A three-star high school recruit, Morris committed to the Hawkeyes as a 200-pound linebacker and was thrown into action right away as a true freshman, quickly establishing himself as a team leader and bulking up in the weight room. He finished second on the team in tackles (106) as a senior in 2013, but led Iowa in tackles for loss (17.0), sacks (7.0) and interceptions (4), earning Second Team All-Big Ten honors. Morris has average size, speed and athletic traits, but makes up for it with his relentless attitude and hustle to disrupt plays all over the field, including the backfield. His overaggressive style will get him in trouble at times, lacking the fluidity to easily recover, but he is smart and coachable with top intangibles.
STRENGTHS: Solid size with good muscle definition. Works hard in the weight room. Adequate athleticism and range due to his hustle. Instinctive and trusts what he sees with little hesitation ? see ball, get ball type. Physical tackler with timing, technique and sturdy hands to finish. Excellent between the hashes vs. the run and aggressively takes on blocks. Knifes his way through the line of scrimmage well to make a stop for loss. Hard-nosed and always at full go, playing hungry and relentless. Smart and alert with positive character traits on and off the field. Durable and tough, often playing through pain. Motivated individual with desire to get better and reach his full potential. Productive starting career (42 career starts) with three straight 100+ tackle seasons.WEAKNESSES: Doesn?t have the frame to get much bigger or stronger. Limited speed and fluidity, struggling at times in coverage. Not as reliable in the open field and needs to do a better job breaking down on the move. Rigid and needs to stay under control. Will bite on fakes and take too many false steps, struggling to recover. Overactive attitude gets him in trouble when he overpursues the action and takes himself out of the play. Will lower his eye level prematurely and lose sight of his target.--Dane Brugler
01/01/2014 - PLAYERS TO WATCH: Iowa is 14-11-1 and returning to the post-season after a one-year absence. Iowa LB James Morris is a versatile defender who can make things hard for Jennings and Co. He has been effective rushing the passer, stopping the run and playing pass defense. - The Sports Xchange