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Marshall’s Moss To Enter NFL Draft

January 8, 1998

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) _ Marshall coach Bob Pruett didn’t expect All-American wide receiver Randy Moss to play more than two years for the Thundering Herd.

Pruett’s hunch was right. On Thursday, Moss announced he will forgo his final two years of eligibility to enter the NFL draft.

Actually, Moss didn’t break the news to the world. Pruett did.

Moss, who has been in the media spotlight since before his college career even began, didn’t attend a news conference the school held to break the news, leaving it up to Pruett to face reporters.

``Randy felt like he didn’t want to make a big splash out of this thing,″ Pruett said.

Moss made a huge splash on the field, scoring at least one touchdown in every game he played.

A redshirt sophomore, Moss set a Division I-A record with 25 touchdown catches this season. He caught 96 passes for 1,820 yards and finished fourth in the voting for the Heisman Trophy. He also won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s best wide receiver.

``I’ve never been around a guy like that. The good Lord blessed that guy. He’s hands down the best athlete in college football,″ said Pruett.

``Randy Moss will have more impact next season in the NFL than any other player out there,″ Pruett said.

Moss is projected as a top five pick in the April draft.

At 6-foot-5, he is taller than most defensive backs and he’s faster, with 4.25 speed in the 40-yard-dash. He also has a 39-inch vertical leap and huge hands that rarely drop passes.

``The biggest thing Randy has to learn now is the little tricks of the trade to make him even better. It’s like anything else when the competition gets better,″ said Marshall receivers coach Gunter Brewer.

In a letter to the media and Marshall fans, Moss said he will attend spring classes while working out for NFL scouts.

``It’s been great playing for the Herd these past two years,″ Moss said in the statement. ``Ever since I was a young boy, I’ve dreamed of playing in the NFL.

``Part of my dream is to give back to the person whose done everything for me _ my mom. She’s worked hard and raised three kids by herself, and Lord knows I’ve put her through a lot and I don’t want to risk not being able to take care of her,″ Moss said.

Moss’s career had a troubled start. He was headed to Notre Dame but the Irish revoked the scholarship after he was charged with attacking another student at DuPont High School.

Moss pleaded guilty to battery and was sentenced to 30 days in jail. He was allowed to defer most of the sentence until after his freshman year in college.

Moss then went to Florida State but never played for the Seminoles. After redshirting his freshman season, Moss was kicked off the team when he violated his probation by smoking marijuana.

After a one-year jail sentence was reduced to about one month of time served, Moss walked on at Marshall and led the Thundering Herd to a 15-0 record and the 1996 Division I-AA national championship. He scored 28 touchdowns his freshman season.

This season, Moss and Marshall moved up to the Division I-A Mid-American Conference, where the Herd won the league title and a berth in the Motor City Bowl.

``Randy’s done everything I asked him to do,″ Pruett said. ``He’s done it in the classroom and on the football field.″

Moss’s attorney, Tim DiPiero of Charleston, said Moss was on vacation Thursday but did not know where. Marshall students report for classes on Monday.

``This is the first break he’s had,″ DiPiero said. ``The timing of it (the press conference) was poor because he had to do it by (Friday).″

Underclassmen must declare any intention to enter the April 18-19 draft by Friday.

Moss joins at least five other underclassmen to announce this week they will leave school early, including running back Ahman Green of Nebraska.

Replacing Moss and his impact on the team will be hard but can be done, Pruett said.

``You go out and recruit,″ Pruett said. ``Somebody’s got to step up to take the slack, and if one person can’t do it then two.″

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