GREENSBORO, N.C. — For the players enduring a litany of media obligations at the annual ACC Kickoff, often the most rewarding experiences come outside the interview room, when they mingle with peers from other teams who they usually only see on the football field. On Sunday, North Carolina quarterback Bryn Renner used that opportunity to once again thank Virginia left tackle Morgan Moses for saving his life five years ago.
“He’s always gonna be one of my best friends,” said Renner, a former All-Met from West Springfield High, when he spoke with reporters at the Grandover Resort. “This is no BS. This is real stuff here.”
In 2008, they played together in the inaugural Hawaii/Polynesia-Mainland Bowl in Honolulu; Renner’s father Bill, the former head coach at West Springfield, was a coach for the all-star game. One afternoon, Moses and Bryn Renner were on the water on surfboards together.
Renner was hoping to catch another big wave before returning to the beach near the hotel. Moses was the only other person out there, relaxing on his board since he never learned how to swim growing up in Richmond. Soon, though, he would unexpectedly be called into action.
Renner had arrived in Hawaii dealing with a separated shoulder and, as he paddled out, felt the joint dislocate. The 6-foot-6, 335-pound Moses said the water was up to his chest, although he joked Sunday: “You know how quarterbacks are. They’re dramatic.”
“I didn’t know what to do,” Renner said. “Morgan looks over and he’s so quiet and calm and I’m screaming, ‘Morgan. Morgan.’ He’s like, ‘I’m coming.’ And so he paddles over, puts me on the surfboard and paddles me back in. I don’t know what I would’ve done. It was just me and him.
“I owe him a lot. My mom was there, too, and she was crying and saying, ‘Thank you so much, Morgan.’ ”
Moses and Renner had previously gotten to know each other from the recruiting process, since Renner tried to persuade Moses to commit to North Carolina with him at one point.
But Moses eventually chose the Cavaliers, and enters his senior season as the linchpin of Virginia’s offensive line. He’s making the switch from right tackle to left tackle. Renner, meanwhile, will begin his final year in Chapel Hill as one of the ACC’s top signal callers after passing for more than 3,350 yards and 28 touchdowns as a junior in 2012.
Looking back, Moses said he doesn’t regret the good deed, even after Renner helped the Tar Heels beat the Cavaliers at Scott Stadium last season.
“I gathered myself in the moment of tragedy and saved him,” he said with a laugh as Renner stood a few feet away. “I don’t know about ‘Baywatch,’ but I do a pretty good job.”