Arizona QB Matt Morin has a Rage to Succeed and a shot at playing in the MLB

Oct 15, 2016; Tucson, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats tight end Matt Morin (15) carries the ball past USC Trojans defenders during the second half at Arizona Stadium. The Trojans won 48-14. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 15, 2016; Tucson, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats tight end Matt Morin (15) carries the ball past USC Trojans defenders during the second half at Arizona Stadium. The Trojans won 48-14. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

Matt Morin is one heck of an athlete and equally as gifted as a storyteller.

When we went to find out what was going on with his desire to play baseball for his college team, we got so much more than we bargained for. We were fascinated with Matt Morin during the 2016 football season, as he is perhaps the ultimate team player.

This past season, he took on the role of quarterback when his team ran out of them. In the process, we discovered this 6-foot-2 235-pound tight end could also run the ball and plow through defenders.

We were truly impressed by this young man, and we look forward to cheering him on as he works towards a career in baseball. Major League Baseball is interested in him after watching him throw a football. But Morin wants to spend time helping his Wildcats win a College World Series in the Spring first.

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Morin came to Arizona as a JUCO transfer. Before Arizona, Morin played for San Diego State as a quarterback, but then switched to tight end at Saddleback College, and then for Riverside CC. He played two seasons for the Wildcats, holding the ball for field goals on special teams, playing tight end, and finally playing quarterback again. It all seemingly came full circle for Morin.

What a story Matt has to tell, and we feel fortunate that he shared it with us so we could share it with you. Enjoy Wildcats fans; this is a good one. Here’s our full interview:

What was the one play or game that you will remember from your football career at Arizona?

Playing against USC last year. I got the chance to play Quarterback and threw a touchdown pass on my first drive. I grew up a Notre Dame fan, so I never liked USC and being able to do that was one of my many goals I got to accomplish. Also, I got to prove to myself that I can play Quarterback in the PAC-12.

Which Position did you like playing the most?

I loved playing Quarterback. I played Quarterback my whole life and played that until I transferred from San Diego State. I later transferred to Saddleback Community College and Riverside City College where I was forced to play tight end due to returning quarterbacks they already had. I was lucky enough to get a couple of scholarships and ended up at Arizona, which was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Who were your best friends on the team?

I had a lot of friends on the team, but Freddy [Tagaloa] was one of my best friends cause we both loved grinding in the weight room and always got to the facility at five in the morning together to get ready for practice early. We had the same goals of being successful and pushed each other for greatness every day.

Did you play baseball in High School? If so, what position, and what position are you hoping to play at Arizona?

Yes I played in high school and I played everywhere you can put a lefty (outfield, first base, and pitcher) but only played up until my sophomore year because I chose to focus on football my junior year, and due to me enrolling early at San Diego State in January of 2012 I was not able to play baseball my senior year as I planned too.

“Baseball is my first love, and I’ve been trying to play since I got into college” Matt Morin

What prompted you to want to go out for the baseball team? Was this one of your bucket list items all along? Did you choose between football and baseball entering college?

Baseball is my first love, and I’ve been trying to play since I got into college but because of me transferring to four different colleges and learning new playbooks and tearing my labrum one football season in 2013 in my right shoulder (non-throwing shoulder), I wasn’t able to get the chance to get my arm in shape and make my baseball dreams come true. I always wanted to play both in college and dreamed of playing both professionally.

How did the Arizona Baseball team inspire you to want to play with them?

Originally, I didn’t plan on trying out for them and to just go throw for MLB scouts sometime in the spring, but after thinking about it, I said why not go and see what Coach Johnson has to say. I knew I needed time to get my arm loose and ready to pitch, which is hard in just a month and a half, but that’s the process I am in right now, and I’m giving everything I have to make my dream of playing baseball a reality.

Do you have any friends on the baseball team right now?

I only really know Ryan Haug from having the same advisor appointments as him last year, but we have developed a good friendship, and I’m always talking baseball with him whenever I see him, and sometimes we hang out on a Saturday nights if we are free.

What position are you trying out for? Thinking with all the pumping iron you do, you can really smack a baseball out of the park!

I’m trying out for pitching. I’m left handed, and I like to believe my arm is stronger than most when it is loose and in shape. That has always been my strength when playing in baseball and football. In high school, I threw a pass 77 yards in the air for a touchdown.

