Friday, February 20, 2009

Google surveys the signees: Clint Moseley

Because someone needs to do the work of plugging in a given Auburn signee's name into Google and synthesizing the tidbits of information that trickle out. Previous entries in this series here.

If Spencer "Great Story" Pybus was the great story of the class of 2008, it seems safe to say that no recruit in Auburn's class of 2009 has so much "great story" potential as Clint Moseley. I mean, c'mon--Mr. Football, two-sport state champion, from a 2A school in middle-of-nowhere LA, who's always dreamed of playing SEC ball but whose best offer is Marshall until Auburn throws him a lifeline ... if Moseley makes it, I need to find out a way to secure the film rights right now.

Basics: Take it away, Auburn Signing Day list:

QB, 6-4, 196
Leroy, AL (Leroy HS)

Named Alabama's Mr. Football as a senior by the Alabama Sports Writers Association, as well as to the Class 2A All-State team and the Class 2A Back of the Year ... Led Leroy to a 15-0 record and its third straight state championship, earning MVP honors in the title game ... Completed 209-of-313 passes for 3,758 yards and 35 touchdowns, and rushed for 670 yards and 15 scores on 119 carries ... Also served as the team's kicker, making 23-of-29 extra points and a field goal on his only attempt, while punting 18 times for 610 yards (33.9 average) and a long of 54 ... During his sophomore season, completed 100-of-168 passes for 1,531 yards and 20 touchdowns and rushed for 512 yards and 10 scores on 62 carries while taking team to its first state title ... Ranked No. 23 on the Birmingham News' Super Seniors list ... Listed as the No. 28 player from Alabama by SuperPrep.
So, yes, in the areas of "winning football games" and "winning awards" Mr. Moseley has done very, very well for himself. Also: 209-of-313 works out to a 66.8 completion percentage. Whatever level of football you're playing at, that's not shabby at all.

Recruitnik hoo-ha: As you probably are well aware by now, Moseley's not exactly a guru favorite. Rivals is highest on him, giving him three stars, a middle-of-the-three-star pack 5.6 grade, and calling him the No. 19 dual-threat QB. (Eight spots behind one Ray Cotton, FWIW.)

But the other two services are less impressed. Scout ranks him the No. 79 QB and gives him just two stars. ESPN gives him a two-starish grade of 73 and ranks him the--ouch--No. 111 QB. From their evaluation:
It is difficult to get a good feel for Moseley because while his numbers both passing and running are outstanding, the level of competition he is facing is extremely concerning especially when you take a look at the interior fronts he is competing against ... He has very good size and the frame to develop nicely enough so that he could play another position because he is a good athlete ... He's tall enough to scan the field from within the pocket, he shows excellent field vision and generally finds the open man given enough time ... He shows a good over-the-top release and can get rid of the ball quickly. He can be somewhat mechanical in his delivery methods and does not appear to get great velocity on his throws-- he is part touch passer, part rhythm. He displays average arm strength ... Throws well on the run and when off balance, but could find himself in trouble if he attempts some of these types of throws against quality defensive personnel. Shows excellent pocket presence ... When comparing him against fellow in-state QB AJ McCarron, Moseley is a better athlete, but McCarron is more polished, possesses a stronger arm and has faced much stiffer, more college comparable competition. Overall, there is no doubt Moseley has talent and upside, but he must bulk up, get into the weightroom and until he faces competition equal to or greater than his own, there will be doubts about his upside at the BCS level ... Physically, he can compete and there is no doubt he is a winner.
So no, the gurus don't see SEC glory in Moseley's future. Neither did 11 of 12 teams in the SEC, of course: Marshall and UAB were Auburn's other "competitors" for his signature.

But Moseley's profile offer some reasons to believe the gurus aren't as accurate here as they might be elsewhere. For starters, quarterback evaluation is always more hit-and-miss than some other positions. Plus, small-school players will always have a strike against them. I've read a couple of places that Moseley missed various camps (where most of the guru evaluation is done) for baseball-related reasons. And by nearly all accounts, part of what makes Moseley special is what we might call his "winnerness"; it's hard to put too much stock into something like that, but it seems to be there, and the gurus are never going to be able to gauge that sort of thing.

So: not saying Moseley's a five-star in his C-USA offers' clothing, but unlike a two-star wideout or linebacker that's just not going to be able to hack it physically, there's some reason for optimism here.

Links of potential interest: You will seriously want to turn down your volume for this one, but nonetheless, highlights ahoy:

Not a lot of highlights here, but you can hear Moseley speak and get a good look at his remarkably curly hair:

I'm not embedding it because's videos never, ever embed properly, but there's also a worthwhile story-and-interview with Moseley, his coach, and a former Leroy star available here.

So, yeah, Moseley won Mr. Football; it was a crazy-close vote over Cordova's Tim Simon. Also at that link: Moseley made a 24 on his ACT, so there shouldn't be any problems getting him up to speed on Malzahn's offense. Particularly since Leroy switched to the spread just as Moseley arrived on the scene: a quality article from the Press-Register about that bit of serendipity and Moseley's career is available here.

If you watched the interview, you heard Moseley say he's an Alabama fan. Which he is, or, rather (hopefully) was. Here's another quote towards that end:
“Alabama has not given me an offer yet, but I can only imagine what it would be like to play for Alabama. It would be awesome.”
Frankly, this is only a good thing, since revenge is a dish best served cold and whatnot. Besides, it's not like he didn't jump onto the Auburn bandwagon with both feet, right? Hell, he's convincing wizened old Tiders to don a new Auburn shirt just for him, and that's more than I've done lately.

