The comparisons were already being made, which means the questions were going to come eventually, and everyone paying any attention to University of Utah football knew it.
By the time Jordan did what he did just over a week ago, comparisons were already being made between the Mesquite, Texas, native and Moss. After that game, Jordan was asked about that comparison, and he didn’t flinch.
“It means a lot, it means a lot actually to be mentioned with the name Zack Moss,” Jordan said. “He’s done so many great things for the program. I know I’ve got some big shoes to fill, and I haven’t really gotten there yet, so I’m just staying hungry and staying humble. It just feels great. It feels like I made my mom proud, and that’s all I want.”
Word of Jordan’s death began spreading early Saturday morning to at least as far as Upstate New York, where Moss is now a rookie with the Buffalo Bills. Moss never shared a backfield with Jordan, but he was familiar enough with the running back who quickly took on the role of his heir apparent over five games and 83 carries this season.
Moss met Jordan on the latter’s official visit to campus the weekend of Nov. 29, 2019. Months later, Jordan was already enrolled over the summer when Moss came back to campus to work out in anticipation of his first NFL season. The two also conversed a few times on social media.
“[Utah running backs] Coach [Kiel] McDonald let me know, this guy could definitely play,” Moss told The Salt Lake Tribune via phone late Saturday afternoon. “They thought he was very electric, could do a lot of different things and I thought he definitely showed that in the games they were able to play this year.
“You could tell he played with a purpose and that he really wanted something out of that spot. You definitely saw those traits, and the passion, and the heart that he played with.”
Over Utah’s final three games, all wins, Jordan rushed for 468 yards and all six of his touchdowns. He rushed for at least 100 yards in all three games, making him the first Ute freshman to go for 100 rushing yards in three straight games since 1995. Those three 100-yard games equaled the number of 100-yard games Moss registered as a sophomore in 2017.
Moss’ greatness in a Utah uniform is unquestioned, his legend profound. Jordan’s early offerings gave off the feeling that, maybe, Moss 2.0 had arrived in Salt Lake City. Unfortunately, we’ll never know.
“It gets difficult, but you always have to remember that you are your biggest critic at the end of the day,” Moss said. “People are not in your shoes, they don’t understand what you go through. It was definitely pressure to perform day in and day out, but that’s why you play the game.
“People don’t expect greatness from normal people.”