Three Morris players sign NLIs
For nearly eight months, Morris Redskins linebacker Jeff Perry has been firmly committed to play collegiate football at Central Michigan. He never wavered or seriously entertained other offers, yet on Wednesday morning, Perry wasn’t sure if he’d be able to send his National Letter of Intent.
That’s because the fax machine wasn’t working.
Ultimately, Perry got his papers successfully submitted to the Chippewas, and three Morris Redskins officially signed their NLI. Along with Perry, tight end Danny Friend signed with the Indiana Hoosiers and defensive end Anthonee Monson signed with the Bemidji State Beavers.
It was an interesting way to start an otherwise monumental day for the three graduating seniors.
“No I haven’t. It was my first experience with one,” Friend said when asked about his encounter with the infamous fax machine. “It was pretty funny. I got there and Jeff was having trouble sending his through, so we were all backed up for about 10 minutes, but we got it through.”
The MCHS athletic office was able to get Perry’s letter through to Central Michigan in just two tries, but when they sent a copy to the Mid-American Conference, the page came out entirely black on the other end three straight times.
“It sent. Some I’m like, ‘Alright. This is legit.’ I call Coach Cannon and he tells me they both came through straight black. It made me nervous,” Perry said.
Eventually all three successfully submitted their letters and later that day the trio gathered at a small ceremony with their families and coaches in the gym. With a dozen or so people in the crowd, all three boys posed for pictures wearing hats of their prospective schools with matching ties.
“It was a very special day,” Monson said. “It’s something my family has never been through, and it was a good experience.”
A two-way star for Morris this fall, Monson led the Redskins in receptions and receiving yards offensively while adding 49 tackles and four sacks on defense. He’ll play linebacker for the Beavers, selecting Bemidji State over St. Ambrose and Robert Morris, among others.
“When I got the call from Bemidji, they were a higher level of competition (than the other schools), and that stuck out to me because I wanted to play at the highest level possible,” Monson said.
For Perry, who also played both ways for Morris and will play linebacker in college, the decision was made easier by a familiar face up at Central Michigan.
“I had the early connection with Kevin (Henry) so I talked with him about it. I knew I liked the place and I knew I liked all the coaches,” Perry said. “I just decided (in June) to shut it down.”
Meanwhile, Danny Friend was the most highly recruited of the three, eventually turning down an offer from perennial Pac-12 powerhouse Oregon to play offensive tackle in lieu of a chance to play tight end at Indiana. Friend also made an early commitment to the Hoosiers, and remained steadfast despite continued pursuit.
“There were a couple schools that continued to pursue me and then a couple new ones came in, but I was always gonna stick with my commitment,” Friend said.
The trio was happy to put the recruiting process behind them, but that won’t be the end of it for Morris head coach Alan Thorson.
“We could have up to 10 more guys who go (play collegiate football). Right now they’re still going through the visits and doing all the unofficial stuff,” Thorson said.
Thorson expects to have another ceremony for the remaining athletes sometime in the spring.