Today is the first day college coaches are able to call players born in 1996 and to no surprise, Mason Morelli has received quite a bit of interest.
Fargo Force assistant and director of player personnel Jesse Davis said this afternoon numerous college coaches asked for Morelli’s phone number so they could gauge his interest.
“It’s all across the board,” Davis said about the geographic range of schools interested in Morelli. “We had a lot of schools at our camp and from all different areas and we also had close to 50 college coaches at our tryouts. There have been WCHA schools, guys from out East and everyone else trying to get a hand in there to see where he is leaning. Is he Ivy League? Will he come out east? Will he play in the Big Ten? That’s why today is big for the college level and now they’ve seen his talent level and they want to see if they can get him in school.”
Davis declined to name specific schools when he was asked if the University of North Dakota did enquirer about Morelli. He said “it wasn’t a hidden secret” there is interest in Morelli.
Morelli will feature in the team’s plans next year having made what was certainly one of the biggest jumps of any player prior to the USHL Futures Draft a few months ago.
The Minot, N.D. native was on the Force’s radar and the team appeared to be set to take him without what could have been much opposition. It is until Morelli messed up those plans by scoring a hat trick in the opening game at the futures combine.
It resulted in his stock increasing and on draft day, the Force traded up to No. 3 to get him.
At 16 years old, he played both high school and junior hockey last season further showing he could be able to handle the demands that come with junior hockey.
Morelli has previously said he would like to play at UND given his grandfather, Reg, scored the game-winning goal in the team’s 1959 title season over Michigan State in the national championship game. His father also played at UND.
Davis said Morelli is one of the many 1996-born Force players colleges have called about today.
One thing Davis has reminded his players is that for now, it is interest and there should be no rush to make a decision.
“We tell them it is not a sprint right now,” he said. “That it is more of a marathon and you have to finish high school and take your time with it.”
Davis cited current forward Dave Gust (Ohio State) as an example.
Gust exploded onto the scene last season following a mid-year call up and his 30-point season resulted in the Force having a No. 1 line which helped them reach the second round of the playoffs.
Gust was a commodity throughout the season but took his time and committed to Ohio State just a few weeks ago.
“We’ve told our kids to do their homework,” he said. “And if they could get some visits in, that’s even better. It is their choice, not anyone else’s.”