Morris officially signs deal, discusses mentors' new jobs

Clemson running Andre Ellington is eligible for the NFL draft, but offensive coordinator Chad Morris thinks the former Berkeley High star will return next season.

CLEMSON -- Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris said he signed his new contract on Monday, a six-year deal worth $1.3 million per season that will make him the nation's highest paid assistant after Gus Malzahn left Auburn to become the head coach at Arkansas State on Wednesday.

"I feel very honored," Morris said of his deal. "This university has made a huge commitment, obviously, and there were a lot of things going on and in the mix. But as far as what's been done here, it's a great time to be a Tiger … we don't want to go anywhere, we are completely happy with Clemson. My family is excited to be here."

Morris was asked about Malzahn's jump to Arkansas State. Morris said Malzahn wanted to be a head coach and was intrigued with a return to his home state.

Todd Graham, who Morris served under as offensive coordinator at Tulsa in 2010, also switched jobs Wednesday, taking the Arizona State head coaching job after a year at Pittsburgh.

Morris expects Ellington to return

Said Morris of former Berkeley High star Andre Ellington, who is eligible for the NFL draft: "I hope he comes back next year, and I feel like he will." Ellington is rated as the No. 9 running back in the 2013 NFL draft class by Ellington might be compelled to return for his senior season to prove he can stay healthy for a full season in order to improve his draft stock.

Should Allen stay or go?

Morris was asked if he would be surprised if tight end Dwayne Allen elected to return for his senior season in 2012.

"Would I be surprised? Absolutely not," Morris said. "It's not going to surprise me either way. From my selfish standpoint, I want him to come back because I know what kind of player he can be. I go back to the first meeting I had with him. He's sitting there and raised his hand asking 'Do you use a tight end and how much will I be used?' I said if you trust me, we'll make you the most versatile player in the country."

Allen won the John Mackey Award last week, presented to the nation's top tight end.

Run game key vs. West Virginia

Morris said West Virginia plays a base 3-3-5 defense and often rushes only three defenders while dropping eight into coverage, a sort of max coverage defense Clemson struggled against at South Carolina and Georgia Tech.

"They disguise a lot of things they do with the 3-3 stack look; they'll rush three and drop eight a lot," Morris said. "We have to be able to do some things; run the ball. They're not very big, but their linebackers are aggressive and run downhill."