Which is one reason I'm not too worried about the Internet chatter that suggests Moseley might bolt for baseball after a big senior season on the diamond. In every interview he's done since committing to AU, though, he's seemed genuinely excited about coming to the Plains and his coach at Leroy made it pretty clear Moseley prefers football if given the choice. I think Auburn's given it to him. Then again, it's not by accident Leroy's won two straight state titles with Moseley's help, so I wouldn't completely rule it out, I guess.

All right, lastly, I've mentioned before I've got a friend who follows Alabama high school sports. We'll call him "D." At some point last fall I mentioned something about Tide commit A.J. McCarron, the four-star consensus best QB in the state, and D responded that it's Moseley, in fact, who's the better of the pair. D's a Tide fan, and added that he'd be "sick" if 'Bama passed on him and he wound up on the Plains. After Moseley had indeed gotten his Auburn offer and committed, I asked him to expound on his reasons for the JCCW's benefit. He writes:

"Two years ago Leroy and St. Paul's Episcopal were in the state finals in 2A and 5A, respectively. Leroy and Fyffe were in the finals in 2A. St. Paul's and Briarwood Christian were in the 5A final. Leroy has one Division 1 prospect. Fyffe has none. St. Paul's has five at least, four of which are on offense. Briarwood has two, Barrett Trotter and a defensive end whose name I can't recall now who is going to Vandy.

Fyffe and Briarwood's game plans were the exact same: hit the QB as often as possible. Well, as both games progress McCarron's passes more and more often hit the ground 1-2 yards short, Moseley's do not. Moseley stepped into hits over and over. And to top it off, Moseley was making plays with his legs when the play broke down. Now, I understand the difference in competition. That's why I mentioned the number of high-level talent players around each quarterback. McCarron had a bunch. Moseley had himself.

One play in particular stands out for Moseley and it simply won me over. With the game in the balance (less than 7 points either way) in the 4th quarter, on a 3rd and 10+ (17, I think), Moseley takes another hit and delivers a pass over the linebacker and in front of the safety with pinpoint accuracy. The clock continues to move and Leroy ended up winning 25-24, I believe. (Close--it was 25-20. Here's the highlights--the play D mentions isn't included, but check out the fade to the back of the end zone!--ed.) Making plays at the end of the game is a little talked about or discussed topic when it comes to evaluation of quarterbacks. There is no simulation that is adequate IMO to the pressure and circumstances that a quality QB must overcome when his back is against the wall.

In addition to Moseley's clutchness (even a word? [I just wrote "winnerness," so it's all good at the JCCW--ed.]) or moxie or whatever you want to call it, the kid has three football state titles and two baseball titles with another possibly this season. Flat out, he's a winner.

3rd, he was a lifelong 'Bama fan (don't hold it against him). He will do whatever it takes to beat Alabama."
That's the kind of thing I like to hear. D also points out (I'm paraphrasing this bit) that you can't say that when it comes to quarterbacking, late-game "moxie" doesn't translate from one level to another. Before he led all those 49ers comebacks, Montana had the miracle Cotton Bowl win for Notre Dame. Before the Super Bowls, Brady led Michigan back against the Tide. Elway and Stanford in The Game that preceded The Play, etc. (D also mentions some comebacks that Namath and Stabler led for their given college team, but I'm going to just sort of ignore those.) Not saying Moseley is Brady or Montana (oh no no no no no no no) but that if he's got the guts to lead fourth-quarter game-winning drives in high school, there's a much better chance he'll have the guts to lead fourth-quarter game-winning drives in college.

What conclusions we can draw, if any: This has been an awful lot of words for a kid whose guru ratings suggests the second coming of Blake Field or Ensminger the Younger. Particularly if Rollison qualifies and sticks around, as much as I like what Moseley brings to the table, it's still long odds he's ever more than the second-stringer.

That said: from here, his odds still look way, way better than Field's or Ensminger's ever were. The typical knock against small-school kids is that they're not as potent athletically as their competition makes them appear. But there seems to be some consensus Moseley can hack it from a physical standpoint--at 6-3, 6-4, height is not an issue, and he's got way too many rushing yards to be a stiff--and 2A or not 2A, his kind of completion percentage indicates he knows what to do with the ball.

Add in what appear to be some truly unique intangibles, a pre-existing familiarity with schemes similar to what Malzahn will run, and a keen physical fit with the new Spread Eagle, and you're looking at a kid whose upside far, far outweighs the costs of bringing him aboard, even with the glut of QBs on the Auburn roster. He's the very definition of a sleeper, and it really won't much surprise me if I wind up dreaming about that screenplay someday as Moseley takes over for a winning Auburn football team.


Rod said...

I like him. And I like winnerness.

jrsuicide said...

i can think of a few other lifelong Bama fans who worked out for Auburn, some guy named Bo something and then this kid Brandon Cox...i think he beat Alabama like every time he played them or something like that.

good post on Mosley. i like this kid a lot. he's a good project to develop for a few years and maybe he'll end up playing some receiver for the Tigers. all the articles and interviews i've read about this kid just scream "winner". i'm rooting for him big time. plus we are like totally friends on facebook and he has "if you dont chew big red then fuck you" as his favorite quote...which is like awesome and stuff.