It's SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO SZN for current college football players, where many players have to decide whether or not to enter the 2022 NFL Draft process or return to college for another year. The addition of an extra year of eligibility (via the COVID-19 pandemic) has inserted a new wrinkle into that decision-making process as well.
Several Iowa players still have to announce decisions re: staying or coming back, but one very notable player announced yesterday that he is returning for one more year of action in 2022.
One last Ride! Go Hawks! pic.twitter.com/i3qOUR5HSv— Riley Moss (@R_moss5) January 5, 2022
Welcome back, Riley Moss.
Moss accepted a Senior Bowl invitation back in December, but that's non-binding in terms of entering the NFL Draft process or not. As indicated by his statement yesterday, he's opted to delay the Senior Bowl and NFL Draft for a year and instead come back to Iowa City for another season.
There are still a few questions to answer about Moss' return and what he might look like next season -- he missed three games this season due to a knee injury sustained in the Penn State game in early October. Moss was able to rehab the injury at the time and return for the rest of the season, but it's unclear if he'll need to have any surgery on the knee this spring and, if he did, what his recovery timetable might look like in terms of being ready to play next fall.
That said, getting the Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year back for one more season feels like a pretty unabashed win overall. Moss had 39 tackles (34 solo), four interceptions, five pass break-ups, and a fumble recovery in his 11 games of action this fall. He was a key member of the Doughboyzzz, Iowa's ball-hawking unit in the secondary that was part of a school-record total of 25 interceptions.
Moss' return will also provide Iowa with some valuable experience and leadership in the secondary in 2022. Iowa's secondary in 2021 was very good -- but it was also very old, in college terms, with three seniors and two juniors. Jack Koerner has already announced plans to forgo another year in Iowa City and enter the NFL Draft. Matt Hankins seems to be leaning that way as well. Dane Belton and Kaevon Merriweather also have NFL Draft decisions to make, but Moss' return ensures that there will be some continuity and experience in the defensive backfield next season, which ought to be very beneficial as Phil Parker builds another top-notch secondary.
So welcome back, Riley -- we're glad to see you back in black and gold for one more year.