Practice Tour: Donte Moss

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. --- After watching his junior season end in the NCHSAA 2A State semifinals, North Carolina pledge Donte Moss has his sights set on going the distance this fall.

"We're going to go ahead and bring it home," Moss said. "Last year we came up short. But with us having the youth that we had last year that only made us that much hungrier this year.

"And I see right from day one at practice we came out with the intensity, with the fire and the desire that we're not going to take 14-1."

Northside High School isn't a stranger to the semifinal game. The Monarchs have reached the semifinals in each of the past three years and four times total in their seven years of existence.

However, Northside has yet to get past the penultimate round.

"This year we're just going to try to do the same thing," Northside head football coach Bob Eason said. "It's a good problem to have to make it that far and lose. A lot of people say ‘You haven't won it, you haven't won it,' but a lot of people don't make it that far, ever. We're just going to try to build on [our success]."

The 2007 season was Northside's best in its short existence. The Monarchs posted their first undefeated regular season and beat their opponents by an average of more than three touchdowns a game.

Coincidence or not, last season was Moss' first at Northside. Prior to his junior year, the 6-foot-4, 231-pounder attended Jones Senior High School.

This fall, Moss highlights a defense that returns nine starters. Primarily, Moss is a stand-up end in the Monarch's 5-3 defense.

"If I'm not at defensive end, I'll probably be at either outside linebacker or middle linebacker," Moss said. "It will all depend on situation or injury."

Like last season, Moss will also receive carries at tailback on offense – roughly 7-8 according to his coach, depending on the flow of the game.

"We'll put him in when we need him," Eason said. "We'll just go as we feel. The tape doesn't tell you what another team will do, you have to know when you line up and start feeling it. If we feel like we can power them, we'll get in the Power I and put him at tailback. But if we feel like we have to be finesse we have other smaller, quicker tailbacks."

Moss isn't just a short-yardage ‘back. He broke two 70-plus-yard runs last season. He ended the year with 14 total touchdowns.


Although Moss has been a solid verbal commitment since March, both he and John Blake, his primary recruiter and future position coach, talk at least once a week.

"We talk about life," Moss said. "Sometimes we don't even talk about football. When we do [talk about football] we don't get into much depth. We just talk about how our teams are looking."

Throughout the season, Moss figures to be a regular at Kenan Stadium on game days. One date, though, is circled on his calendar: Nov. 22 when UNC hosts in-state rival NC State.

"It's always a highly anticipated game," Moss said. "It always draws a big crowd. It's a good rivalry game – who doesn't want to see a good rivalry game?"

Moss has recently befriended a fellow heralded defensive end recruit – Sam Montgomery.

"That's my buddy," Moss said. "I tell him [UNC's] a nice school, the coaches look for what's best for you not what's best for them. He says that he's starting to narrow it down and come to a decision, but I wouldn't know [where he's leaning] -- that's between him and his family."

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