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January 30, 2003Junior to Watch: Anthony Morelli
School: Pittsburgh Penn Hills
Position: Proy-style quarterback
Size and Speed: Morelli is 6-foot-4 and 208 pounds. His best 40-yard dash time is 4.7 seconds, and his best vertical leap is 30 inches. Both were recorded at the Penn State Nike camp last year. He reports a maximum bench press of 285 lbs.
Favorite Schools: Morelli has a tentative top five of Pittsburgh, Penn State, Florida State, Michigan, and Purdue. He is also considering offers from Virginia, and West Virginia, and considering UCLA according to his father. UCLA and Florida State have not offered.
The Skinny: Pittsburgh Penn Hills star quarterback Anthony Morelli spent last summer in California with some of the best quarterbacks in the nation at Bob Johnson's Elite 11 football camp. This is truly and honor for any high school quarterback. Considering that Morelli was one of two juniors attending the camp, it could have been downright awe-inspiring.
"We have a great picture with Anthony and Carson Palmer, so we were hoping that he would win the heisman," said the quarterback's father. "
There were a lot of good quarterbacks out there but my son was right up there with the best of them."
His father describes his son as a big, strong armed quarterback. In fact, he describes his son's big right arm as "a gift from God."
Sometime this summer, Morelli could be one lucky coach's gift from God. Morelli plans to make an early decision.
"I want to decide in the summertime," Morelli said. "I'm planning to the Nike camp again, go out to Elite 11 again and then look at some campuses as much as I can.
"I want to go where I can get a good education, somewhere with a good campus. Playing early is important, and I have to be able to trust the coaches. I want to go somewhere that throws the ball a bunch. I think I'm ready for that."
You see, Morelli isn't just looking forward to college for the ahem education. He wants the chance to show off his powerful right arm that he didn't get in high school.
"We're kind of a running team," he said. "I think the only passing play we have is the bomb."
That would help explain Morelli's numbers last season.
As a junior, he was 76 of 148 for 1,880 yards and 20 touchdowns with only nine interceptions. His workmanlike 51 percent completion percentage doesn't represent Morelli's talent until you consider that he averaged a whopping 24.7 yards per completion.
"I definitely want to go somewhere that throws the ball like thirty times a game," he said. "I like Purdue and Florida State because they throw a lot. I know my dad likes Purdue because they throw the ball a lot, too. That's really important to me."
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