QB Recruit Miller Moss Opens Up on Pressure as Coveted Prospect, Cutting List to Four
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.
First and foremost I want to say I hope everyone is doing well and is healthy, feeling good and staying sane as much as they can.
Last week, I kind of got into a story about how my career started but this time I wanted to focus on the present and what my reality has come to and what it's like being a recruit that's highly sought after not only in these strange times, not only for recruitment and college football, but for the world as a whole.
A lot of people know me for what I've accomplished on the field. Some know through my Twitter profile or my Instagram, or whatever it may be. But I think something that's lost, and I think I speak for a lot of my peers, is that we're 16, 17, 18 year-old kids.
Yes we have this presence online, yes we are written about, talked about, interviewed and all that stuff. But we're still teenage kids at the end of the day. What a lot of people don't realize is that we still wanna to hang out with our friends, we still wanna to go to In-N-Out Burger, we still wanna to go to the beach and hang out with our girlfriends and all of that kind of stuff.
That's something that has somewhat taken a toll on me in the time that we haven't been able to do those things. I think for a while I kind of tried to say, 'yes you're so lucky to be in this situation.' But at the same time I had to realize it was difficult for me in my reality and that is enough to say, 'this is hard for you, you need to do something about it.'
That's something not talked about or focused on, especially in this world of recruitment and college football. These past few weeks, I've been going a little stir crazy. Like I said I'm lucky enough to be able to still work out, and my family has a house in Palm Springs, so I'm just out here alone right now.
I'm playing golf and doing my school work.
I think me prioritizing myself as a person in this situation, not so much as an athlete, has really helped me. This week has been great for me. Obviously I'm still working out but I've kind of just disconnected from that whole world of social media, loud music and noises in L.A. I'm just out here every day, sitting outside, not being on my phone and I think that's really benefited me in just being really happy and finding peace in crazy times like this.
We, as athletes or highly-recruited people or those constantly in the media should take time for ourseleves.
The noise does get to you sometimes. It does become a lot. Especially for teenage kids. It's something that I've realized and it's really benefited me. I'm excited to go home in the next couple days but I'm definitely having a great time out here.
I highly recommend, for any of you experiencing the same things as me, to really take time for yourself and prioritize yourself. Not only in terms of what your occupation is or what you feel you need to do, but as a person. I think that's something that's really really helped me.
Like I was on my phone 10 hours one day and I was like, 'this is ridiculous.' I was not happy and I'm usually a really happy dude. Like I love life in general and I was telling my girlfriend that I'm just not used to feeling like this. That's when I realized I needed to distance myself from everything and take a step back.
It's helped me so much.
Releasing the top schools was kind of the catalyst for the focus. I thought it would just help me out a lot, to really focus on schools that I wanted to go to and that I saw myself at.
It did bring a lot of attention, which I expected but not to the extent it ended up happening [laughing]. That's probably a good problem to have and I don't mean to sound ungrateful for the opportunities that I have. But that was something that pushed me to take a step back...and I could take some time to focus on me.
I reached out to schools that I had been in communication with often that did not make the list. I was up front with them, just thanked them for the opportunity. This is the part of recruitment that's not fun. Having to tell someone, especially that you feel is a great guy that you've built a relationship with, it's hard to tell them, 'no, I'm not going to be coming to your school.' And unfortunately, three of the four schools that I'm down to, I'm going to have to say a similar thing to.
I thanked them for investing their time and money into me and my family. Building a relationship, flying four or five hours to come see me at my school. I think a lot of those guys do a great job. There's a lot that goes into recruiting kids. I've tried to really end on a high note with a lot of those schools and I hope that wasn't lost on them. I hope there's no ill will towards any school that I was recruited by.
In terms of the schools I did choose I think it came down to a certain comfort level in me saying, 'yes I will attend one of these four schools.' I think they've done the best job recruiting me. It's not to discount any schools' effort, and I had a different comfort level in different ways with different schools, but I could really look at those four and end up there. That's what it really came down to for me.
I was also getting a lot of outside noise, just from people and schools that I didn't have a lot of interest in. Out of respect for them and also out of respect for my time, I decided that this was the most prudent thing to do.
