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Morales to attempt the pro jump

Valencia grad has chance to be drafted or sign as free agent

Posted: April 24, 2009 9:41 p.m.
Updated: April 25, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
Shane Morales has come a long way.

From his days playing wide receiver for Valencia High, to his time at College of the Canyons, the Oregon State senior now has a chance to take his game to the professional ranks.

“Two years ago, if you would have asked me, ‘What are your feelings about going pro?’ — when I wasn’t playing much — well, I was wasn’t even thinking about it,” said the 6-foot-1-inch Morales. “I was indifferent about it. Now it is coming to life. There are a lot of emotions right now. My parents are excited. I’m excited.”

This season, he accumulated 54 receptions for 743 yards and eight touchdowns, helping the Beavers win their third bowl game in three years with a 3-0 victory over Pittsburgh in the Brut Sun Bowl.

His increased production, strong pro day on March 13 in Corvallis, Ore., work ethic, and natural skills have garnered interest from several teams heading into today’s NFL draft, said Morales’ agent Joe Aloisi of Sports Management Worldwide.

Aloisi also represents Hart graduates Matt Moore and Dan Howell and as a resident of the Santa Clarita Valley for 31 years.

“They really liked him on film,” Aloisi said. “They liked the way he found the openings in the defense when he was running routes. They liked the fact that he ran a good, crisp route. They liked his hands, and when they talked to him, they liked Shane as a person.”

They refers to Green Bay, Indianapolis, Baltimore and Carolina, all of whom have been in touch with Aloisi regarding Morales’ contact information.

Morales’ preference?

“Anywhere that will take me,” he laughed. “I don’t care.”

According to both Morales and Aloisi, it is most likely that Morales will be either a late second-day pick or enter NFL training camps as a free agent, which is were Aloisi thinks he has the best opportunity to get picked up.

As for his time with the Beavers, head coach Mike Riley said he has seen elements of his senior that make him believe that he has a chance to make it in the NFL.

“There are a bunch of qualities, one of them is that he is a great competitor,” he said. “He wants to succeed. He will always make a play — go up and get the ball. He has an inherent toughness and will put his body on the line.”

Morales will join fellow senior receiver Sammie Stroughter among those draft-eligible, both of whom, Riley said he will miss.

“When you lose two guys as productive as Sammie and Shane, that is always hard,” he said. “They’ve set a great stage so guys that played with them and behind them, and saw the work ethic and production will work together. All-time great guys and team guys, and well-liked by everybody.

“(Shane was) very consistent day to day of who is. I’m very proud to have Shane in our program... The No. 1 thing we look for in a guy is trust, and Shane has that (from his teammates).”

But Morales is keeping everything in perspective.

Despite the potential to play professional football, he said he is also proud of the finance degree he will have to fall back on.

“Sunday, I will be studying for my international finance mid-term with my phone right next to me,” he said.

From humble beginnings, largely overlooked, Morales has made a way for himself.

It wasn’t easy.

“Be relentless with your efforts,” he said. “You can’t give up on anything.”

pputignano@the-signal.com

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