For former NFL athlete Joshua Morgan, his first time having cable, a shower, and sleeping in a bed of his own, was when he attended college. Morgan’s whole life was spent working towards this. For Morgan, football was not just an extracurricular, football was his way out. Morgan’s story starts in Washington, DC when he was the age of 5, and realized that football was going to give him a new life.
Morgan grew up playing both football and basketball competitively, but at a young age he gave up basketball to pursue football more seriously. Morgan’s ultimate goal was to be the first athlete to play in the NFL and the NBA which still to this day hasn’t been done.
“Growing up my grandmother encouraged me to be more serious, she pointed out that it was my God-given talent. I thought I was going to the NBA but at that time I didn’t know NBA players under 6’3 tall, although I had been playing AAU basketball and basketball for my school since the time I was 5 years old I chose to give up my dreams of making it to the NBA and focus on football. I scored 3 touchdowns the first time I stepped on a football field and it was only up from there,” said Morgan.
Throughout his young career, Morgan excelled at his sport and saw the potential future he could have through football. Morgan gained an abundance of division one football offers, and if it weren’t for these scholarships Morgan would have never been able to afford or attend college. A big decision Morgan had to make was whether he would attend a Historically Black College or University, or one of the major division one schools that had offered him at the time, being predominantly white. Morgan’s delayed decision led him to attend Fork Union Military Academy, a prep school, spending some time there before he went to Virginia Tech.
“All I ever wanted to do was go to an HBCU. That’s what messed up my recruiting and part of the reason I had to go to Fork Union because I took too long deciding if I’d go to an HBCU or Major D1. At that time I didn’t know anyone that had made it to the NFL from an HBCU other than quarterbacks like Steve McNair (Alcorn State) or Doug Williams (Grambling University). I was a Wide Receiver so I played it safe. If I knew what I know now I would’ve definitely gone to an HBCU and brought top athletes with me creating a whole movement and shift in culture and the economic system,” said Morgan.
Choosing between an HBCU and Major D1 schools is an issue a lot of standout athletes face, especially in light of all the racial injustices and discrimination the black community is facing. It has become more popular for top athletes in current recruiting classes have added HBCUs to their list or even chose to attend one. Morgan always wanted to attend an HBCU and if given the chance now his college career may have gone differently.
“If I was in school now I’d definitely go to an HBCU and take all the other top athletes I knew with me! Deion Sanders just got the Head Coaching job at Jackson State University so mostly like if I was coming out now I’d be going there to make my dreams come true and continue my education. I would’ve pledged and everything if I knew what I know now,” said Morgan.
Luckily for Morgan, attending Fork Union before attending Virginia Tech made Morgan’s transition a lot smoother.
“Virginia Tech was a smooth transition for me because Fork Union prepared me for the culture shock. Before Fork Union I had no Caucasian classmates, teachers, principals, or anything my whole school career in elementary-high school… it was really when Washington, D.C. was ’Chocolate City’,” said Morgan.
During his career at Virginia Tech, Morgan, had a total of 1,817 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns.
Reaching the highest level of competition, in 2008 Joshua Morgan was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers where he played with several athletes from DC such as Vernon Davis, Madieu Williams, NaVarro Bowman, and Ahmad Brooks. Morgan then left San Francisco and returned to his home town to accompany his sick grandmother and compete for the Washington National football team.
“My grandmother was the most important person in the world to me so it was very important to spend her last days with her. It was a blessing to win the Division Championship with The Washington Football Team in 2012. I thought we were going to the Super Bowl but injuries happened. I left the Washington Football Team in 2014 to go play for the Chicago Bears & after that, I went to the New Orleans Saints where my career ended,” said Morgan.
The encouraging words from Morgan’s grandmother that jump-started his career also brought this athlete back home. Morgan acquired accolades athletically and academically throughout his whole career and now dedicates his time to giving back to the youth; specifically young African-Americans.
“I use my platform to be the person that I needed growing up for the youth. I use my platform to stand up for everything I believe in. I use my platform to make my community a better place with endless hours of philanthropy work and dedication. I use my platform to be the voice of the people that can’t speak up and stand up for themselves! I use my platform at all times, to tell the truth, no matter what, and make my ancestors proud so none of their work and sacrifices are in vain,” said Morgan.