ANKENY, Iowa — To Iowa fans and NFL scouts, Iowa Hawkeye All-American and former Big Ten defensive back of the year Riley Moss is a sure-fire NFL talent.

“I’ve increased my stock. I did everything right and everything that I needed to do at the combine and at the Senior Bowl,” said Moss.

No matter the accolades, when it comes to his parents Mark and Beth, Riley will forever be something else. “He will always be my baby,” said Beth.

As the Ankeny Centennial High School grad prepares to hear his name called it’s a surreal moment knowing a lifelong dream is days perhaps hours away. Riley said, “Trust yourself. Your body can do a lot more than you think it can You can achieve things you have no idea you can achieve. Setting goals is very important.”

It’s fitting the Drake Relays align with the NFL draft. It may be Moss’ 1st place finish at the Relays or state meet record on the Blue Oval his senior year in the 110 hurdles that proved his speed is real. “I wouldn’t be in the position I’m at without running track in high school. Track is the most measurable sport. There is no lying or denying. The numbers don’t lie,” said Riley. His 110m boys hurdle record at the state meet in 2018 was recently broken in 2022.

Most would assume it is the two-time All-Big Ten first-team selection and former conference defensive back of the year that prove he’s worthy of playing on Sundays — but for Mark — it is perhaps Riley’s worst game. His freshman year against Purdue.

“He struggled and gave up a couple touchdowns and got pulled and I said to him ‘You are at a crossroads. You can either decide to be like a turtle and go in a shell and never be heard from again or you can decide to make sure that never happens. Only you can decide that,'” said Mark.

Moss evolved into a leader despite a disappointing 7-5 regular season record after returning for an extra year at Iowa, proving there can be victory in a loss.

Beth said, “It is easy to be a leader when you are winning but it is harder when you have adversity. He experienced that and had to go through that as a captain and it increased his stock.”

He’s a leader that is never too proud to follow his dreams.

Riley said, “When Shonn Greene went to the league he went to the Jets and I was a Jets fan for a little bit. Aaron Rodgers just went there so maybe I’ll go to the Jets That would be pretty cool.”