Final college visits were enough to sway West players to sign with Kansas, Navy
A few college visits the last weekend before National Signing Day were enough to get two Bentonville West soccer players to make up their minds.
Carson Morgan signed his national memorandum of understanding with Kansas, while Nick Bell signed with the United States Naval Academy – just days after the two players visited their respective campuses this weekend. They were part of five Wolverines who signed their letters on Wednesday, while a sixth player on the team – Braden Jones – signed with Central Arkansas in December.
Morgan, a second-team All-Conference running back for West, said he almost convinced himself to go to Missouri, but that all changed when Kansas got in the picture at the last moment. He will return to Kansas and enroll in summer classes in June, shortly after graduating from high school.
“Kansas called me Thursday and made an offer and they asked me to come over for a visit,” Morgan said. “They had scheduled an 8-hour meeting for me and my family on Friday and Saturday. I went there and the campus and facility was amazing.
“But what sold me in Kansas was the coaching staff because they made me feel wanted. They introduced me to every single coach, then showed me around campus and did a photo shoot. It was an amazing experience and after only four hours I went back to my father and said that there is something inside me that wants to be here. It just blew me away.”
Bell, an All-State cornerback who also played some wide receivers at West, said he was still considering offers from Princeton, Arkansas State and Kansas State in the days leading up to signing day. That all changed after his visit to the Navy and he will return to Annapolis, MD in June.
“It was an amazing experience,” Bell said. “It just blew my mind and I’m really ready to go back there and get to work. It’s great football over there at Navy. They will play Notre Dame in Ireland next season.
“I also chose Navy because it can guarantee me a future beyond football. I’ll get the best education while I’m there and I know I’ll have a good future ahead of me. All I have to do is hit the books hard and keep getting stronger and faster. I think I’m well prepared and willing to work hard.
Two other West players will continue to be teammates as Josh Buxton and Thomas Wilbanks signed with NAIA member Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan. Wilbanks, a safety, was recruited by Benedictine as a strong safety, winning the Heart South Conference and reaching the NAIA playoff quarterfinals, while Buxton again splits his time between cornerback, punter and possibly kicker.
Marcus Whitmore, meanwhile, chose the junior college route and signed with Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College. He played defensive end for the Wolverines but expects to move to a linebacker position next fall.