Inside Chad Morris’s home, in a lounge he describes as the “recruiting room,” there hangs on the wall a framed, decade-old story from Sports Illustrated detailing the impressive lineage of quarterbacks to have played for Morris during his days as a Texas high school coach. One of the players mentioned in the 2009 story never actually played for him. It’s his son Chandler, who at the time of publication was, as the piece notes, an advanced first-grader quarterbacking a 7-on-7 team of third-graders. Chad often thought Chandler was in line to be his next quarterback, but that was before he left the high school ranks for college ball the very next year.
Now, a decade later, his dad head coach at Arkansas, Chandler still found a way to get into that line. He announced Friday his commitment to his father’s program. He’ll be back with dad after all, almost 10 years exactly to his cameo in that story. “It’s pretty unique,” Chad says in an interview with Sports Illustrated. “It’s pretty cool.” This is not a father doing his son a favor. Chandler is a four-star rated prospect, is inside the 247Sports.com composite list of the top 350 recruits in the 2020 class and has offers from the likes of Clemson and Oklahoma.
Despite his size—he measured at 5'10", 172 pounds at the latest recruiting event this summer—he can sling it with the best of them, helping lead one of the country’s high school powerhouses to a state championship in his first season as a starter last year. He completed 63.9% of his passes, threw for 4,010 yards and 46 touchdowns (to six interceptions) and rushed for 647 more yards and 20 more scores, all the while accomplishing a first in the illustrious 90-year-old history of Dallas-based Highland Park High. The Scots, a program that claims to be the winningest in Texas prep football history, had never gone 16–0. “The ball comes out of his hand with the zip of nobody I’ve ever seen. That’s a long list of guys,” says Tristan Weber, a longtime assistant at Highland Park who coaches quarterbacks. The list of the players he’s seen pass through here include NFL first-round pick Matthew Stafford and John Stephen Jones, Chandler’s predecessor who led the Scots to back-to-back titles and is now playing at Arkansas.
Chandler will soon join him in Fayetteville, signaling the end of an unusual recruiting process that included, for one, his father accompanying him to campus visits at Arkansas’s intra-division rivals, Auburn and Texas A&M. The process also included his mother, Paula, at first being against the idea of her son playing for his father, and there was even a time when Chandler himself thought about publicly ruling out the Razorbacks as a potential destination. This was a unique, winding, year-long ordeal that began during a camp at Clemson last June, when an old friend spotted from across the field a kid he used to drive to elementary school. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, shocked by the talent he witnessed, raced over to Paula Morris.