Antonio Morales (The Athletic) — LOS ANGELES — The year 2021 is pretty far away to the average person. In the world of quarterback recruiting, it’s not that far at all.
As a matter of fact, more than half of the top 15 quarterbacks in the 2021 cycle (per the 247Sports Composite) have already committed. One of the seven who hasn’t is four-star Bishop Alemany (Mission Hills, Calif.) quarterback Miller Moss.
Moss is rated as the No. 8 pro-style quarterback by 247 and is listed as the No. 11 quarterback overall. On July 31, Moss released his top seven schools, a list that included Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, Yale, Cal, UCLA and USC.
When speaking with The Athletic last month, Moss said USC is “definitely going to be a place of interest to me down the line.” Last week, he took an unofficial visit to USC. He has also visited UCLA a couple of times since the spring and visited Alabama in June. Of the seven schools on his list, Alabama and Michigan currently have 2021 quarterbacks committed, and Yale is a long shot.
Last week, Moss provided updates on his announcement, the recruiting process and his opinions of USC.
Why did you want to release your top seven now?
For me, it was just a question of focus, where I was getting a lot of attention and noise from schools I wasn’t really interested in. I think it wasn’t fair to them to continue that relationship. For me, it helps me focus on the schools I want to look closely at.
Considering the schools you have listed on there, I’ll ask this kind of sarcastically, but kind of not: What would it take for you to go to Yale?
I mean, just growing up, academics have been huge in my family. Both of my parents went (to) Ivy League. So it was necessary for that to be in my top seven, whether I’d actually go there, I’m not sure. It was really in there because of the culture of my family and how I was raised.
What have your parents told you about the Ivy League?
I mean, they always say your backup plan is one of the greatest universities in the world. I’m in a pretty good situation. I know if I went there, I’d be set for life. But I also have my goals, first and foremost, return to football so those are going to come first for me. But I’m really grateful to have those opportunities in my back pocket.
How do those coaches approach recruiting you as opposed to the Power 5 programs?
I mean, Ivy League recruitment is typically different. It’s usually later on but Yale offered me my freshman year just because I had shown interest in them. Maybe they could foresee what was going to happen, I don’t know. Their recruitment was similar to other schools in terms of timeline. Obviously, they’re different with keeping in contact and things like that just because of their rules and restrictions, but it’s similar to some other schools.
Is there a common trait among the seven schools you listed?
I think every school’s unique in its own way, but I think there are three things that are very important to me that I try to find in every school, and the school I pick will end up having, will be the most predominant in those three categories. I think that’s football obviously. I’m making a decision for football, so that has to be No. 1 for me. No. 2 is just academically, a good school. As I said, growing up that was huge for me in my family and everything. And the third thing is culture, just being around people that are like me, not exactly from a socioeconomic standpoint but that are like me in we have similar goals we want to accomplish.
Which coaches do you have the best relationship with right now?
I really love Coach (Steve) Sark(isian) at Alabama, he’s great. I’m just really starting my relationship with Coach (Graham) Harrell at USC, but he’s been great. He’s a super down-to-earth guy. He’s really easy to talk to and everything. And then, Coach (Dana) Bible at UCLA, even though he’s a little more old-school. He’s definitely a great guy. Then Coach (Beau) Baldwin and Coach (Justin) Wilcox at Cal are great. I feel like I have solid relationships with coaches across the board.
I know QBs commit pretty early these days. Do you have a timeline planned out as of now?
I don’t. Those are the seven schools I want to focus on and when I’m 100 percent on one school, that’s when I’ll end up committing.
When did you know this is the seven?
Coming into this process, I had a pretty good idea of the type of school I wanted to go to. So it wasn’t super difficult for me. We saw how everything played out, how offers went out. I think these are the top seven I envisioned going into this, so it wasn’t hard to cut the list.
Last I spoke to you, USC had recently offered. What’s the communication been like since then?
Communication is limited with all schools just because of my age at this point. The conversations that I’ve been able to have with Coach Harrell as well as Coach Helton have been great, and nothing but positive.
There have been a lot of questions about USC. What are you looking for from them this season?
One thing I noticed is there’s a lot of negativity surrounding the program on the outside but when you’re in the program, you’re experiencing it from the inside, it’s a totally different mentality. I think that Coach Harrell’s offense is bound to succeed, and with the weapons USC has at receiver, they could surprise a bunch of people.
What appeals to you about those out-of-state schools that you listed?
I mean with the two SEC schools, I think that’s just the best football in America. I don’t even think that’s a question. It’s two of the top teams in the nation. As a football player wanting to be the best football player you can possibly be, those are schools you have to consider.
Michigan, it’s just a similar thing. Super high-level football but also super high-level academic school. They have Ross Business School, which I think is the No. 3 business school in the world (it’s currently No. 4 among undergraduate programs, per the U.S. News & World Report), which is just super appealing for what I’m looking for in a school.
What was it like, as a California native, to visit the South?
I mean, that was my first time in the South really. It was great. It feels different. The culture’s definitely different down there. It’s football, football, football. In LA, you have six professional teams, you have Hollywood and all that stuff. You live in Tuscaloosa, you have Alabama football. I think that helps players stay focused. I think it works both ways. You see why they’re successful when you go down there.
For you, what’s been the most eye-opening part of the process?
I think the relationships I’ve been able to make across the country have been the most invaluable part. I’ve been lucky enough to be exposed to different cultures and people through my process, and I couldn’t be more grateful.
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