Tight end Thaddeus Moss has been one of just a few true freshmen to see the field this season for NC State. However, he isn't surprised that he's not only playing, but already contributing for the Wolfpack.
"I guess it's just in my blood," said Moss, laughing. "I have always been into football. Football just comes naturally to me."
It certainly does. The son of NFL great Randy Moss, Thaddeus spent most of his high school career learning new offenses at various schools before settling in at in-state power Mallard Creek. As a senior he caught 54 passes for 831 yards and 13 touchdowns to help lead Mallard Creek to its third straight NC 4AA state championship.
"It hasn’t really been that hard," he said of the learning curve. "In high school, I played on four different high school teams so I had to learn four different offenses. Learning offense to me is not really that hard.
"[Mallard Creek] got me more prepared for college because Mallard Creek is almost like a little college. The way practice is set up, from lifting and everything. It is just a bigger stage so I am ready for here."
A highly-recruited prospect out of high school, Moss had a variety of options before selecting NC State. A big reason he chose the Wolfpack was his relationship with tight ends coach Eddie Faulkner, who also handled his recruitment.
"I love Coach Faulk," Moss stated. "He is a big reason why I came here. He will text me after practice. He is just always looking out. Everything that I saw in the recruiting, he has been real. He hasn’t changed at all."
What other reasons led to Moss picking NC State?
"It just came down to being close to home and being comfortable here," he added. "I was comfortable with Coach Faulkner, Coach Drink and Coach Doeren. It is everything I expected it to be."
Moss said it hasn't been that hard, picking up the offense, but he's also had a lot of help. Junior tight end Cole Cook, one of the Wolfpack's team captains, has been a player Moss has leaned on heavily for support throughout fall camp and the start of the season.
"Cole Cook has taken under his wings," said Moss. "We watch extra film. I call him or text him late at night whenever I have questions regarding the plays or playbook. Then again, our offense is not really difficult -- I don’t think it is -- so it has been kind of easy.
"The second week I was here he made sure I was throwing on Saturday. He will make sure after practice that I get up there and watch film before I have class. I can text him at night -- I mean it’ll be at like 11 o’clock at night -- I’ll shoot him a text and ask him if he is up. I’ll ask him about five or 10 questions about the playbook and he will answer them, no problem. Whatever I need he has been there for me."
"Having Thad come in as a freshman... I played as a freshman too," added Cook. "I have tried to help him along because I know he's a good player, and I know he can help himself. I want to do everything I can to help him out."
Moss has been lining up at tailback and H-back for the Wolfpack, and through four games he's caught five passes for 46 yards while also contributing as a blocker. Two games ago he caught the first touchdown of his career, a three-yard reception against Old Dominion.
"It is a little special because it is the first touchdown," Moss said of the catch. "It felt good to get the first one out of the way. I look forward to getting many more touchdowns to come."