Penn State connection leads Morris to Pats

Penn State connection leads Morris to Pats
May 4, 2013, 3:45 pm
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FOXBORO -- For Patriots undrafted free agent cornerback Stephon Morris, a Penn State product who played under former Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien last season, this weekend's rookie minicamp is reminding him a little bit of his college days.

"You can just pretty much see the way coach O'Brien runs things is the same way coach [Bill] Belichick runs them," Morris said. "And you kind of see the New England Patriots definitely rubbed off on him and things like that."

O'Brien took over the Nittany Lions program last season, and Morris said that his former coach is the one who encouraged him to sign with New England.

"Coach O'Brien pretty much led me here," he explained. "He told me it'd be a great situation for me. I pretty much wanted to be a Patriot for a long time now so it's pretty much like a dream come true. Hopefully I get a chance to impress the coaches and make the team so that dream can come true."

Belichick has been known to take on players coached by his friends in the college ranks before. In 2010 he drafted three players out of Florida -- Jermaine Cunningham, Brandon Spikes and Aaron Hernandez -- where his buddy Urban Meyer was then the head coach. This year, Belichick drafted corner Logan Ryan, safety Duron Harmon, linebacker Steve Beauharnais and signed rookie free agent corner Brandon Jones, all of whom played under Belichick's pal Greg Schiano at Rutgers.

Penn State center Matt Stankiewitch, also an undrafted free agent, joins Morris at the former O'Brien pupils at this year's rookie minicamp.

In terms of advice, O'Brien knew just what to tell Morris before he made his way here.

"Coach O'Brien pretty much told me to keep my nose clean, my head down and stay off social network sites," Morris said with a laugh.