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Commitment, work ethic bring freshman cornerback Benjamin Morrison to prominence

Freshman cornerback Benjamin Morrison has already begun to make a name for himself in the Notre Dame football program. The newcomer has played in all five games this season, boasting seven tackles to his name already, and has secured a spot at the top of the Irish depth chart. 

Morrison joins the ranks of senior Cam Hart and graduate student TaRiq Bracy in the position group. While he was not present for spring ball, he was an immediate standout during fall camp. This came from both his natural affinity for the game, as well as his commitment to learning and improving. 

“Ben Morrison is a guy that understands college football, the technical side of it,” head coach Marcus Freeman said. “He’s blessed with God-given ability, but mentally he understands what it takes to have success at this level.”

For Morrison, a large part of understanding the game comes with slowing it down. The fast-paced nature of college football is something the cornerback had to get used to upon getting to campus, and he said that the key to being successful in that kind of an environment is putting in the work.

A lot of this work for Morrison translates into the film room, which he frequents often. Watching the film, he said, is how a player can develop into a playmaker on the field.

“It really is mental. You hear about these freak athletes but you don’t hear how much time they put in to study for the game,” Morrison said. “The reason why they’re able to make those plays is because how much they study… you gotta be in the film room to make plays.”

Work undoubtedly occurs on the field as well, both in practice and in a game setting. Morrison mentioned knowing when to look back has been a key factor in his game, and this helps him to see the bigger picture in front of him.

“Being able to see not just what you’re looking at but ultimately what’s going on around you… that’s when the game kind of slows down,” he said.

For a freshman, Morrison has gained a lot of experience in Irish uniform. He said that because he is young, he has a lot of room to improve, but that he is excited for that process. He said the moment where things start to click will reaffirm that he is doing something right; this moment may come sooner than he thought as he has become a dynamic force on the field for the Irish.

However, Morrison notes that it is not a one-man job on the field; no matter how much work he puts in, he cannot do it all himself. He has several experienced defenders who are his brothers-in-arms, and he said they have been helping him in his debut season. 

“I feel like every single star on the back seven has given me really good advice,” he said. “Their biggest thing is ‘have confidence in yourself’ because, ultimately, when you lose confidence in yourself, that’s when you can’t play this game of football. So you have [the] utmost confidence in your game.”

Morrison also mentioned that specifically graduate transfer safety Brandon Joseph — another vital component of Notre Dame’s roster — has given him advice that he has carried with him.

“You gotta believe that you’re the best player no matter what,” Morrison said, quoting his teammate. “If something bad happens, something good happens, you’re the best player.”

In the end, it all comes back to work ethic in order to be this “best player.” For Morrison, preparing and completing the grunt work is instrumental in playing well on game day, and it is this commitment that will hopefully carry him through the rest of the season.

“You’ve really got to put [in] the time. It will show if you don’t,” he said. “I really gotta look into this in-depth and realize what the other key players are doing within the defense because that will ultimately help me, knowing where my help’s at.”

Contact Emily DeFazio at edefazio@nd.edu.