There are the Inland Empire quarterbacks like Corona, Calif., Centennial’s Tanner McKee, Upland’s David Baldwin and Murrieta Valley’s Hank Bachmeier who have already started piling the scholarships before their senior year. Then there are the quarterbacks in the I.E. who are steadily building a resume by firing on all cylinders during their varsity debut.
The latter best illustrates Eastvale (Calif.) Roosevelt junior quarterback Jeremy Moussa, who has impressively thrown for 1,102 yards and 15 touchdown passes all while leading the Mustangs to a 4-1 start against the talent heavy I.E. slate. But, despite the astronomical numbers at the halfway point of the year and holding a grade point average of 4.3, Moussa’s cell phone and mail box have been relatively silent and empty, respectively. Yet Moussa said he doesn’t feel disrespected by the lack of early attention.
“I don't think 'disrespected' would be the right word to describe my feeling, but I do feel I am being overlooked,” Moussa told Scout.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Moussa said he likes how his own campaign has started as he’s shown a knack for playing the cerebral game against defenses. He prefers to stand in the pocket, find a weakness in the secondary, then laser the ball accurately down the field.
“I feel that, for the most part, I have a good understanding of what the defense is doing pre-snap and I know how I’m going to beat that particular defense on the upcoming play,” Moussa said.
But, Moussa knows there’s room for improvement.
“I am pleased with my performance so far this season, but the one area I would like to improve in the most is my completion percentage, as I feel that can get better there,” Moussa said. “I'm am going to continue to stay on pace for 30 passing touchdowns this season. I’m always striving to get better and will continue to.”
He cites the Sept. 23 contest against high desert powerhouse La Quinta as one highlight moment in 2016-17, with Roosevelt High alums and students dressed in tuxedos and dresses present at the game.
“The stakes were high because it was our homecoming game, so some people were a little more tense than usual,” Moussa described. “We didn't play as good as we could've offensively due to some drops, fumbles, and miscommunications, but we came together as a team during the fourth quarter. We tied the game coming back from 14 and going for two points due to a missed PAT earlier in the game. We ended up winning the game on a pass from me to Chase (Williams) in overtime.”
That Chase Williams he’s describing is Roosevelt’s most coveted college prospect with early offers from USC and UCLA.
“Having a receiver like Chase is definitely a huge asset,” Moussa said. “He can beat pretty much anyone in a one-on-one match up and is a very smart receiver, plus he knows how to find soft spots in a defense. Not to mention I occasionally have the luxury of just putting the ball out there and letting him go get it and make a play. Chase is definitely a big part of our offense and is a very big weapon.”
So far, Moussa and the 6-foot-2, 189-pound Williams have connected 11 times for 274 yards and seven touchdowns. But Williams isn’t the only Mustang wideout Moussa like to venerate.
“All of our starting receivers at Roosevelt are very dangerous. They all have big play capability on any given play,” Moussa said. “Erik Brooks is an under the radar guy at the slot and one of my favorite targets. Even though he is a smaller guy, he is very shifty and also a very smart receiver who ends up at the right place at the right time. Braedin Huffman is another big wide receiver who is only a sophomore. He will go up and get the ball and has a lot of potential for being as young as he is with his talent.
“Randy Rivera and Major Lee are our other slot receivers and are both outstanding as well,” Moussa continued. “Randy is yet to play yet due to the transfer rule, but I'm expecting big things from him when he returns next week. Major has done a great job filling in for him as he plays multiple positions. Major is another shifty guy who isn't afraid to run through the middle and does so without flinching.”
Moussa doesn’t just have his regular season start gleaming on his early resume, but also his work at different passing tournaments during the spring. While latching on with Explosive Athletic Training (E.A.T), Moussa fired the pigskin against club powerhouses like TMP Elite and Rize Up, coming away with upsets against both squads as they featured some of the most highly recruited prospects in the nation. Moussa credits his spring work for assisting with his fast start.
“Last year was only my first season of 7v7 so I came on to the scene a little later than others. Even though that is the case, I showed what type of player I am and that has carried over into the season as well,” Moussa said. “For what I have done, I believe I have been overlooked as I have played against and proved to be better than a lot of other kids in my opinion.”
His club coach Prentice Byrd took notice of Moussa’s abilities and started to speak to college coaches about his quarterback.
“Several schools have contacted Coach Byrd regarding me, most notably Cal and USC,” Moussa said. “They first saw me when EAT attended their 7v7 tournaments and were impressed with what I showed there.”
But with a quick fire start against one of the more talented regions in the Golden State, Moussa is still grinding for that first scholarship paper, plus enhancing his game and building his resume as a potential highly-wanted college signal caller.
“I'm still working on all aspects of my game every day at practice,” Moussa said. “Another thing I would like to improve on the most is my blitz recognition and checking into the right pass protection. I feel like this would help out my offensive line and put them in a better position to succeed while keeping my own jersey clean at the same time.”
And, he’s chosen to take the humble road and not swing toward a bitter mood about his peers stacking the offers.
Said Moussa: “I'm not envious at all, but it definitely puts a chip on my shoulder and motivates me to go out and work every day. It only fuels me that much more because I know what I am capable of.”