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Duke grad transfer LB/S Jacob Morgenstern talks TTU commitment

Jacob Morgenstern
Jacob Morgenstern (Getty Images)

The Texas Tech coaches continued their recent hot recruiting run when Duke grad transfer linebacker/safety Jacob Morgenstern committed and signed with the Red Raiders.

Tech, of course, recently hired coach Derek Jones from Duke as its new secondary coach, and Jones already being in Lubbock played a big part in Morgenstern's decision.

"Yeah I've had a lot of great talks with coach Jones over these past few months and when I made this decision to leave Duke, a couple months after that's when he chose to go to Texas Tech. As he was doing so I sent him a message saying 'hey, if you guys need anybody just keep me in the back of your mind' and sure enough we got in contact and we stayed in contact throughout this period.

Even after I committed to Kent State I let him know I was still interested in Texas Tech. Obviously with recruiting getting shutdown and this being such a crazy time for so many people, I would have loved to get down and take a visit but I'm open to hearing what the rest of Texas Tech has to offer me and obviously going to Texas Tech, having that familiarity with him was a big part of that.

I know what I'm getting out of coach Jones. He's a guy that's gonna keep it real with you, always tell you maybe not what you want to hear but what you need to hear and at the end of the day that was a huge part. He said he wasn't going to do the selling on me of Texas Tech because he wanted me to get a chance to meet the rest of the staff and really see why he chose to take that leap of faith with Texas Tech and ultimately that's what made all the difference. When I got to meet the rest of the staff and see how genuine they are, what I can do for them but also what they can do for me, it just made a lot of sense and things just started coming together in terms of this being a great fit."

Morgenstern came out of high school as a hybrid linebacker and safety, sort of the player defensive coordinator Keith Patterson sees playing the "Willy" at Texas Tech. That position didn't exist at Duke and Morgenstern says the opportunity to see the field on defense more in Lubbock is an exciting opportunity for him.

"Yeah, they see me playing some more linebacker and in certain packages more of a hybrid type of guy but ultimately I think it was what coach Patterson called a "Willy" so I'll be playing the field linebacker. I was talking with him the other day and it made a lot of sense in that defense with my abilities, I think they mesh really well. All of the blitzes, the coverages, I can see myself excelling in those packages."

One other area Morgenstern really excelled at Duke was on special teams. Morgenstern was co-winner of the 2019 Bill Keziah Award which is an award given by Duke to its top special teams player, and per PFF Morgenstern led the Blue Devils with a 84.5 grade in 235 snaps on special teams.

"To be honest I had no idea PFF ranked me anything on special teams, that's news to me so that's pretty funny. For me on special teams, obviously at Duke I would have loved to play more on defense. I came in as a strong safety/linebacker type of hybrid and after my freshman year they ended up getting rid of that position in favor of a more traditional nickel. I got moved to linebacker and I wasn't a typical 4-2-5 linebacker in their scheme so ultimately I got pushed out, they had other plans for the defense and what it'd look like.

It was tough, tough pill to swallow but my mentality was whatever opportunities I get I'm going to go out there and I'm gonna try to take people's heads off, do what I can to help the team win. That's what it's always been about for me, it's bigger than me and I just try to contribute in any way shape or form that I can. I'm grateful for what I was able to accomplish with my opportunities and I look back at my time at Duke and I'm incredibly grateful for everything that those coaches extended towards me in terms of opportunity, furthering my education and play at an elite level."

Morgenstern has yet to visit Texas Tech, committing sight unseen. Now he and the coaches are targeting early June for a potential arrival date for Morgenstern and the rest of the newcomers, though that is always subject to change as a moving target.

"As far as I last heard they were remaining optimistic for maybe early June, but right now it seems like a bit of a moving target so I think it's kind of a wait-and-see with all of us. We're gonna sit tight and wait for the latest word as it comes in."

Morgenstern initially committed to Kent State after taking a visit back in March, but will now play his final season of college football at Texas Tech. Meanwhile he's staying busy, working out and doing whatever he can to stay in shape during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It's been tough for sure, just having all these regulations and shutdowns. I've been trying to modify my workouts as much as I can. When I can I go over to my friends house, he has a weight rack and we pump some iron. I gotta work around his schedule for that but when he's not around I do at home workouts or go out for runs or whatever I can to try and stay in shape. I know coach Scholz is going to get me on a program very shortly to have a set regimen and whatever he wants me to be doing so I think moving forward it'll be a little easier with some direction to get the work in that I need."

While at Duke Morgenstern appeared in 25 career games and racked up a career-high seven (7) special teams tackles in 2019. You can view Jacob's highlights HERE.