Miller Moss Connects with Troy Aikman As Recruitment Approaches 'Crunch Time'
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.
What's going on guys?
Hope you guys are all doing well, staying sane and doing what you love to do to a certain extent. Hope you guys are all healthy.
We're just gonna go with a classic recruiting blog for today. I feel like a lot of these different nuanced things schools are doing are really interesting in terms of recruitment. I don't think they would have been able to come to fruition had COVID-19 not been a thing, so I think that is something that is unique that's come out of this.
I just want to go school by school and really get into the unique things that they've done to connect more and more while not being able to visit campuses.
First, I want to start with the two SEC schools. I guess we'll start with LSU. What LSU has done has been really interesting. They've gone on a weekly schedule of doing a Zoom. That Zoom includes the first part, for me and my family, and a campus tour and being able to speak with Coach O (Ed Orgeron). After that I'm able to sit down with Coach (Russ) Callaway and Coach (Steve) Ensminger and really talk ball. That's one of my favorite things to do with college coaches.
You get a good grasp if you could see yourself playing in that system. Just being able to talk protections, concepts and schemes and then watch that film. Watch Joe Burrow and the accuracy he plays with and that kind of stuff. See how your game stacks up against his and if you can see yourself playing that position, making those throws and playing in those games. There's definitely special things he's done and they're showing me the highlights, but he was really special in a lot of things. Being able to get an in-depth look at his season and what he was able to do and then realize and understand the method behind that has been interesting and I look forward to continuing to do that.
In terms of Alabama, obviously Coach (Nick) Saban speaks for himself. I've been talking with Coach Saban about every other week on FaceTime. He doesn't give his phone number out so I have to FaceTime another number [laughing], which has been interesting. The only way you can get his phone number is if you win a national award, so if you win the Maxwell or one of those you can. Tua (Tagovailoa) won the Maxwell, (Jerry) Jeudy won the Biletnikoff, so they had it. I don't believe anyone on the current team has it...when you're Nick Saban, you get to do those kind of things.
The most interesting thing about speaking with Nick Saban is just how psychologically adept he is. You're talking to him and it's unlike talking to any other coach because you feel like you're being tested and analyzed in how you answer every single question. It's honestly intellectually stimulating to have a conversation with him and I think that's something you don't get with any other coach.
The flip side of that, the other main part of my recruitment at Alabama is Coach Sark (Steve Sarkisian). Similar to what I've been able to do with Coach Ensminger, me and Coach Sark are able to get on Zoom, where he can share his screen with me and we've been able to talk ball. Obviously watching Tua, who is so special, and watching those four potential first round wide receivers the past two years has been phenomenal. I think, like I said before, it's a really unique experience. Not only do you get to see these guys work and these guys play at an in-depth level, you get to see how you feel your game stacks up against them. And you get to see what goes into and what is behind the success that they have.
In terms of the West Coast schools, USC, I've been talking with Coach (Clay) Helton on FaceTime pretty much on a weekly basis. Every Wednesday we get on the phone and just talk about different stuff, life, stuff like that. I've been getting on group FaceTimes with the whole staff. Obviously Gavin (Morris) and Coach Donte (Williams), who is actually the DB coach but we get along really, really well. He's a big L.A. guy so we can bond in that sense. They've done a great job. They have one of the most in-depth coaching staffs and continue to reach out to me. They've been really really good in that respect.
Kind of the big one to tie into recruiting this week is UCLA. They gave me the opportunity to get on the phone with Troy Aikman this morning. That's kind of why I wanted to delay the blog until today. Just because I wanted to have the opportunity to share this experience with you guys. I think this was a really unique thing. Obviously Troy played at UCLA after transferring from Oklahoma and he was originally born in L.A.
We were able to bond on a bunch of different levels. Obviously the love of playing quarterback, but just a lot of geographical things and love for the game, stuff like that. He prefaced the conversation like a normal guy, 'hi, how you doing,' stuff like that, which is interesting to me. As a kid and even now, every Sunday you turn the TV to channel 11 and it's Troy Aikman broadcasting the football games. He's a face that growing up watching football that you see every week.
It's a similar effect to when you talk to Coach Saban for the first time. You're like, 'wow! I'm talking to this guy?' And then you go back and look at all the amazing things he did, not only at UCLA when they were number one at a time and then obviously what he was able to do with the Cowboys with Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin, Jimmy Johnson and all that. They won three Super Bowls and obviously he's a Hall of Fame quarterback, so me having those aspirations and wanting to do those things and having the ability to talk to a guy like Troy Aikman was surreal.
He was such a down-to-earth guy, you would never know that he's accomplished what he has accomplished. He's been so successful, one of the most notable quarterbacks in NFL history. We got into the UCLA recruitment and why he felt like UCLA would be a good spot for me. He was able to tell me things about his relationship with Coach (Chip) Kelly and why he felt like that would be a great person for me to learn the game from and how that translates into the NFL.
He definitely gave me a perspective on UCLA that I hadn't had before. I wouldn't say changed my mind, in terms of my recruitment, but he definitely added what I would say is more complication to an already-tough decision. It's weird that I have Troy Aikman's number in my phone. He was a really cool dude, actually. He moved out to Oklahoma later on. He was born and raised in L.A., his name was Troy and he grew up a USC fan and ended up being one of the best UCLA quarterbacks ever, which was kind of ironic. I asked him what it was like going to UCLA growing up a USC fan, which is a hypothetical situation for me. It's not really a secret, I grew up rooting for Pete Carroll's teams. It was kind of hard not to, being an L.A. kid. That was another unique perspective he could provide.
Just to conclude, wanted to give you guys a window into how this past week has been with me in terms of recruitment. It's definitely getting towards crunch time and all four schools are making a pretty strong push.
It should be interesting to see how it unwinds in the coming weeks. I know I'm excited and I hope you guys are excited and following this story.
I really appreciate all your support through all of this and I hope you're healthy, doing well and continuing to be happy in these strange times.
Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there, and to all the sons and daughters, give your mom a big hug today. I know my mom does so much for me and I'm sure the same goes for you guys as well.
*Photos courtesy of Miller Moss