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Utah Utes running back Zack Moss (2) smiles after scoring a touchdown as Utah and Stanford play a football game in Palo Alto California on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018. (Scott Winterton, Deseret News)
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Zach Moss Could Have Difficult Decision Ahead

Utah Utes running back Zack Moss (2) smiles after scoring a touchdown as Utah and Stanford play a football game in Palo Alto California on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018. (Scott Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Due to an unfortunate injury that will likely end his junior year campaign at Utah, running back Zach Moss’ collegiate future in is doubt.

On their podcast, Special Forces Gang, former Ute special teams stars Andy Phillips and Tom Hackett discussed the possible avenues that Moss could take.

Will Moss Return Or Enter NFL Draft?

Citing an injury similar to Moss’ that he suffered prior to Utah’s appearance in the 2016 Foster Farms Bowl, Phillips speculated that a return this season could be possible for a player with a meniscus injury, depending on the extent of the injury.

“That’s all speculation,” Phillips said, not wanting to incorrectly report Moss’ injury. “But if it is that, which I hope it is for his sake, then he can overcome that, no big deal.”

Similarities To Devontae Booker

Recalling an injury that occurred to their teammate and current Denver Broncos running back, Devontae Booker, Hackett emphasized how important it was for Booker to not risk further injury by coming back and playing for the Utes after recovery. Moss could be in a similar spot.

“If Zach Moss was going to the NFL next year, he could do that,” said Hackett. “He could declare right now. He could say ‘I’m out.’”

“He could sign with an agent,” agreed Phillips.

“He could sign with an agent, he could say ‘I’m out of here,’” said Hackett. “So what I’m saying is over the next couple of weeks, keep an eye on Zach Moss.”

Having spoken to some sources and having an idea of how the process works, Hackett said he believes that if Moss was going to the NFL, he would have already made an announcement.

Moss Was ‘Misunderstood’

Remembering spending a lot of time with Moss in the injured players’ “pit” during practice, Phillips stated that he believes that Moss was a “very misunderstood” player.

“I remember, and I’m not going to say names here, but I remember seeing certain people just lose it on Zach, thinking that he had a very poor work ethic, thinking that he wasn’t going to make it in this program,” he said.

The criticism of Moss was so severe that Phillips feared the running back would transfer from the program.

However, since then, Phillips has seen tremendous growth in Moss, especially as the two worked together over the summer.

“I want to call him out because he has turned himself into an NFL (running back). Not only that but he’s also developed the mindset and the mentality to be great,” said Phillips. “Whether or not he declares for the league this year or comes back for his senior year, to see that progress is huge and I’m stoked for him.”

Hackett Admires Moss’ Humility

Calling Moss one of the better “blokes” on the team, Hackett credited the junior running back for remaining humble as his spotlight has grown.

“It can be tricky for some kids, depending on their personality, to stay grounded. Zach’s had no problem with any of that.”

Moss had just barely surpassed the 1,000 yard mark for the second consecutive season before suffering the injury, which apparently happened while he was climbing into bed. Had he continued to play at his pace of 121.3 yards per game, he would have flirted with breaking Utah’s all-time rushing yards record.

Hackett also stated his belief that had Moss continued to play this season, he almost certainly would have gone pro with nothing more to gain at the college level.

“The body can only take so many hits,” said Hackett.

Taking Advice From Friends, Teammates

Sentimentality could be a strong driver in Moss’s decision to return to Utah. He was high school teammates with quarterback Tyler Huntley and wide receiver Demari Simpkins. The trio starred at Hallendale High School in Florida and committed together to Utah for the recruiting class of 2015. Huntley was also sidelined, around the same time, with an injury. It’s possible that the three could have unfinished business to accomplish together at Utah.

That said, Phillips said that he believed that Moss’ friends would have instead encouraged him to enter the draft.

“We know Tyler’s not leaving, Demari’s not leaving,” said Phillips. “But both of those guys would have said ‘Zach, get out of here, bro. Go make your money, go do your thing.’”

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