Hey, y’all, let’s take a journey to the land of Joseph Smith where we will meet one of the nation’s best running backs, Zack Moss, the 5-foot-10, 222-pound senior from the University of Utah.
Despite missing a game with a minor injury, this dude had 1733 yards from scrimmage in 2019 to go along with 17 total touchdowns. He had eight 100-yard rushing games, went over 200 once, averaged a very nice 6.2 yards per carry, and will get to add to these numbers against Texas in the Alamo Bowl. (Edit 1/7: Moss gained 71 yards from scrimmage in the bowl game, leaving him with 1804 on the season.)
Moss’s story begins in Hialeah Gardens, Florida where he originally committed to play for the Miami Hurricanes before switching up and taking his talents west to Utah. He went from three-star athlete coming out of high school to become the 2019 Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year. Along the way, Moss collected three consecutive 1000-yard rushing seasons from 2017 to 2019 and over 4600 yards from scrimmage.
In 2018, Moss suffered a knee injury which required surgery and prematurely ended his season after nine games. Before the injury he averaged 122 yards per game on the ground.
In 2019, Moss came back better than ever to put up his best collegiate season, which has sent him shooting up draft boards and rankings lists, mine included. Moss sat at 13th for me among running backs before I began the research and film study for this piece. He now sits at number six.
On film, I see a creative, punishing runner with prototypical NFL size who keeps his legs moving and does not get taken down easily. His vision is really good, he displays patience as a runner, gains a ton of yards after contact, and has a very nice spin move to break out of would-be tackles.
For a guy his size, Moss has a good amount of shake and bake to his game, too. He has excellent footwork and a knack for sticking his foot in the ground and changing directions on a dime to fake out defenders. He then has the power to lower his shoulders and run through tackles. Ball security is not a problem either, as Moss has only lost two fumbles in the last two years combined.
My biggest knock against Moss was that I had this notion he was slow, like 4.7 in the 40 slow. Living here in the Eastern time zone, I don’t get to watch a lot of Pac-12 football, and I had only seen Moss play once or twice. After studying Moss’s film, I can confidently say that while Moss isn’t a 4.4 runner, but he’s definitely not the 4.7 I had originally believed he was. If I had to guess he’s somewhere in the 4.55-4.6 range.
He’s also a good receiver out of the backfield, as evidenced by his 64 career receptions, and is a good blocker. These traits lead me to believe Moss has the skillset necessary to be a three-down feature back in the NFL.
And in speaking of receiving talent, Zack Moss has ties to the NFL as the cousin of former Pro Bowl receiver Santana Moss and former second-round pick at receiver, Sinorice Moss. Santana Moss played for the New York Jets and Washington Redskins over a 14-year career which saw him nab 732 passes for over 10,000 yards. Pro-level talent runs in the family.
Something else I like about Moss is that he wasn’t run ragged in college. He has less than 700 rushing attempts spread out over four seasons as of the time I’m writing this. Also, while he has dealt with some injuries in his career, he has not missed a lot of time due to them.
On top of all of this, Zack Moss is a humble, hardworking, very likable player and I am really rooting for him to be great at the next level. I have a late-second to early-third-round grade on him for the NFL Draft but would spend an early-to-mid-second round pick on him in rookie drafts. This could go up based on his landing spot. For example, if Kansas City were to draft Moss, he’d be a no-brainer first-round pick in my book.
And that’s all for me here. Be sure to give me a follow on Twitter @thedevydirtbag!
For more information on Zack Moss, click HERE.