Iowa baseball’s Marcus Morgan settling in as one-sport athlete

After competing as a four-sport athlete at Iowa City West, freshman pitcher Marcus Morgan has adapted to only playing baseball.


Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen

Iowa pitcher Marcus Morgan poses for a photo during the Hawkeyes’ NCAA college baseball media day, Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022, at the University of Iowa Indoor Practice Facility in Iowa City, Iowa.

Chloe Peterson, Assistant Sports Editor

Before Iowa baseball freshman Marcus Morgan was the Hawkeyes’ Sunday starter, he was a four-sport athlete at Iowa City West High School.

Morgan was Iowa City West’s starting quarterback for three years. He is the Trojan’s career passing leader, accumulating 5,260 yards. As a baseball pitcher, he also holds a West High School record, with 294 career strikeouts. Additionally, Morgan qualified for the Drake Relays in the high jump as a track athlete.

He had Division I scholarship offers in basketball, baseball, and football to choose from in his senior season. Morgan held an in-state football offer from Iowa State, and a basketball offer from the University of Northern Iowa.

But the pitcher decided to pursue baseball at the University of Iowa. Now, he’s one of the Hawkeyes’ three starters, with South Dakota State transfer Adam Mazur filling the Friday spot and Butler transfer Connor Schultz starting on Saturday.

“It was something that was really easily pictured in my head,” Morgan said of his starting position. “It was one of my goals here and what I was gonna do here. To be thrown in that opportunity spot right away is a blessing.”

Morgan led the Iowa City West baseball team to a 22-15 record in the summer 2021 season. He paced the Trojans with 44 hits and 48 RBIs, while racking up a .396 batting average. He also topped the leaderboard with 108 strikeouts and accumulated a 1.48 ERA in his senior season.

The pitcher was also a touted prospect to enter the Major League Baseball system after high school. Although he wasn’t picked in the 20-round draft in June 2021, Morgan told Hawkeye Nation that he was at peace with MLB teams passing on him.

RELATED: Iowa baseball taps transfer Adam Mazur as Friday night starter

Morgan, a dual-threat player, was a pitcher and a center fielder in high school. But when he arrived at the University of Iowa in the fall, he decided to focus solely on pitching.

“I feel really good about Marcus and where he’s at and his ability to start for us,” head coach Rick Heller said at Iowa baseball media day on Feb. 10. “His stuff is great. And he’s, I think, really improved in his time here, which we all knew he would. He’s a multi-sport guy and this is his first time he’s really spent more than a few months on baseball. And the time he has spent has been well spent. He’s performing very well right now.”

With baseball now the only sport on his mind, Morgan had time during fall camp to improve his craft.

Morgan started at the UI with a 90 mile per hour fastball. Heller said that his velocity has improved to 96-97 miles per hour, because Morgan fixed his efficiency on the pitch. Morgan has also improved the spin on his sliders and curveballs, Heller said.

“[I’ve grown] a tremendous amount,” Morgan said. “Just understanding how to move better with hand placement of all the little stuff. Majority just getting down the mound, taking care of your arm after, that whole process.”

Morgan said he also learns from Mazur and Schultz, veteran Division I baseball starters. Mazur was the No. 1 starter at South Dakota State for two years, and Schultz started two of his four seasons at Butler.

“He’s been, honestly, a lot of fun to watch,” Mazur said. “He’s really progressed day by day. And he’s taking up the mentality of not worrying about the next day, and just keeping his head to the ground, and just working. So, I feel like the sky’s the limit for him. He’s really in his first year of college baseball, and he’s already making a lot of noise. I’m excited to see the future for him.”

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