[Related: An Introduction to the Miller Moss Blog]
I think this group can be looked at in a lot of different ways. One way it can be viewed is that, if I'm going to leave home and travel across the country, I'm going to do it for the best possible opportunity I can get. I think you see that with those two schools (LSU, Alabama). I think they provide a really unique opportunity and platform to develop yourself as a player and play in the biggest games across the country. Just looking at those schools as a fan, and not from my perspective, that's something that jumps out to me.
I would say there are unique things about each school. The fact that two L.A. schools ended up making the cut, is somewhat coincidence. Those just happened to be the schools I felt most comfortable with, out west. Obviously I'm an L.A. kid and have been here my entire life, but that was not a preconceived notion of mine. It wasn't stay in L.A. or go to the SEC, that's just kind of how it turned out.
LSU is the one of the four that I haven't visited campus, which is somewhat problematic for me in comparing and contrasting certain things from a school. Being on campus is an invaluable experience because you can really see whether or not you can see yourself there. With that being said, and most people don't know this, but they've been recruiting me the longest out of all the schools. They were my first really really significant offer and they've recruited me ever since.
I have a great relationship with the staff and have really built up a great relationship with Coach O (Ed Orgeron) over the past few months. He obviously has southern California ties from his time at USC and we've really built a relationships off that. The fact that I can sit with him and talk about things other than football really speaks to him as a person and a coach. Him as well as Coach (Steve) Ensminger have spearheaded my recruitment there and I couldn't be more thankful for them or the time that they've invested in me and my family.
I got to spend time at Alabama last year, over the summer. I got to sit down with Coach (Nick) Saban and I think every time I get to speak to Coach Saban I leave somewhat in awe. There is still that certain, 'oh wow I'm talking to Coach Saban' just because he's that face you see on TV and then you hear his voice. In talking to him you see why he's been so successful. He initiates best practices in his program and that goes beyond football in terms of character of his players, how driven they are.
The second part to my recruitment at Alabama is Coach Sark (Steve Sarkisian). Coach Sark has built a great relationship with me and my family over the last year or so. He's obviously another southern California guy, similar to Coach O, who I've built a really strong relationship with. We talk about everything. His kids go to Mater Dei so obviously he's really familiar with what it's like to be a southern California kid and what it's like to go to Tuscaloosa. I think he's provided a lot of insight to me and he's a huge reason why theyr'e still in the mix for me. He's awesome.
UCLA has done a great job recruiting me. They've made me feel like a priority not only on the offensive side of the ball, but the program as a whole. They've presented an opportunity for me to be the catalyst that turns the program around. I think Chip Kelly will undoubtedly prepare me for the next level because he's been there, he's seen that, he's coached in the NFL and he's adapted that NFL passing game.
That whole staff, offensive staff through recruitment and guys on the defensive staff, have all been great in asking me in what I wanted and letting me control my process with them. It provides a really unique opportunity to turn a program around in the city that is where I'm from.
SC, I think growing up in the time that I did, watching Pete Carroll and really everyone from John David Booty to Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley, all those guys -- those were the ones I watched growing up. (Matt) Leinert was a little bit before I started following it but it's hard to not be partial as a quarterback growing up in L.A. You grow up seeing what a great USC football team an do in the city of Los Angeles. You relish that opportunity, playing The Coliseum, one of the most historic stadiums ever.
Also being able to play for a guy like Coach (Clay) Helton and Graham Harrell. Two guys that I've probably built my strongest relationships with. I think they're great people and I think that goes beyond football. It's a unique opportunity and I couldn't be more excited about what's going on at SC right now.
I'll be watching the NFL Draft. I'm kind of curious to see what happens with Tua (Tagovailoa) and whether the injuries he's had will impact him or his draft stock. I think (Joe) Burrow is pretty consensus No. 1. If (Jake) Fromm goes to the Patriots I think that is a really, really good fit for him just because of how cerebral he is.
Just to conclude, I hope you are all safe and healthy and I look forward to catching up with you all next week.