Notebook: Akron’s new (much-needed) weapon at WR

Jonah Morris is a local kid that didn’t go to the local school. In fairness, if you’re 6-foot-4 and a good enough wide receiver for teams like Notre Dame, Michigan State and Wisconsin to offer, it’s hard to turn them down. Morris picked Indiana as a 2016 graduate of Archbishop Hoban, which is in Akron, Ohio, and is now transferring to the hometown team.

Michael Beaven of Akron Beacon Journal reported Saturday:

Morris, 20, said a friend of his recently passed away, and that he has family members dealing with health issues. He will have three years of athletic eligibility at UA.

“I applied for a [medical hardship] waiver so maybe I don’t have to sit out this year,” Morris said. “Also I feel like I needed a new start after my coaches left — literally every single offensive coach. With me coming home, that allows all my close family to be able to see me play again and come to my graduation.”

In the spirit of pro-grievance, hopefully Morris can play right away and be an impact receiver for the Zips this year. It doesn’t matter that he was just a redshirt-special-teams player at Indiana. Akron’s getting a guy that’s definitely geared to have a sense of urgency, especially with his size at that position.

Entering 2017, Akron’s wide receiver unit thinned out with the departures of Jojo Natson and Jerome Lane. Now, the two leading returning receivers from last year’s team are Kwadarrius Smith (34 receptions) and Andre Williams (4), so there’s not much experience here to speak for. Smith’s a 5-foot-9 speedster, Williams is only an inch taller and barely 180 pounds. Maybe Mykel Traylor-Bennett can rebound off an ACL injury as a senior receiver with a tight end’s body (6-foot-3, 230 pounds). The plan for Traylor-Bennett last season was for him to play TE even though he was a WR in all of his other seasons at Akron. He was moved back to WR when he officially came back for his sixth year because of the scarcity at the position, but if Morris can play this year, Traylor-Bennett could be the first player in team history** to go from WR to TE to WR again to TE again.

** I have absolutely no proof of this.

CMU’s new recruiting advantage

The Central Michigan Board of Trustees hasn’t given the thumbs up or thumbs down on the idea, but fundraising has already begun for a new facility to be built at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.

MLive’s Isis Simpson-Mersha reported Friday:

Plans are in place to construct the Chippewa Champions Alumni Center, a massive, $31.5 million building that features a workout center, sports medicine area for student-athletes, a new football locker room and equipment room, new visiting locker rooms, and office space.

The new center was presented to the Central Michigan Board of Trustees on Wednesday, June 27 by associate vice president and director of athletics, Michael Alford and vice president of advancement, Robert Martin.

“Alumni and donors are buying into the vision,” Alford said

Project leaders estimate the new facility will cost $31.5 million. A combination of “current gifts and future revenue streams,” helped the leaders move forward with fundraising and planning,” said Jim Knight, assistant athletic director.

“At this point, the Board of Trustees only has received information about the Chippewa Champions Alumni Center,” Knight said. “The board has not taken any official action.”

Currently, there isn’t a set time frame for when the center can be built, because the project is still in its fundraising phase, Knight said. The amount of money raised from those efforts has yet to be determined, he said.

… A new scoreboard on the south end of the stadium will also be part of the new center, in addition to a welcome center and “home base” for returning alumni. It’s also to include a rehabilitation center and a nutrition center for all CMU’s nearly 500 student-athletes.

This should be used as a tool in recruiting for CMU and that’s to nobody’s surprise. It’ll actually mean something when the board makes a decision, but it’s good hype if nothing else.

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