Montigo Moss, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound wide receiver, caught 57 passes for 1,256 yards and 14 touchdowns last fall at Fort Union Military Academy in Virginia. University of Maine athletics

University of Maine football Coach Nick Charlton looked at his roster and knew he had to recruit wide receivers. The Black Bears were graduating their two top receivers, Earnest Edwards and Jaquan Blair, who combined for 114 catches and 1,936 yards last year.

Then in November, Maine running backs coach Makana Garrigan, who recruits high school prospects in Virginia, saw Montigo Moss playing for Fort Union Military Academy. The Moss name itself was intriguing – he’s the 17-year-old son of Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss – but the kid could play.

A month later, Charlton and Maine offensive coordinator Andrew Dresner visited Moss at his school. Knowing that the University of Virginia also was coming to see him, Charlton offered Moss a full scholarship that day.

On Wednesday, Moss, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound wide receiver with excellent ball skills, headlined the Black Bears’ 2020 signing class. The Black Bears signed 17 players, bringing their recruiting class to 27.

“Maine gives me the best opportunity to succeed,” said Moss, who received offers from two other Football Championship Subdivision teams – Duquesne and North Carolina Central. “It feels good.”

Moss had an official visit to Orono in late January and was impressed. “The coaching staff gave a good vibe,” he said. “And I noticed there was a good relationship between the players and the staff.”

He also watched film of returning quarterback Joe Fagnano, who stepped in as a freshman and threw for 1,835 yards and 17 touchdowns in eight games. “I like that,” said Moss. “I like that a lot.”

Charlton said having a young quarterback like Fagnano, who will be a sophomore, is an important recruiting tool. “If you’re a skill player, you look at the quarterback,” said Charlton, whose first team went 6-6 last fall. “And I think we have a pretty good one.”

Moss also knew that Maine needed wide receivers. “I saw how many open spots they had at wide receiver,” he said. “It would be great to get a starting spot. But if not, I’d like to have a big role as a freshman.”

Moss played only one season at Fork Union, transferring there from the Mecklenburg School in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. He caught 57 passes for 1,256 yards and 14 touchdowns. Fort Union Coach Mark Shuman believes Maine got a steal.

“He’s a great kid,” said Shuman. “He’s the son of probably the best wide receiver to ever play, but you wouldn’t know that. He is the most humble and quiet kid. I wouldn’t be surprised if in the next year he breaks records at both Maine and the (Colonial Athletic Association).”

Charlton said Moss will get every opportunity. “He’s got very good ball skills, runs good routes and understands the game,” said Charlton. “He makes plays on the ball … What we’ve told the wideouts, the young guys, is that we typically try to have five who can play at a high level and can get into the game at any time. Right now we have three that play a lot for us. That means somebody is going to play as a freshman. But he’s got to earn it.”

Maine signed three wide receivers, including Trevin Ewing, also a dangerous kick returner, from Elkton, Maryland, and Jalen Jordan, a transfer from Rutgers with three years of eligibility remaining.

Shuman said Moss will work hard to earn playing time. “He can catch anything in his radius,” Shuman said. “He’s obviously got good genes.”

Randy Moss played 14 years in the NFL and caught 156 touchdowns, including an NFL record 23 in 2007 with the New England Patriots. One of his sons, Thaddeus, was a tight end for national champion LSU and recently entered the NFL draft.

Montigo Moss said his family bloodline pushes him to become better. “It definitely adds pressure,” he said. “But it’s also kind of fun taking on that challenge as well. Sometimes (the comparisons) are overwhelming, honestly. You get all the hecklers.

“But I use it as fuel, to keep me motivated and to the grind.”

Moss said he watches film of his father as a player. “I would love to follow in his footsteps,” he said. “But I’m going to try to make my own name, too.”

Randy Moss, now an NFL analyst for ESPN, attended several of his son’s games last year and, said young Moss, “I think he might make a few games (in Maine).” Charlton said he spoke to Randy Moss during the recruiting process and that “he was very supportive of his son. We’re very excited to have him part of our family.”

Maine’s recruiting class includes five players from Maine: offensive linemen David Gross (6-foot-1, 300 pounds, from Bucksport), Eddie Hebert (6-5, 320, from Starks and Mt. Blue High) and Marek Veal (6-5, 310, from East Machias and Washington Academy); defensive lineman Jevin Smith (6-4, 220, from Winthrop) and linebacker Bryce Henaire (6-foot, 210, from Bangor).

Maine also signed two more quarterbacks: Matt Toman (6-4, 215, from St. Mary High in Rutherford, New Jersey) and Khyle Pena (6-1, 210, from Burlington, Massachusetts). Maine now has six quarterbacks – four of them freshmen – after losing Chris Ferguson, Ryan Walsh and former Scarborough standout Zoltan Panyi to transfers. Panyi is now at New Haven.

“We’re trying to create some competition in that room,” said Charlton. “We’re young. But when you have a true sophomore starting, you’re going to be young.”


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