Germany’s Braunschweig New Yorker Lions sign DB Nathaniel Morris

The Braunschweig New Yorker Lions have bolstered the strength of their already tough defensive secondary in signing Nathaniel Morris, one of the best pass defenders in the German Football League.

The 5’10”, 185 lb Morris (25), a native of Boston, Massachusetts, holds a Portuguese passport and comes to the Lions after spending the 2016 season with the Frankfurt Galaxy where he led the league in passes defended (27) which included 20 pass breakups and seven interceptions.. With Morris in the secondary, Frankfurt was one of the top two teams in Germany against the pass. He helped the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns reach the German final in 2015.

Morris played college football for Stonehill College (NCAA, Div II) in Easton, Massachusetts. He finished his career with 119 tackles, 10 interceptions and three touchdowns. He was named to the All Northeast 10 Conference All Star Team twice and was invited to play in the National Bowl All College All Star Game, for Division II players.

American Football International asked Nate about his years playing in Europe and the move to the New Yorker Lions.

American Football International: What season will this be for you in Europe?

Nathaniel Morris: This will be my 3rd season, Unicorns, Universe now Lions.

AFI: How did you some to sign with the Lions?

Morris: I came to sign with the Lions after getting in contact with coach Tomlin. We established a good relationship that took time and patience and ended up working out in the best interest for both of us.

AFI: Why make the move from Frankfurt to Braunschweig?

Morris: The decision to go from Frankfurt to Braunschweig came a few months after the season ended. I always want to play for the best with the best. The New Yorker Lions are that organization. My first year I faced the Lions twice in a Big 6 Final and German Bowl final and lost both. I knew then and there that’s the powerhouse team of Europe and I wanted to establish myself as a player for the chance play for them one day. After 2 years of getting to know the GFL and working hard on and off the field I finally inquired with some players and staff with the Lions this off season and the rest is history.

AFI: Can you give us a few sentences on your American football background? Where you went to school, how you came to play in Europe.. etc.?

Morris: I started playing Pop Warner football when I was 8 years old. Then moved on to high school football in Rhode Island where I played 4 years as varsity starter. I played QB, RB, WR, S, OLB and everywhere on special teams I did whatever I could to help the team. After high school I did a prep year down in Chatham Virginia at Hargrave Military Academy, where I played with Martavis Bryant, Corey Crawford, Doug Williams Jr just to name a few and we won a Prep school national championship. Following that season I was able to earn a scholarship to play division 2 football at Stonehill College which is located in Easton Ma, about 20 minutes outside of Boston. At Stonehill, my class had the first conference championship and most winningest record in program history, we really rewrote a lot of he record books there as a team. After I finished college football I wanted to continue playing, I knew of a few guys who had played overseas and I gathered as much info as possible, talking to former and current players from Europe. I made a Europlayers profile, and Jordan Neuman contacted me and once he did he sold me on the Unicorns and it was one of the best decisions I ever made to play for him and that program. It’s now enabled me to continue my career which I am very lucky to be doing.

AFI: What do you think you bring to the championship team in 2017?

Morris: I think I bring some new fresh energy, and a relentless competitive attitude. I’m just excited to be apart of the organization and learn a lot from the coaches and my new teammates.
Do you have any 2017 predictions? How do you think the 2017 season is going to shake out? Can Frankfurt or others challenge the Lions this season?

Football is a tough game to predict, especially in Europe, with new players and coaches always shuffling around it’s hard to say. But I know we will take it one game at a time week by week and play like a championship team. If we do those things then we should be where every team wants to be at the end of the season, and that’s in the final.

I think everyone in the GFL poses a challenge, all of the organizations that make the playoffs are very sound and we have to be prepared to play tough week in and week out. The GFL as a whole has stepped up its level of play every season since I’ve been out there, so each team will bring a new set of challenges in game day. We just have to show up every practice and work, then bring our best on game day. I’m looking forward to wearing that Lions jersey with pride.

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John McKeon is a former professional and collegiate American Football player and coach now living and working in New York. His goal is to spread news, information, and opinion on the global growth of the sport he loves.