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ARLINGTON, Texas -- One of the top performers in UTA football history, former offensive lineman Don Morrison is to be inducted in the 2018 UTA Hall of Honor.
Morrison, a native of Forney, Texas, had a decorated career for the Mavs from 1968-70, before a nine-year NFL career.
A 6-foot-5, 255-pound force on the offensive end, Morrison joined the UTA roster for the 1967 season after starring at Class-A Forney High School. He arrived with a 210-pound projectable frame before developing into a physical weapon as the biggest player on the roster.
With the NCAA requiring all freshmen to sit out their first season on campus, Morrison was limited to a practice and "B Team" role. He was one of three UTA freshmen to make the traveling squad in 1967, when the Mavs went 10-1 and won the Pecan Bowl.
In 1968, Morrison immediately seized a starting role and earned second-team all-conference accolades, the first of three all-league honors for the three-year starter. He was tabbed first-team all-league after the 1969 season.
"If you set out to draw the picture of the perfect offensive lineman, bit by bit, you'd wind up with a picture of Don Morrison," then UTA head coach Burley Bearden said during Morrison's sophomore season. "He has not only the size, but the mobility to be truly outstanding."
Morrison, a 13-time letterwinner at Forney High School, was named co-captain of the 1970 team and earned honorable mention All-America accolades twice.
Morrison was not just a star for the UTA football team, he also thrived as a thrower for the track and field program.
He competed in javelin, shot-put and discuss while earning three track letters. His fired distances of 223-5 in the javelin, 50-6 in the shot and 162-9 in the discuss.
"I really enjoyed track and field as much as the football," Morrison said. "Track was an individual sport and I enjoyed that a lot. I asked the coaches when they were recruiting me if I could still throw in track. They were nice enough to let me do that. We had a few conflicts but I remember that was my satisfaction. I got a little bit of success and enjoyed it. If we lost, it was because of me because it was a one-man deal."
Following his collegiate career at UTA, Morrison was selected in the fourth round of the 1971 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. He played seven seasons, and 94 games, with the Saints (1971-77), before a year with Baltimore (1978) and Detroit (1979).
"When I went to New Orleans, they all wanted to know how a guy from such a small town could make it this far," Morrison said. "Being at Arlington, there were always tons of scouts there. If you know how scouting worked back then, they'd go look at someone, fill out the charts and return a scouting report. So anyone could do that if they had an afternoon and could get paid to come out and watch us play. Being in Arlington, all these scouts were able to see us play without having to drive very far."
Morrison is joined in the 2018 Hall of Honor Class by teammate Fred Gough, a UTA all-conference linebacker from 1965-68.
"Don Morrison was a good guy," Gough said. "Not only was he a good player but he was a good guy. As you go through college, there are occasionally a few bad apples, in any group of college kids, but Morrison was just a class guy. He always tended to his business. I am glad he's going in with me."
"I was really glad that Fred played on the other side of the line in practice," Morrison said. "He made me better."
The Hall of Honor class of 2018 will be inducted on the weekend of Jan. 19-20, with a special ceremony scheduled for Friday, January 19 at 7:30 in the E.H. Hereford University Center. Tickets are available through www.utamavs.com/hallofhonor, with table sponsorships available through Friday, Jan. 12.
The honorees will be celebrated during UTA's basketball doubleheader with ULM on Saturday, with the women tipping off at 2 p.m. (CST) and the men's game slated for a 4:30 p.m. start at College Park Center.
"It was a good experience for me in Arlington," Morrison said. "It couldn't have been any better for a guy from Forney. And I'd do it again. We played with some good guys."
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