Though no player from his Ellenville High School football team has ever played major college football, Walter Moseley may be the most sought-after high school running back in the nation this year. And Maryland is among the colleges he will seriously consider.
Terrapin Coach Bobby Ross said he will get a road map and journey to this town in the Catskill Mountains resort area after Dec. 1, the date the NCAA officially allows coaches to talk with high school seniors.
Each week, recruiters are being given more reason to covet Moseley's signature on a letter of intent.
On Sept. 25, Moseley, suffering from a hamstring injury, carried four times for 10 yards before he went to the sidelines. It was the only time since he became a tailback in the fifth game of his freshman season that Moseley has been held under 100 yards. His 24 straight games of 100 yards or better broke the national record of 21 set by Ken Hall of Sugarland, Tex., in 1952-53.
Moseley is fully recovered from the injury. In each of the past three weeks, he has rushed for more than 200 yards. Last Saturday, in a game between the two unbeaten teams in the Mid-Hudson Athletic League, Moseley ran for 207 yards and both touchdowns as Ellenville stretched its unbeaten streak to 18 games with a 14-6 victory over Marlboro. It was just two years before Moseley's arrival that the Blue Devils ended a four-year, 34-game losing streak.
Last year Moseley set New York State records for most yards (2,066) and points (210 including 34 touchdowns) in a season. His 1,099 yards in seven games this year give him 5,187 for his career. He held the state career record by the end of his junior year.
Syracuse University and Penn State, both of which have pursued him for three years, and Pittsburgh are the early leaders among Moseley's collegiate choices. But Ross' efforts have made Maryland a serious contender. Another ACC school, Duke, is hoping Moseley will spend one of his five permitted visits on its campus.
"We think he is a great running back," said Ross of the running back with the 4.5 speed. "We hope he finds a way to get to the University of Maryland."
What are his chances of ending up in College Park?
"There could be a good chance," said Ellenville Coach Jack Sovak, who along with Assistant Coach Ed Healy, will play a prominent role in Moseley's decision. "They just will have to work hard at it."
Syracuse Coach Dick MacPherson has already been working hard. He used an open date in September to drive four hours to watch Moseley, who plays at least 40 minutes each game and many feel would make an excellent college linebacker or defensive back.
"He is a performer," said MacPherson. "He has speed, real foot quickness and the ability to run around or over people. I think he can help any program right away."
Moseley has also impressed recruiters with his maturity. He does not talk like a 17-year-old from the mountains when he is asked what his greatest attribute is. "I have a lot of heart," he says seriously.
"I've always been a big, big football star in Ellenville, and if I were to go to college and just be a mediocre ballplayer, that would really hurt me," he said. "If that happens, I will just work so much harder than everyone else until I am better than they are."
Scouting reports on Moseley contain nothing negative, but there are two questions. Since Ellenville throws little, Moseley's pass catching ability is in doubt. The other question concerns the caliber of competition he has overrun for four years.
Moseley's hands are no question on a basketball court. He should become the first Ellenville basketball player ever to score more than 1,000 points for a career. As a junior, he was named one of the top 50 players in the state.
"My only concern over Walter," said Ron Touchstone of the Blue Chip Scouting Bureau of Norman, Okla., "is whether he has met the three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust Pennsylvania lineman yet."
Rick Ganter, an assistant at Penn State, does not consider Moseley's school size a major factor.
"He can play on either side of the ball," said Ganter. "He lights you up the way he can take a hit, spin off and make something out of nothing. If you wonder about the size of his school, let me tell you that Curt Warner (current Penn State starting running back) came from a high school with a total population of 320 students. Walter is one of these guys who come along just so often."