Antonio Morrison spent his senior season at Florida showing that a torn ACL — and an unthinkably swift recovery from it — did not sap him of his ability to play football and lead a defense. For that, and other reasons, the Indianapolis Colts grabbed him in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Morrison starred early in his Florida career, memorably crunching EJ Manuel to force a pivotal fumble in the Gators' 2012 win at Florida State as a true freshman. And after a so-so sophomore season — and a tumultuous offseason leading up to it — in a larger role, Morrison stepped up as a junior, becoming the Gators' leader and a possible early entrant in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Then Morrison tore the ACL in his left knee during Florida's bowl win over East Carolina, audibly writhing in pain on the ESPN broadcast, and that scuttled any possibility of heading to the pros. Instead, Morrison remained at Florida, and rehabbed like a demon with the intent of playing for the Gators in the fall.
And despite intense secrecy about the exact nature of his injury, and all the world believing that getting Morrison on the field at all would have been a major coup for him and Florida's rehabilitation staff, Morrison was actually available for the Gators' season opener, and played in all 14 games for Florida in 2015.
His return to the field after an ACL tear was swifter even than Adrian Peterson's legendary recovery, and while his play was not quite on par with Peterson's MVP-winning form, Morrison did lead Florida in tackles with 103, two more than the 101 he recorded in leading Florida in the same category in 2014.
Morrison will join former Gators Jonotthan Harrison and Earl Okine with the Colts. He'll be close to where he came from: Morrison grew up in a suburb of Chicago in Illinois.