, he was a 3-star prospect who was listed as an athlete. He was the No. 8 player in the state of Connecticut and he held offers from the likes of Clemson, Illinois, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Pitt, Syracuse, Wisconsin, Virginia, Vanderbilt, Maryland, and others.
“Jacob is a guy that I term a ‘captain'”, Jones said. “We had a culture at Duke that we recruited a certain type of kid and Jacob exemplifies everything that you want when you are trying to build a program. He’s going to be a team guy, he’s an effort guy, he’s an extremely smart guy.”
But now at Texas Tech, it appears that he’s finally going to have an opportunity to be more than just a culture guy. Rather, he’s going to be a piece of the defensive puzzle, and judging by the way his coaches have talked about him in fall camp, we should not be surprised if he makes an impact in more than just special teams this season.