Miller Moss Blog: Life, Recruiting, and Coming Full-Circle

Miller Moss

Miller Moss is one of the top quarterback prospects in the 2021 class with scholarship offers from elite programs coast to coast. He has agreed to give Sports Illustrated exclusive access into his world by chronicling everything from his experiences leading up to a college commitment as a high profile recruit to his home life and preparation for his senior season.

To preface this week's entry I wanted to provide backstory as to why I decided to harp on this particular storyline and portion of my life in the early weeks of my time with SI. 

Before I go into entires about my current life, I want to paint a picture for all of you as to how I got to where I am today. I feel that often times when one looks back on a story or timeline, they don’t realize how influential or pivotal a certain time, moment, or decision can be. 

This was absolutely the case for me, and it came full circle around eight years after the fact.

From a really age young I played a bunch of sports. To others, not so much myself, it was evident that I had kind of a natural aptitude for throwing the ball. My dad is an architect in Southern California and I would go with him to his different business meetings sometimes. He ran an architecture school in downtown Los Angeles called SCI-Arc, and he was trying to purchase the land for the school. 

[Related: An Introduction to the Miller Moss Blog] 

There was a guy that he was going to do it with by the name of John Maddox. John Maddox had two sons that played football at Oaks Christian. For those of you who aren't Southern California football fans, Oaks Christian is, historically, one of the most successful high school football programs in the Southern Section. So John Maddox had two sons that went Division I from Oaks and both went to BYU, and he pulls up to this business meeting and my dad and I are playing catch in the parking lot. He sees me throwing the football and he's like, 'Hey, Eric, your kid can throw. You gotta go take him to see the Clausens.'

The Clausens were, at the time, coaching at Oaks Christian, where his two sons were. The older brother, Casey, played at Tennesse and then went on to play in a couple of mini-camps. He was in the league for a little bit, and he played at Alemany, where I go now. Rick, the middle brother, played at Taft and went on to play at LSU. The youngest brother, Jimmy, was a quarterback at Oaks-- like the number one quarterback in the country coming out of high school. He went to Notre Dame, committed on ESPN, and then was with the Carolina Panthers and a couple of other teams for a while. So that's kind of the family pedigree. 

So we go out in the middle of the week just to watch a practice at Oaks Christian (which is way out in Thousand Oaks), and then I throw with Casey for a little bit. At the time, Casey's youngest brother, Jimmy, was working with a guy named Steve Clarkson. He was kind of a name in quarterback training. I'm kind of oblivious to everything that's happening because I am seven-years-old! I'm like, "Alright, I'm gonna go play catch with this guy." 

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Steve Clarkson and a young Miller Moss (photo by Andrew Hetherington - The New Yorker)

And so I'm playing catch with this guy. I'm just throwing with him, so I don't know any better. He's talking to me and my dad after and he's like, "Is this who Jimmy works with?" And at the time, Jimmy was playing at Notre Dame and Nick Montana was the quarterback at Oaks Christian (Joe Montana's son).

Casey speaks to me and my dad after and says, "You gotta go work with Steve." So we get connected with Steve Clarkson through Casey and we meet him at Huntington Beach Middle School and I end up throwing for him. Once again, I'm not conscious that what I'm doing is irregular, which is so weird because to other people it's evident that this is not "normal."

And so Steve walks out on the field and he's talking to my dad. At the time, I was the youngest kid Steve ever took. So the crazy thing is I end up working with Steve from the age of seven for the next eight years, so until I was 15. 

This is when the story kinda comes full circle for me. 

So I'm fifteen-years-old, I play my first season of varsity football at Loyola High School. I'd been training with Steve since I was seven-years-old up until this point. So I'm 15, and the coach at Loyola leaves, so I need to find a new high school just because I wasn't a fit with the system with the guy coming in. By coincidence, the Clausen family is also moving to a new high school: Bishop Alemany. 

So Coach Casey ends up finding out that I'm leaving--and I hadn't seen Coach Clausen in 8 or 9 years--but he remembered being in touch with us and setting us up with Steve. He followed the relationship with me and Steve as we did a lot of things down the line together. So Coach Casey reaches out to my dad and we end up going out to Alemany for a meeting (which was about 30-45 minutes away from my house). 

I was sitting in the meeting with Coach Casey (who's my head coach now) and Coach Rick (who's the middle brother and offensive coordinator). I remember walking out of the meeting and being like, "Mom, Dad. This is too good of an opportunity for me to miss."

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Moss (center) and Casey Clausen (right) following a 2019 win over Oaks Christian (photo by Moss)

It was a crazy moment for me because it tied so many things back together, and so many things came full circle from when I was so young. It showed me how small decisions you can make can have such a big impact down the line. Now I've played for Coach Clausen for the last two years. I'm hoping to break some of his records this year because he went to Alemany. His name is up in the gym and all that. 

It was crazy to me how that small decision--me playing catch with my dad in the parking lot when I was seven-years-old making a business deal--led, ultimately, to where I was gonna go to high school and set the blueprint for me. It laid a really good path for me and my success not only in recruitment but success on the field.

I really wanted to start off with this story just because I feel like it shows the importance of every little decision I made. This is something that happened when I was seven-years-old that I was totally oblivious to, and it laid the path for me and my future and where I'm gonna end up and it'll have a great impact on where I end up going to college. 

Yes, there was a lot of talent but there were also a lot of happy accidents. I wouldn't say luck, but I would say that I'm really lucky to be in the position I'm in. I think it's funny how everything has worked out in the end. 

Recruitment news: I got to get on the phone with Coach (Nick) Saban this past week, which is always interesting. There's still kind of that "wow" factor with talking with someone like that just because he's a face you see and a voice you hear so much and you're like, "Oh, I'm interacting with this guy!" But you see, just in talking to him, why his program is so successful and why he's had the success he's had. He says a lot of interesting things not only about football but about life in general, so I love being able to get on the phone with Coach Saban. 

I've talked to Coach O (Ed Orgeron) a little bit in the past week, as well. We talked a lot about food (which was funny). He loves talking about In-N-Out Burger and post-game meals and said he was gonna make gumbo when we come out and see him so I'm excited for that! 

I've been in contact with Coach (Chip) Kelly and Coach (Clay) Hilton, as well. A pretty on-par week with recruitment, I would say. No drastic changes as of now.

The fact that I've been to three of the four schools--all except LSU--is hurting me a lot in terms of trying to compare these schools because it's hard to know if you can really see yourself there if you haven't physically been there. I'm trying to be as diligent as I can in research and all of that kinda stuff but I do really think that in-person experience is invaluable.

The unfortunate circumstance is that we don't know what's to come in these next few months. 

Coach O is always in the facility when I talk to him so he kinda shows me around. He'll walk out to his balcony right outside of his office and Tiger Stadium is right there so he'll end up flipping the camera and showing me that. 

Just to tie things off, I know there's a lot of uncertainty going around, not only in the recruitment and college football world but all over the world. I hope you guys are all staying safe and taking care of each other and hopefully we'll be returning to normal life sooner rather than later. 

Twitter: @millermoss7

Instagram: @miller_moss

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