Our team at Hawkeye Heaven is writing a series of articles where we highlight each of the 22 commitments Iowa received in the 2018 class. We’ll share each recruit’s highlights, and do our best to mention what jumps out at us about each player on tape. Then we will predict what kind of an impact we think they will make in a Hawkeye uniform. Next up is defensive back Riley Moss!
Our team at Hawkeye Heaven has been dividing the workload on these Recruit Recon articles. Earlier this week when the decision was made as to which guys we’d be featuring I quickly volunteered to cover incoming defensive back recruit Riley Moss out of Ankeny, Iowa.
Moss is a 6’1 181 lb. defensive back recruit who played his high school ball for the Ankeny Centennial Jaguars. Moss had originally accepted a scholarship offer to play football at North Dakota State, but he decommitted from the Bison after receiving a greyshirt opportunity from the University of Iowa. Besides North Dakota State he also had offers from South Dakota State, Northern Illinois, and North Dakota.
I was lucky enough to Coach Riley Moss at Ankeny Centennial his Freshman year (which is why I felt it was appropriate for me to handle this one). At that time, like many freshmen, Moss was undersized and hadn’t quite grown into his body, but his potential was obvious. He lead the team in interceptions that year in what turned out to be an undefeated season for us.
Go Hawks! pic.twitter.com/Hvyt…
— Riley Moss (@R_moss5) December 3, 2017
It has been several years since I coached Riley, but I know he is a speedster with terrific athletic ability. My biggest takeaway after watching his film is simply how much he’s grown as a football player. It was always obvious that he was a hell of an athlete, but I can tell by watching his film that his football intelligence grew significantly. This should come as no surprise. The Ankeny Centennial football program is loaded with veteran coaches who have had multiple opportunities to coach elsewhere, but have stayed loyal to Coach Pezzetti.
Riley’s ability to make plays both on the defensive side of the ball as well as special teams will go a long way when he gets to Iowa City. He’ll need to pack on some muscle as he’s definitely undersized, but it was obvious when watching his film that he has a lot of natural ability. Iowa isn’t known for having an elite level of high school football, but at Centennial Moss played in a tough 4A district where his team consistently battled with Valley and Dowling on a consistent basis.That’s the toughest competition that Iowa has to offer.
Moss will be entering the Iowa program as a greyshirt, which means he’ll have to pay for his way his first year and will have an opportunity to earn a scholarship the following season.
Iowa is stockpiling a ton of talent in the defensive backfield so it will be a steep hill to climb for Moss to earn a starting role as a Hawkeye. Iowa doesn’t recruit based on the number of stars a kid has. They recruit football players, and that’s exactly what Riley Moss is. It’s highly unlikely that he will see the field early in his career, but it’s kids like this who come into a program like Iowa with a chip on their shoulder and end up proving people wrong.
I know personally that Centennial’s head coach, Jerry Pezzetti, is as good as it gets at the high school level. Moss had a chance to learn from one of the best for four years already. He’ll be ahead of the curve in terms of football intelligence and work ethic. He’ll need to get after it in the weight room and adjust to opponents who are much better than what he’s used to. That adjustment will take some time, but it wouldn’t surprise me one bit to see Riley making plays on special teams by his sophomore or junior season and potentially earning himself a chance to be a starter as a junior or senior.
Welcome to the Hawkeye family Riley!