Morgan makes most of his chance with Soul, leads AFL in receiving yardage

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Donovan Morgan celebrates a touchdown reception against the Georgia Force. The Soul receiver has 1,270 yards despite the team's juggling of two quarterbacks for much of the season.

With the Soul struggling to successfully follow up on their 2008 Arena Football League championship season, after shutting down for two years, one consistent aspect of the team's play has been the performance of wide receiver Donovan Morgan.

Going into the Soul's contest Friday night against the New Orleans Voodoo at the Wells Fargo Center, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Morgan is only 10th in touchdown catches with 23, and eighth in receptions with 79.

But he is atop the list in yards receiving with 1,270 despite the fact that the Soul spent the first half of the season juggling two quarterbacks.

"Individual is great, but it's frustrating because the team is not doing well," said Morgan, who played at Pearl River Community College (Miss.) and Louisiana-Lafayette. "I'd rather we do well as a team than me do well as an individual. But if I wasn't surrounded by those guys, I don't really feel I'd be having the success I'm having."

Morgan, who earned AFL rookie of the year honors in '08 while playing for Soul coach Mike Hohensee when both were in the Chicago Rush organization, was all-league last season after collecting 52 touchdown passes for the Tulsa Talons.

Before finding a home in AFL, the 28-year-old Morgan spent time with four NFL teams after being signed as a free agent by the New York Jets in 2004. He was assigned to NFL Europe.

After getting released by the Jets in 2005, Morgan was then given looks by the Houston Texans (2005), the Kansas City Chiefs (2006), and the Buffalo Bills (2007). Morgan was briefly on the Texans' active roster.

"As of right now, I'm really trying to get back," said Morgan. "I'm 28 years old, and the window is closing. So, if it doesn't happen now, I don't really feel it's going to happen. NFL-wise, I don't know. But a lot of Canadian teams really want me to come up there and play that brand of football. I've never been up there before, and it's something I'm considering right now. So, we'll see what happens when the season is over."

The Soul (3-7) go into their game against New Orleans (2-8) having split their last four games. The Voodoo have a two-game losing streak.

In P.J. Berry, New Orleans has the AFL's leader in receptions. To go with 97 catches, Berry has 1,020 yards and 16 scores.

Despite the presences of Morgan and Berry, the Soul are last in the American Conference East Division, and the Voodoo are last in the American Conference South Division.

The Cleveland Gladiators lead the East Division with a 6-3 mark, and though the Soul have not been mathematically eliminated from the race, time is running out.

"We need to win out to get what we're trying to achieve," Morgan said. "It's going to take some mental focus. From this point on, it's either win or go home."

 


Contact staff writer Kevin Tatum at 215-854-2583 or ktatum@phillynews.com.