Not too many recruiters knew about Trai Mosley a year ago. College football coaches took one glance at his height and weight and kept going.
That was their silly mistake, thinks Chip Killian, Mosley’s coach at Hendrickson High School in Pflugerville, Texas.
“Yeah, he might be 5-10 on a good day with his 'fro pushed out, but the thing people don’t understand is he’s extremely long. He’s got really long arms,” Killian said. “They see his height and weight on paper and might think he’s just fast. But when you see him on film, you see that he has great ball skills. He’s a physical and strong kid. He’s not a liability in the run game.”
Short answer: Killian thinks Nebraska stole one from under the noses of the other schools in the Lone Star State.
Considering defensive back was one of the greatest positions of need in this recruiting season, you could make the argument the 5-foot-10, 170-pound Mosley is as significant as any of the 24 recruits who signed with the Huskers on Wednesday.
Nebraska coaches visited Mosley two different times — Ross Els went first, former Husker secondary coach Terry Joseph went second — before last year's summer camps, convincing the defensive back it would be worth his while to test for them in Lincoln.
How many kids do you think would drive almost 14 hours just for a workout? That's exactly what Mosley did.
And what did he do after that long car ride?
He ran a blistering 40-yard dash time of 4.43 seconds in front of coaches.
“And his vertical jump was amazing," Killian said. "He had, like, a 42-inch vertical. He must have saved it for you guys in Nebraska. He never jumped that high for us. For us, it was around 38. Apparently, he went up there and busted one.”
Nebraska offered Mosley a scholarship on the spot, his first offer. Mosley accepted it that day.
Soon after, Mosley finally was getting the attention his coach thinks he should have received all along. Schools such as Oklahoma and Baylor jumped in with offers. TCU was said to be interested late.
There's good reason that some wondered whether Nebraska could hold on to Mosley after Joseph departed for Texas A&M.
“I’m not going to say one way or another whether some people made some runs at him, but I’m sure contacts were made,” Killian said. “That’s the nature of the business. It's a little dirty out there.”
But Mosley stayed true to his commitment, tweeting a picture of him and new secondary coach Charlton Warren just a couple weeks before signing day.
The meeting with his new position coach had, in his words, “sealed the deal.”
“People around here just dropped the ball,” Killian said. “If someone closer had gotten on him sooner, he might not have made that drive to Nebraska. But Nebraska got on him early and stayed on him.”
What the Huskers now have, the coach says, is the type of versatility that's hard to find. Besides his starring role as a defensive back, Mosley returned punts and even served as the team’s punter.
He punted rugby style. If the defenders didn’t commit to him, he’d just keep the ball and run for a first down. Otherwise, he’d kick it about 35 yards.
But it was his coverage ability that drew Nebraska's attention. It makes Mosley a player to keep in mind even this season, as the Huskers look for answers to replace players such as Stanley Jean-Baptiste and Ciante Evans.
Killian said Mosley’s lockdown cover skills allowed his team to commit nine guys to the run, trusting that its star corner could hold up fine without any assistance.
How do you know you're really good? When opponents stop trying to test you.
“You put him on an island, hey, he’s going to take those guys out of the game."