Coming from Meadowbrook High School by way of Fork Union Military Academy, Morgan Moses was a big deal during his rookie season at Virginia.
Maybe too big of a deal.
“I played my freshman year at 357 [pounds],” he said.
Four years later, he remains a big deal — but more in a figurative sense.
Moses, a four-year starter on the Cavaliers’ offensive line, is three months away from hearing his name announced during the NFL Draft.
Pete Prisco, a senior NFL columnist for CBSSports.com, has Moses, a right or left tackle, being selected in the first round (28th overall) by the Carolina Panthers. Other mock drafts have the reigning All-ACC second-team honoree going anywhere from the early second round to the middle of the second round.
“I’m going into the Draft thinking I’m a first rounder,” Moses said by phone Wednesday afternoon. “As a player and as a performer, I know I’m a first rounder. I’ll be blessed either way. As long as I get an opportunity, I’m blessed either way.”
Whatever suit Moses slides on Draft day morning, it likely won’t be the one he had hanging in his freshman dorm room closet.
He’d be swimming in that material now.
During last week’s NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Moses weighed in at a sleek 314 pounds.
That’s around 20 pounds less than the weight he played at during UVa’s final game of the 2013 season.
“Just eating the right things, nutrition,” Moses said when asked to credit his weight loss. “I’ve just been paying attention to the details. I’ve set goals for myself going into this thing that I wanted to reach. Being able to do that and show teams that I’m really happy and I’ve been working really hard, it’s been great.”
Since his departure from the Cavaliers, Moses has spent time training in Atlanta and Charlottesville.
Last month, he spent a week in Mobile, Ala., for the Senior Bowl, drawing a number of reviews.
“He has ideal size and quick feet,” wrote NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah. “He's not a great knee bender, but he held up well in 1-on-1 pass-rush drills. He creates a lot of space in the run game.”
CBSSports.com’s Rob Rang made note of a flattening block Moses put on former Wahoo teammate Brent Urban, writing it “drew gasps from scouts in the stands.”
When asked about the pancake, Moses wasn’t shy.
“We were roommates at the Senior Bowl, so we talked about a lot of things,” he said. “But when that helmet came on, he became the opposing player, so there was no friendship between us.”
The Senior Bowl momentum carried Moses to Indianapolis, where he participated in the 40-yard dash (rumbling in at 5.35 seconds), 3-cone drill (7.93), 20-yard shuffle (4.95), broad jump (106 inches) and vertical jump (21.5 inches).
By comparison, Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews, considered to be the top offensive tackle taken in May’s Draft, ran a 5.07 40, 7.34 3-cone drill, 4.47 20-yard shuffle, had a broad jump of 105 inches and vertical of 30.5 inches.
“All the numbers I hit at the Combine were low numbers that I’ve hit before,” Moses said. “So just going into the Pro Day, I think my Pro Day will be one of the Pro Days that people need to watch out for.”
That Pro Day will take place March 17 at the McCue Center.
Moses didn’t participate in the bench press event in Indy because of a strained pectoral muscle.
He said he’ll monitor that injury before deciding to bench at Pro Day.
“It depends on how I feel over these next couple weeks,” he said.
Four years ago, though, he might have felt heavy.
It’s been a long road since 357.
“It’s been a journey,” Moses said. “It’s been a journey that I’ve enjoyed and now I’m ready to move on to my next journey.”