Ringgold defensive lineman Zach Morris is the No. 4-ranked college football prospect among area high school seniors. Morris, who committed to Duke University last year, sat down with the Times Free Press recently before the start of his final prep season.
Q: You had surgery recently to repair an old injury. How will that set you back this season?
A: "It won't set me back that much. I have a lot of people that are going to help me get in shape and condition, and I plan to come back stronger. I'll probably be back by the Calhoun game. When I come back I plan to exceed what I did last year, because I'll be healthy."
Q: How much did having a scholarship to Duke locked up go into your decision to have the surgery?
A: "It had a big impact. I don't have to worry about all the college people looking at me and trying to impress anyone. I talked to the AD up there, and they suggested to go ahead and get it done."
Q: Do you see yourself playing end or tackle at Duke, and which one would you prefer?
A: "Probably tackle, because I'm at 285 right now and I can carry more and still be able to move with it. I've gained 40 pounds since surgery, but a lot of it's muscle."
Q: Do you prefer to play inside or outside on the defensive line?
A: "At the Rising Senior Bowl I played inside and did really well. I think I like it inside more because you can basically just go in and blow things up, and that's a lot of fun."
Q: You've said before you have no intentions of entertaining other college offers. Is that still the case and why?
A: "My heart is set on Duke. It feels like home, and when I visited other colleges I felt like a number to them, so Duke is where I want to be. The education is unbelievable, so you can't beat that, and the football program is on the rise."
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...