LB Morse Takes Charge as Emerging Defensive Star

Speed, strength, intensity, leadership give HP junior an edge

Jack Morse says he’s driven to leadership because he enjoys seeing everyone around him succeed.

Morse gravitates to those opportunities on and off the football field — both as an inside linebacker for the Highland Park football team and as the school’s junior class president.

Known for his athleticism and hard-hitting ability, he’s become perhaps the most dynamic player on defense for the Scots as they chase another District 7-6A title and prepare for the playoffs.

“Jack is a playmaker and the leader on defense,” said HP head coach Randy Allen. “He plays with intensity and passion. When the going gets rough, Jack gets our defense to get tough.”

Morse’s love of football traces to his older brother, Sam, a former offensive lineman and team captain for the Scots who later was a walk-on at SMU for two years.

The younger Morse grew up as a receiver before that position became too crowded with talent once he reached middle school. Given his strong frame, coaches urged him to try moving to linebacker.

“I was a bigger kid at the time and loved hitting,” Morse said. “I’m quicker than the average inside linebacker, and tackling is a great benefit.”

A year ago, Morse expected to start his sophomore season on the junior-varsity squad before injuries opened a spot on the varsity roster for the season opener against Flower Mound Marcus.

He played sparingly in the fourth quarter and was due to be relegated the next week before another two teammates went down, giving Morse about a half of playing time against Lewisville.

By that time, he had taken advantage of his opportunity. Morse never played a down of JV football. His breakthrough came a few weeks later against Jesuit Dallas, when he had an interception and double-digit tackles, including a crucial fourth-down stop.

“I was learning the ropes of it all and had some great seniors in front of me,” Morse said. “It was just focusing on how I can get better the next week and throughout the season.”

This year, Morse is the focal point of an improving defensive unit, responsible for relaying calls and signals from the sideline to the field in addition to being a versatile run-stopper and pass defender.

“Every game we’re getting better and better. We need to play at our peak level every single week,” said Morse, who’s also a goalie for the HP lacrosse team. “The sky is the limit for the defense this year, for sure.”

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