Moss Named an All-American

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. --- In front of a crowd of family, friends, and teammates at Northside High School on Friday, Donte Moss was named to the prestigious U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

Moss, a 6-foot-4, 231-pound defensive standout committed to play at North Carolina, dominates on both sides of the ball.

He's led his Jacksonville (N.C.) Northside team to an 11-0 record, is committed to North Carolina and will participate in the 72nd annual Shrine Bowl.

You'd think that with so many honors, Moss wouldn't be phased by receiving anymore awards.

That assumption would be incorrect.

"It means I made it, I feel like I made everybody proud," Moss said of being chosen to play in the Jan. 3 game in San Antonio, Texas. "I'm just glad to make my mother proud, my family proud and the students proud."

Representatives from the All-American Bowl also announced that Moss is one of 16 finalists for the Army Player of the year award, what they call the "highest award in high school football."

The six finalists will be announced on Dec. 5.

Moss said he has battled death in the family, troubles at school and outside influences to become the player he is.

"Sometimes when you feel like quitting, a little dedication and hard work will bring you success," he said.

"It's overwhelming and unbelievable," Moss' mother Donna Page said. "Just like he said, staying focused, hard work and dedication pays off."

The nation's No. 3-ranked defensive end in the class of 2009 by Scout.com, Moss said his relationship with head coach Butch Davis and defensive line coach John Blake was vital to his commitment to North Carolina.

"They care about more than just football," Moss said. "Nine times out of 10, when I'm talking to Coach Blake and Coach Davis, it's not even about football."

Page agreed with her son.

"The spirituality of Coach Blake is what spoke to me," she said. "I knew Donte had talent, but he needed to be grounded in different ways. Coach Blake has that and no one else really spoke to me on that level, so that's where we decided to go."

Moss has enjoyed traveling to Chapel Hill this fall – he's been to all but one of UNC's home games.

He also isn't surprised by the Tar Heels' success.

"I knew they were going to do this good," he said. "Everybody else is surprised, but I'm not surprised."

Moss will arrive in Chapel Hill shortly after graduation in June.

"One thing that I hope to bring to North Carolina is speed – that tenacious speed off the edge," he said.

His Monarchs will host Whiteville in the first-round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association playoffs tonight.

"First off, I want to finish off on a good note here," he said. "But, I don't have words to describe the feelings that I have for North Carolina."

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