SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Shane Morris sat out most of his senior season in high school and spent a good portion of his first in college watching games from the sideline.
After two years of mostly idling, the big-armed quarterback will be thrust into a spotlight unlike any he's seen before: as Michigan's starter against Kansas State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl on Saturday.
"Just getting back to football after sitting out has been crazy and now to start in a bowl game is pretty amazing," Morris said Thursday.
Morris spent his first season in Ann Arbor as Devin Gardner's backup, getting mop-up duty in three games.
Gardner sustained a turf toe injury in Michigan's regular-season finale against Ohio State and suffered a setback last week, showing up in the desert wearing a protective boot.
Michigan coach Brady Hoke said Gardner would have to practice by Wednesday to play in the bowl game and wasn't able to go, opening the door for Morris.
"Obviously, we recruited him at Michigan to be the quarterback at Michigan," Hoke said. "This is a great opportunity. We have a lot of faith in how he goes about his business getting ready to play."
As a senior at De La Salle High School in Warren, Mich., Morris was limited to four games after a bout of mononucleosis sent him to the hospital for a week.
Despite his limited action as a senior, Morris was considered one of the nation's best pro-style quarterbacks and drew interest from some of the top programs around the country.
There was little doubt where he'd go.
Morris grew up in Michigan, came from a family of Wolverines fans and has baby pictures of himself in Michigan's maize and blue.
"It's been my dream since I was a little kid to start as quarterback for the University of Michigan," Morris said. "It's a huge bowl game. I'm excited."