Defensive back Riley Moss embracing opportunity to play one final game for Iowa football

The 2022 Music City Bowl will mark Moss’ last game as a Hawkeye. He joined the program in 2018 and never redshirted.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa defensive back Riley Moss walks to the field during a 2022 TransPerfect Music City Bowl Iowa football practice at Franklin Road Academy in Nashville, Tenn., on Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2022. Iowa and Kentucky matchup in the 2022 Transperfect Music City Bowl on News Years’ Eve in Nissan Stadium.

Austin Hanson, Pregame Editor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Defensive back Riley Moss has been playing for the Iowa football team since 2018, and he’ll suit up in the Black and Gold for the last time when the Hawkeyes play the Kentucky Wildcats in the Music City Bowl on Saturday.

NCAA COVID-19 rules allowed Moss, who never redshirted at Iowa, to play five collegiate seasons. He could’ve declared for the NFL Draft at the end of the Hawkeyes’ 2021 campaign, but he opted to return to Iowa City for a final season.

“Like I said last year when I stayed, you only get so many opportunities to put on the Black and Gold,” Moss said. “You know, I get to put on the Black and Gold down in Nashville. It’s an exciting spot for us to be in. I’m excited to go out one last time with the boys to hopefully cap off with a win and end my career on a W.”

Ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft, Moss was a projected fourth-round pick by Sports Illustrated. He recorded 39 tackles, four interceptions, and two pick sixes last season. Moss played 11 of the Hawkeyes’ 14 games in 2021, missing three contests with a torn post cruciate ligament in his left knee.

In April, Iowa defensive coordinator Phil Parker said Moss returned to the Hawkeye program to improve his playmaking ability at the point of attack.

“Took all of his plays that he was at the point of attack, and he kind of had to look at them, and evaluate them, and see how he did,” Parker said. “It’s either plus or minus.”

Moss’ stats haven’t been as flashy this season as they were a year ago. In 12 games in 2022, Moss has recorded 46 tackles and one interception. Moss has, however, racked up 10 pass deflections compared to the five he had in 2021.

Few evaluations of Moss’ 2023 NFL Draft stock have been released since the start of the regular season. Moss will head to Fort Myers, Florida, after the Music City Bowl to train for the draft at X3 Performance and Physical Therapy.

Moss said he also plans to participate in the Reese’s Senior Bowl at Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile, Alabama, on Feb. 4.

Moss could’ve skipped the Hawkeyes’ bowl game to prepare for the NFL Draft. Hawkeye strong safety Kaevon Merriweather is currently the only player on Iowa’s roster to opt out of the Music City Bowl on account of the draft.

Moss said he, tight end Sam LaPorta, and linebacker Jack Campbell decided not to opt out of Iowa’s postseason game because they wanted to help lead and teach the players that will eventually fill the holes their departures will create.

“Guys like me and Campbell, Sam LaPorta, we’ve been doing it the entire year,” Moss said. “But it’s very important to make sure we keep on leading and showing the younger guys what’s right and what’s wrong because we’re not going to be there next year.

 We’re going to need some of these younger guys to step up and lead. This is our last shot to do it. The last four weeks, we’ve been doing it. Hopefully, we leave a mark.”

Campbell and LaPorta could use remaining eligibility to return to Iowa next season. Both have yet to officially declare for the 2023 NFL Draft.

Moss, who grew up in Ankeny, Iowa, can’t play for the Hawkeyes next year. Because he never took a redshirt year, Moss is not eligible to play a sixth season.

“Growing up a Hawkeye fan, it’s always been a dream of mine to play here,” Moss said. “You know, I get one more opportunity to do so.”