Top-ranked Dylan Moses focused on living up to the hype

Dylan Moses has gone from boy wonder, an eighth-grade phenom, to the No. 1-ranked prospect in the 2017 ESPN Junior 300. While it’s still a long time until he plays college football, he is shaping up to be one of the few football players to be touted so early in his career and live up to the hype.

He received an LSU offer when he was in the eighth grade and was committed to the Tigers in the ninth grade. He’s been on the cover of ESPN The Magazine, drawing media attention akin to that of LeBron James as a high schooler. Moses has been in the limelight so long, his family jokes that there isn’t a story about Dylan that hasn’t been told.

Now heading into his junior year of high school, the athlete prospect has worked diligently to make sure the spotlight doesn’t fade easily.

“I’ve always been told, 'Don’t get complacent. Don’t ever think that what you did in the past won’t go away,'” the 6-foot-2, 225-pound prospect said. “I didn’t want to be known as the average person that gets complacent and falls off. I keep working hard, and I’ve always pushed myself for more.”

Moses’ father, Edward, says that’s how his son has always been -- never satisfied and always working to get better. Edward remembers when Dylan’s youth-league football team lost a championship game in double overtime. Dylan, as an 8-year-old, vowed to make it back to the final game the following season to get a second chance -- and did just that.

A similar scenario played out when Dylan Moses and his University Laboratory School teammates lost to John Curtis Christian High School in the Louisiana state championship game in 2013. Moses again said he would work even harder to help get his team back to the championship game and win. Sure enough, University Lab was crowned state champion the following year.

“He has a sense of maturity about him that a lot of kids don’t have at his age. When they lost to John Curtis, he wasn’t emotional or angry,” Edward said of Dylan. “I was emotional, and I’m looking at him, the player on the field, and he was calm. He just took it in stride and said he would be back next year.”

Dylan Moses admits that the pressure and attention came fast and strong, and at first he wasn’t sure how to handle his newfound fame. He remembers the day it all started as if it were yesterday, quickly spitting out the date of July 15, 2012. That was the day he was offered by LSU.

That was also the day he realized how talented he was. Moses says he always knew he was good at football but never really knew just how good he was until that first offer was extended.

He laughs while talking about the offer because the date the LSU coaches told Moses about his offer really should have been July 14.

“At their camp, I went up to the coaches’ office and they told me to go clean myself up and come back up so we could have a meeting with my parents. So I went downstairs and took a shower, and I guess I took too long because the coaches were gone and my parents were ready to go,” Moses said. “I came back the next day and Coach [Les] Miles came downstairs and pulled me off to the side and started welcoming me to the family and congratulating me on the offer. They told me to continue getting better, and I remember to this day that Coach Frank [Wilson] told me he would make me the No. 1-ranked player in the country.”

Moses didn’t commit to LSU for another year, but there was a target immediately placed on his back when that offer came through in his eighth-grade year.

Edward Moses always tried to keep everything in context for his son, separating football from real life. He tried to make sure that almost-instant fame would not prevent his son from enjoying his childhood.

By reminding Dylan he is still a kid with goals and objectives off the football field, Dylan's family helped keep him grounded. Dealing with negative comments on the Internet was hard for the family at first, but both Dylan and Edward say they wouldn’t change a thing about his process.

Being ranked the No. 1 player in the country was something Moses always hoped would happen, but much like his LSU offer, it’s not going to cause him to rest on his laurels.

The ranking is just another goal checked off and another tool to use as motivation to move up to bigger things.

“It started off by getting offered by LSU, ESPN The Magazine, then getting offered by Alabama. All of this is proof that the work I’ve put in and me not stopping when I reach a goal,” he said. “Sometimes it’s overwhelming seeing that I came this far, but I know what’s coming is going to be great. I know it’s going to be worth it.”