For as long as he can remember, Jackson Morris said he has liked catching passes on the football field.
“When I was younger, I was switching between quarterback and running back, but I always liked catching the ball, and if possible, scoring touchdowns,” the Seymour senior said.
“I think it’s easier to catch the ball against man-to-man defense. I can fake the kid out and get in my route and get open. They’ll either drop back and not let the deep ball or they’ll play in the flats. I like man-on-man.”
Morris said he began playing football in first grade in the Police Athletics Activities League in Columbus. He then played in the Seymour elementary league, at Seymour Middle School and then began his freshman season at Seymour High School on the freshman team.
When quarterback Austin Sutton became injured that year, Morris took over that role for the varsity team’s final six games.
He quarterbacked the Owls’ first two games of his sophomore season and then moved to wide receiver the third game that season and has been there ever since.
He holds the school record for receptions in a season (75, 2015) and is tied for first for the single-game mark (13).
Morris said he lines up on both the right and left sides, depending on what play is called.
“If Nathan O’Mara goes in motion to my side of the field, we will help each other out,” he said. “I like lining up on the left side, mainly because of our stance. When I’m on the left side, I have my left foot forward, and I like having my left foot forward. It’s my dominant foot.”
Morris said his favorite pattern is a post route.
“I think that’s what I’m best at,” he said, noting that either a safety or linebacker covers him most of the time. “He’d either bump me and work to the flats or he would stay on me. If he would bump me and work to the flats, then the safety would pick me up. This year, they’ve been mostly shorter passes, not much over the top.”
The Owls take a five-game winning streak into Friday’s home game against Madison.
The school is on fall break today and Friday, and Morris said the team needs to come into Friday’s game prepared and focused and with energy.
“That’s what hurt us against Jennings County,” he said. “We have a slow start usually, and we figure things out. I know the first few games, the offense struggled. The theme in practice was ‘putting the pieces together.’ We were right there, but we could never execute on each play. Working on it in practice is the main thing and gives us the right mindset to do that.”
Before the season, the team attended a camp in Mitchell. Morris said that was good for everyone.
“The Mitchell camp was really good,” he said. “It’s really hard there. The practice field is probably about a quarter-mile away. We had to walk to it every day, three times a day. It’s definitely a really good bonding time. During our free time, we did activities.”
At night, the team had meetings.
“We had this acronym, R.E.A.C.H., and each letter represented something, and each coach talked about what they thought that meant,” Morris said. “They all gave really good speeches about what that meant and applied it to their life and applied it to football for us.”
Morris said weightlifting is an important part of the program.
“You want to maintain your strength,” he said, noting that his favorite lift is power clean, where his max is 260 pounds.
All four years Morris has been in high school, his father, Andy, has been an assistant coach and works with the wide receivers.
“He’s usually my encourager,” Jackson said. “If I make a mistake or something, it’s usually him that pats me on the back and says, ‘You’ll get it next time.’”
In the spring, Morris will participate in track and field, running the 400-meter dash and 4×100 and 4×400 relays. He missed last season because of a hamstring injury.
“I like the 400. That’s probably what I’m best at,” he said. “I like running in Lane 1. I’m not good at pacing myself, and If I’m in an outside lane, I don’t think I need to go as fast.”
Of the relays, he said the 4×100 is his favorite, and he likes running the third leg.
In terms of his academics, Morris said he has enjoyed being a student at Seymour High School.
“I’ve liked it here,” he said. “I like how good the teachers are at letting you come to them for help. They’re really good at opening up and making sure you’re learning.”
What: Madison (2-6) at Seymour (5-3)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Bulleit Stadium
Radio: 92.7 Nash Icon
Last outing: Bedford North Lawrence def. Madison 38-7, Seymour def. New Albany 64-48
Most recent meeting: Seymour won 36-14 on Oct. 16, 2015
Series past 30 years: Seymour 18-2
Name: Jackson Morris
School: Seymour High School
Parents: Andy and Becky Morris
Sports: Football, four years; track and field, four years
Athletic highlights: In football, all-conference honorable mention, school records for receptions for a game and a season, preseason Class 4A all-state at wide receiver; in track and field, regional qualifier in the 4×100 relay
Organizations: Latin Club, choir
Plans after high school: Attend college and play football
Favorite food: Pizza
Favorite TV show: “SportsCenter”
Favorite musician: Drake
Favorite movie: “Fast Five”
Favorite athlete: Julian Edelman