Perquimans vs. Northeastern football, Friday, August 17, 2012.

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Perquimans vs. Northeastern football, Friday, August 17, 2012.

Moss stays humble despite talent

By Owen Hassell

The Daily Advance

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Jamieon Moss is humble, and that’s becoming a harder trait to handle this season.

The Northeastern senior linebacker has already made a verbal commitment to play at Virginia Tech, and has been courted by East Carolina and Wake Forest along with other Division I schools.

Despite his commitment to the Hokies, the recruiting hasn’t ended. Take his trip to N.C. State to watch the Wolfpack’s upset of Florida State.

Students in Raleigh knew about Moss’ arrival, and let their voices be heard by cheering him and waving signs of approval when he walked by the student section in a late attempt to lure Moss to the Pack.

“I didn’t know how to react to that,” Moss said. “It’s something I’ve never experienced before, so I really didn’t know how to react to it, and it was just an honor from a Division I school, let alone N.C. State.

“I looked back at it and wondered, ‘Is it really me? Are you talking about me?’ I was taught to stay humble, so I thought, ‘Wow, really?’ It was a surprise. They were cheering my name and everything.”

And that’s about as much as one will gather from the usually reserved Moss. He has become more vocal throughout this year’s postseason, and is one of the Eagles’

leaders heading into Friday’s third round 2A state playoff game at three-time defending state champion Tarboro.

Despite missing two games last month with a sprained right ankle, Moss has registered more than eight tackles a game on a stout Northeastern defense that includes other college-level talent such as defensive back McKenzie Etheridge and has allowed just 12.3 points a game.

At 6-3 and 210 pounds, with speed and footwork to track down any back, Moss has the physical tools to match up with the state’s best high school linebackers.

His humility stems from his parents, who have urged Moss to let his talking come from his performance on the field.

The pause and reflection on Wolfpack love? It’s a way for the honor student, with a 3.7 GPA, to stay grounded and know such pomp and circumstance isn’t the norm.

With much of Moss’ life spent in Virginia, he always heard about and watched Virginia Tech football, and when he was offered by the Hokies, he “freaked out.”

One of the few moments he was truly excited.

“He is humble, and if you get two words out of Moss, you’ve done something,” NHS coach Antonio Moore said. “He might not say much, but you will hear him pop you.”

Moss didn’t always have the pop to play at linebacker. Moore said as a freshman his talents as a potential Division I quality linebacker were evident, but the footwork wasn’t quite in place.

Some time at defensive end made Moss hungry to work harder to show he could improve, and footwork is now one of his strengths.

“His footwork and speed have really improved, because every camp he’s gone to now he’s running a 4.6, which is good for a linebacker,” Moore said. “Now he can run all over the field.”

Moss and Northeastern have moved into the third round of the 2A state playoffs, and face another team with its share of recent and future Division I talent in Tarboro.

Last year’s top running back, Todd Gurley, is one of the best freshman tailbacks in the country at Georgia. The Vikings now have a strong defensive player of their own, Tyquan Lewis, who has committed to Ohio State.

Moss is excited about the opportunity to play against one of the state’s best teams, and displays all the humility to prove it.

“I met him (Lewis) at the Shrine Bowl combine, and he’s a heck of a guy,” Moss said. “He’s a nice guy, and from what I’ve seen of him on his film, he’s a real good player.

“Tarboro is a heck of a team, defending state champs. They are a good team, and I feel like we really need to get ready this week.”

The playoffs began for Northeastern with a shaky performance in the first round against Bertie. Moss felt there was no time to be reserved when the Eagles led just 7-0 at halftime.

“I’m quiet, but I’m loud when it’s needed,” Moss said. “Now I’m at the point where I have enough respect that if I say something, then you should listen.

“We just had to pick it up. We all have the same dream, and we had to remember what it takes to get there, so I had to remind them. I felt like we were looking ahead to Edenton, so that’s probably what was wrong. We’re coming to play now. I expect more, and I feel we can do it.”

When the Eagles came to play Edenton last Friday, just two weeks after losing to the Aces 28-21, they left little question of their renewed confidence.

Moss’ fourth-quarter tackle of Aces quarterback DaeDae Capehart resulted in a hurried throw, and a Jamar Johnson interception return for a touchdown that put an exclamation mark on the 40-8 win.

And that made the linebacker happier than anything on his end.

“It doesn’t matter, as long as we’re winning,” Moss said. “It felt good, but it felt even better seeing my teammate Jamar run it in the end zone.”