Kolby Morgan remembers talking with his father on a number of occasions about the possibility of playing football at Tennessee. Until recently, he didn’t necessarily view it as a realistic possibility.
A little more than a week ago, the Class of 2022 punter/athlete from Oneida (Tenn.) High School received a preferred walk-on offer from the Vols, and he didn’t wait long to accept it. He announced Tuesday in a post on his Twitter account that he has decided to play at Tennessee, turning down a handful of scholarship offers to play for the home-state Vols.
The 6-foot, 195-pound Morgan said he chose the Vols over a preferred walk-on offer from Eastern Kentucky. He also received scholarship offers from Army, Navy, Tennessee Tech, Gardner-Webb and University of the Cumberlands.
“It’s super exciting. I haven’t really processed it yet. It doesn’t really seem real yet,” Morgan said before publicly announcing his decision late Tuesday afternoon.
“Me and my dad have always talked about, like, how cool it would be if I played at UT. And until this year, or around last year, we didn’t even see it as a possibility. But here recently, it’s just crazy. Everything’s happened so fast.”
Morgan, who also played running back at Oneida, said he decided to play at Tennessee because he didn’t want to pass up the chance to play in the SEC.
“It’s just that no one from my hometown really makes it big, and the people that have had chances to have gone to, like, the small colleges and stuff like that and got their school paid for,” he said. “But I just want to be that one person that makes it big.”
Despite living in East Tennessee, he has grown up following another SEC program.
“Well, to be honest, we were Auburn fans,” Morgan said. “But, if you live in Tennessee, everybody has a little Tennessee in you. My dad’s just always been an Auburn fan, and I just grew right into it.
“Every time Auburn played Tennessee, we would go to that game. We went down to Auburn when Tennessee played Auburn. We’re kind of Auburn-Tennessee fans. If you grow up in Tennessee, you’re just automatically — some part of (you is a) Tennessee fan.”
“It feels natural. It will be awesome to wear that orange my whole life,” Morgan told Volquest after receiving the news. “I’ve imagined running through the ‘T’ multiple times. I bet it’s crazy.”
Morgan capped a stellar career at Oneida this past fall – compiling over 1,300 yards with 16 touchdowns on the ground as a senior. He averaged just over seven yards a carry and finished with more than 1,600 all-purpose yards.
But the athlete made a name for himself as a punter, averaging 40.1 yards per punt in 2020. Tennessee views him as a guy who can help the specialists’ group and someone who could also find his way onto the field on special team units. “He told me that he likes how I’m an explosive athlete who can punt the ball,” Morgan said of Tennessee Special Teams Coordinator Jay Graham. “He said he’d like to run a lot of fakes with me and throw me in some running back drills as well. VolQuest - Vols offer Oneida's Kolby Morgan as walk-on