FNL: Weaver at Ashville

ASHVILLE, Ala. -- About a year ago, an Alabama fan in the southern part of the state heard about a ninth grade quarterback in North Alabama. After doing his due diligence on YouTube, said fan sent the following perfectly legal text to an Alabama assistant coach: "You guys know about E.J. Moss, right?" Said coach replied quickly, "Oh yeah."

Well, FNL has been hearing for more than a year about E.J. Moss, and decided to check-out in person. Moss and his Ashville Bulldogs lost to Weaver, 47-12, at Kin Logan Stadium.

To the categories:

Top prospect

That would be Moss, a 6-foot-4, 215-pounder who looks nor plays like a 10th grader. On this night, he finished 5-for-10, for 54 yards and one touchdown passing and rushed for 91 more on 24 attempts. Two sacks for minus 13 yards hurt his stats, as did three dropped passes. He's thrown 11 touchdowns and just two picks through eight games.. That's a ratio any coach would love to have.

Ashville coach Bubba Walls says Moss has improved since last year, especially "his presence on the field. He's more comfortable in our offense. He's getting people in the right spots. He's improved dramatically in that respect. He does a great job in our run game. I think he's missed five reads in seven games. He got probably 12-15 touchdowns rushing.

"Most Friday nights, he's our leading rusher. Most carries and most yards. He's made some big plays in the passing game for us down the field. E.J.'s really an all-around quarterback, running and throwing."

Moss, who now has roughly 800 yards rushing and another 675 passing for the season, was clocked at 4.62 in the 40 this past summer at Alabama's camp. He will only get faster as he approaches college age.

"Scary," was the word used to describe Moss by Weaver coach Daryl Hamby. "The kid is unbelievable. He can run. He reminds me of Matt Jones, (former quarterback) that played at Arkansas. He looks like he's not moving that fast, then you realize that the guys you have that are fast can't catch him. He's strong, he's elusive, he's got a great arm, and he's got a great head on his shoulders.

"He's definitely going to be playing on Saturdays, somewhere. He's something else."

No argument here. With his initials E.J., some will want to compare Moss to current Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron, but trust, me, McCarron was not 215 as a high school sophomore. He was closer to 170, and did not at that time have the mobility Moss does. Arm-wise, the two are similar at this stage. Moss, as many young signal-callers do, tends to throw off his back foot when hurried, but there is no questioning the arm strength or the accuracy. Other than height, the biggest similarity between Moss and McCarron is both their moms were/are sideline photographers at their games.

Seniors who shined

Weaver gets good leadership from 5-10 defensive back Trey Moore and 6-4 nose man Malik Anderson. (Weights were not provided on the Bearcats' roster.) For the Bulldogs, halfback Tommy Bothwell (5-11, 170) is Moss' go-to running back, and Thomas Crews (6-0, 165) is a stalwart safety. Center Richie Boley (5-11, 250) is hearing from UNA and Jacksonville State.

Juniors to watch

Weaver's Brandell Massey looked good at halfback, especially on a 28-yard run to keep a drive alive. For the Bulldogs, lineman Damion Bothwell (6-4, 250) puts heat on the quarterback and helps protect Moss, too. Receiver Ethan Fuller (6-1, 170) got himself wide open for a 22-yard touchdown catch-and-run from Moss.

Super sophs

Weaver has a speedster receiver named Chris English who took the shanked opening kick-off 65 yards to the house. Ashville's Darryl Weeks (5-10, 165) is pretty quick, himself, as is his backfield mate Chris Troge, who scooped and scored on a blocked punt.

Crimson connection

If Bama is able to land Moss, and the Tide is considered the very early leader, he'd be the first Ashville Bulldog to land in Tuscaloosa since the Sanders brothers, punter Matt and offensive lineman Mark, who played in the early 2000s.

How 'bout them burgers

It's always a good sign when you get out of car and can already see smoke wafting off the grills by the concession stand an hour before kick time. This burger was moist and tender, and not cooked too well. I like ‘em medium rare to medium, and they read my mind. Good stuff.

Up next

There's been a ton of talk about sophomore running back Bo Scarborough at Tuscaloosa's Northridge High, and the Jags travel to Hillcrest next week for a battle of unbeaten rivals. The Patriots feature quarterback Luke Wingo, whose dad Rich was a fine linebacker and strength/conditioning coach at the Capstone.

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