Brothers, a career and fun are what Morgan sees in football
Dwanté Morgan still remembers the moment he realized he loved football and wanted to play competitively. He was in his second year playing U15 with the Chateauguay Raiders.
Morgan remembers winning his first championship that year with the Raiders, cementing his love for the game of football.
“It was my first championship in my life, I was so excited and so happy,” said the now 22-year-old running back. “I was with my friends and I was just like ‘I love football.’”
“That’s something I always loved. Because before my stepsiblings, I was an only child. So it’s like, I didn’t really have brothers or anything like that. So the camaraderie in football, the brother aspect, I loved it. To this day, I love it,” Morgan continued.
Knowing a lot of people grow up not having brothers or close bonds with friends, Morgan tries to be that person with new teammates, even though he doesn’t think he’s the most social guy. It’s how he meets people, or brothers — through football.
Stingers’ slotback Jaylan Greaves has played alongside Morgan on multiple occasions throughout civil football in Chateauguay.
“We were opposites,” Greaves said, thinking back to when they first met. “He was always quiet and I was always outgoing. But when he would step on the football field, his game always did the talking.”
“It’s always a blessing to play with your brothers and close friends but being able to reunite at the university level is definitely a special feeling,” Greaves added.
Now in his second year at Concordia, Morgan has been adjusting to the busy life of a student-athlete in Canada. As the Bronx native noted, it’s more challenging here than it is in the United States.
Between school, work, practice, meetings, and games, the culmination of it all adds up to a lot. Morgan also pointed out that the added responsibilities for students living on their own force them to become adults.
“I still live at home and I have siblings, so I gotta be a big brother,” he said. “Being a student-athlete grows you up.”
Morgan hasn’t had the easiest path either, battling injuries going back to his time at Vanier College and most recently this season at Concordia. But he looks forward to the rest of his time with the Stingers, and to the future beyond that.
“I play football because I have fun, but I don’t play for fun,” said Morgan. “That’s what I told [everybody] when I got here, ‘coming here I’m trying to get to the NFL.’ It’s a hard path, but it’s already been a hard path to get here. So why can’t I?”
Stingers’ head coach Brad Collinson said that, while recruiting him, the team was impressed with how versatile Morgan was: his running play as well as his contribution on special teams. Other than his skillsets on the field, Morgan’s energy also doesn’t go unnoticed by his teammates.
“Dwanté is a huge spark, leader, and vet to the team,” Greaves said. “A lot of people including myself admire his game and what he brings to our team.”
Collinson added that Morgan has developed a higher level of maturity during his tenure in Concordia’s football program.
“I think that he’s maturing, he takes coaching very well,” Collinson explained. “He wants to get better, he wants to be the best. He understands it’s a process. But we’re really happy with the way he’s matured throughout his two years here. We’re looking forward to the future as well, and he can only get better.”
Morgan was named RSEQ offensive player of the week after having 148 all-purpose yards and scoring a touchdown in the homecoming game against McGill. He was also one of the Stingers’ athletes of the week for that same period.
The Stingers’ #21 wears this number for a couple of reasons: his birthday, Jul. 3 (7×3) and the jersey number of his favourite player growing up — long-time San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson.
As much as he loves football, Morgan’s first love was actually basketball.
“But I’m 5’11 so I really didn’t have a choice,” he joked. “And I was nowhere near as good as I was at football so it was an obvious choice.”
Morgan first started playing football when he was seven years old, as an offensive tackle. It was only once he was nine that he started primarily playing running back, with a touch of defence.
He remembers watching his stepbrother — wide receiver Jahquan Bloomfield now at Prairie View A&M University in Texas — on TV initiating a trick play and scoring a touchdown. He recalls just how ecstatic his mother and stepfather were.
“I was like, ‘yo I want to be able to make them happy too,’” Morgan said. “I started going on jogs — what I would see in football movies, not even knowing any better — doing push-ups, doing squats. And then eventually I came back. I was nine. I was taller than everyone, I was bigger than everyone, I was faster than everyone.”
Morgan scored a touchdown on his first-ever play as a running back. And he has stuck with it since.