Luckily, there were a couple of MLB scouts in the stands watching how I played football and my father received a call the next day saying they wanted to take me in the first couple rounds of the draft but I chose to pursue college football at the time and knew I could go back and play baseball in the future sometime.

I was a really good hitter all the way until I stopped playing and it being seven years since I’ve seen live pitching, I think it would take me longer to adjust to hitting than pitching.

From April 1st-August 2nd of this year, I would go to the baseball field by my house to throw and pitch first and then hit a couple of buckets of baseballs off a tee about six days a week. I got more and more comfortable each day I went out and started feeling great on the diamond, but with football camp starting on August 3rd, I haven’t been able to be around baseball until the season ended.

What about your training for football do you think will help you in baseball?

I believe my overall strength in the weight room will help me in baseball, but with all these years of lifting heavy for football not to get injuries, my ligaments and muscles in my arm have gotten tight, so since my football career has ended I have put more focus on baseball lifting and stretching out my arm to get ready to pitch. It is a couple of months process that I am trying to do in a month to get ready for my tryout in January, but I am doing everything I can every day to get ready.

Where do you get your work ethic in the gym, in practice, and on the field?

My work ethic started when I was young when I would go to the gym with my father and see him lift enormous amounts of weight and I wanted to do the same. With wanting to play sports at the professional level, I knew I needed to be strong and work my butt off every day.

I always idolized and studied guys like Derek Jeter, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, and recently Mike Trout and saw that they live for what they do and will sacrifice whatever it takes to be successful. I’m always watching documentaries on CEO’s and successful athletes, and they all have one thing in common, and that is ‘They Rage to Succeed.’

In my mind it is all about you get what you work for and with me maturing, even more, the past year I started waking up every single day since January and getting my workout in, doing my cardio and then heading to the field to practice more.

I love the grind, and I love challenging my mind and body to see how far I can go. I am obsessed with accomplishing my dreams and only sleep on average about four hours a night because I’m excited and ready to get after it the next day. I want everything this life has to offer.

What or who inspires you to work hard and achieve your goals?

I have two inspirations in my life the most that make me Rage to Succeed more than anything, and they are my Father John Morin and his identical twin my late Uncle Jim Morin who passed away in August of 2014. Watching my father go back to school at the age of 47 and get his Bachelors Degree and then recently this December getting his Master’s Degree inspires me because I see the work he puts in. He never complains and is always working to broaden his education on anything he gets his hands on.

Going back to school while having a family and full-time job is not easy and then graduating at the top of his class is something that is unbelievable in my mind. I am so proud of my father and can’t wait to see if he decides to get his doctorate. My other inspiration is my Uncle Jim. He was my father’s twin brother and was a second dad to me since I was born.

I would always go to his house down the street to hang out, and a lot of the time it was just him giving me a talk about life lessons and always teaching me to do the right thing no matter the situation. He was a man that read the Bible every day for the last 11 years of his life and loved his family more than anything. He wanted to retire in Tucson because he recently had a friend of his move to Tucson and after visiting a couple of times, he decided he was going to retire there when done working.

This had a huge impact on all our lives, and we all still do everything we can every day to make him proud up in Heaven. Him wanting to retire out in Tucson was the main reason why I committed to the U of A in September of 2014, just a week after my uncle’s passing.

I felt him telling me from Heaven to go there so I did, and I have loved every second of it. Even though my football career didn’t work out the way I wanted it too, I still wouldn’t change a thing. Everything I do in my life is to make these two proud of me.

What is your major? When are you graduating?

I am graduating in May with a General Studies major. I wanted to be a Business major, but with me transferring to so many schools, I lost a bunch of classes and only really had a choice to graduate on time with a General Studies major. Getting my degree from the University of Arizona is important to me while spending my time here.

Would you like to be drafted into the MLB? Is that a goal?

Yes, I would like the opportunity to play in the MLB, and that is my ultimate goal, but if I am lucky enough to make the Arizona baseball team and play for Coach Johnson, then my main focus will be winning the College World Series and bringing a championship back to Tucson. That’s what is most important.

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There is no doubt in our minds that Matt can accomplish anything he puts his mind too. And we cannot wait to see him pitch left-handed and smack a baseball out of the park at Hi Corbett field and beyond. BearDown Matt! Can’t thank you enough for sharing your story with all of us.