Since the start of his high school career, Derek Moreland knew he had the talent to play college football.
He certainly has the work ethic – after all, videos of Moreland lifting weights at his home occasionally appear on his Twitter account from time to time.
Both talent and work ethic came together in a big way for the Clovis West defensive end Wednesday morning.
Moreland committed to play college football at Morgan State, announcing his decision through a Twitter post where he thanked his parents, coaches and teachers. Morgan State was one of two Division I schools to offer Moreland a football scholarship, with the other being Valparaiso.
— Derek Moreland (@DerekMoreland6) September 9, 2020
Morgan State, located in Baltimore, Maryland, is a historically black college, with its athletics competing at the Division I FCS level in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC).
A familiar name to NFL fans strolls the Morgan State sidelines – Tyrone Wheatley, former Oakland Raiders running back and 1,000-yard rusher, is the head coach of the Bears. He is joined by associate head coach/defensive line coach William Carr, a former first-team All-American at the University of Michigan.
Moreland pointed to the big names on Morgan State’s coaching staff as motivation for his college decision.
“All of their knowledge will go into the players and make me even better,” Moreland says. “I’m especially excited to work with Coach Carr and learn from his mind as a defensive player.”
In terms of personnel, choosing Morgan State was “the perfect fit” for Moreland. The 6-foot-1, 235 pound defensive end plans on shifting to middle linebacker this upcoming season at Clovis West. Accordingly, the Bears recruited him to play at their “Grizzly” position, a hybrid between defensive end and linebacker.
If anyone could fill the role well, it would be Moreland, who finished his junior campaign in 2019 with 55 tackles, 10 sacks and 3 forced fumbles for a 4-8 Golden Eagles squad that reached the Central Section quarterfinals.
“He’s a really hard worker, and he’s going to give you everything he’s got,” said Clovis West head coach Tim Randall. “His speed and physicality will suit him very well at Morgan State.”
Moreland is the third Golden Eagle committed to play Division I college football, joining teammates Isaiah Howard and Marcel Sanders Jr.
Moreland says both Howard and Sanders played a big role in him making his own Division-I commitment.
“The three of us are best friends and do everything together,” Moreland said. “We all pushed each other to work harder and reached the next level.”
It’s a family at Clovis West – and another one from the flock is set to play on fall Saturdays.