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Staub brings rich bloodlines to UNC

Eddy Landreth

By Eddy Landreth
Staff Writer

Football is a relative sport for UNC recruit Nathan Staub of Buford, Ga., – relative as in great bloodlines.

Staub played fullback and linebacker at Buford High and was considered a college prospect at both positions. His grandfather played both at Georgia Tech as well, on his path to being an All-American.

Those were the days before two-platoon football in college football. His grandfather, Terry Morris, played linebacker in the NFL.

The then-Los Angeles Rams took Morris in the first round of the 1955 draft. He played in L.A. for a few years, but the Rams let him get away. Morris landed in Chicago and eventually became a true Monster of the Midway.

He was named the MVP of the 1963 NFL title game, when the Bears defeated Hall of Fame quarterback Y.A. Tittle and the New York Giants.

“I always respected him and the effort he put toward the game,” Staub said. “He had to have a summer job as a lifeguard just to make ends meet. Back then they didn’t pay anything.

“But his legacy has had a big impact on my life,” Staub said. “There was the ‘awe factor.’ He worked hard. He created a great place for my mom’s family to grow up in. And I’ve always had tremendous respect for him as a person, even more than for what he accomplished.”

Staub says he is coming to Carolina to play linebacker, which should work out because the new offensive system really doesn’t utilize but one running back – the one with a ball tucked under an arm – in this case, either sophomore Giovani Bernard or redshirt sophomore Romar Morris.

Staub said that he enjoyed playing fullback, and told the coaching staff he would gladly play there in goal line formations. But there is no doubt where he wants to play.

“I love both,” Staub said. “Hitting people is fun, no matter which side of the ball you are on. But linebacker is more of a thinking-man’s position. I enjoy that aspect of the game. It’s the position I favor more.

“We’ve discussed it,” Staub said. “I’m going there as a linebacker. I’ll be competing for playing time at linebacker first and foremost.”

He has the tools. He is 6 foot 3 and played at 235 pounds this past season, but he said that he has dropped to 229 by eating less and working diligently on his body.

Staub spends more time on his speed than his strength, and his speed was already respectable for a linebacker.
“I ran a 4.6 at North Carolina on the grass,” Staub said. “I have run a 4.5 and change on a track.”

Now that it’s time to report for summer school at Carolina and start working out with the team, Staub said the excitement he feels is palpable.

“I’m just ready for a new challenge, a new venture,” Staub said. “Chapel Hill is one of the best places you can embark on something new.”

Given the recent scandal at Carolina, some may not believe a kid when he speaks of academics. That would be a mistake in this case. Staub is a genuinely multidimensional person.

“I’ve got two AP tests coming up, and I’ve already passed two others,” Staub said. “So I hope I can have 12 hours going in and graduate as soon as possible and then work on a graduate degree.”

His high school coach, Jess Simpson, said Staub is as real as they come.

“Nathan is a throw-back guy,” Simpson said. “He is a really talented player. He is an old-school guy. He is a big, tough physical kid. He is very explosive and a very physical football player. His physical talents are really his intangibles.

“His character stands out. He is one of the best and strongest leaders we had in our program in a long time. He oozes with leadership. People follow him. He has been a real blessing for us to have in our program. North Carolina is getting a great person and a great player.”

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