A lot of laughs, smiles, and a few tears of joy were shared in the ULHS library on Wednesday afternoon. At 2 p.m. UL’s Ben Barber and Corey Moss took a step that will forever change their life, and gave them a chance only few could ever ask for.
The two seniors each singed national letters of intent to play football in college, while having their education paid for with an athletic scholarship.
“These are two of the finest young men to ever walk these hall,” said UL Athletic Director Eddie Payne. “I know they have a bright future ahead of them, and they will represent Upson-Lee with the highest level of integrity. I am extremely proud to be a Knight today, and we wish these two Knights the absolute best at the next level.”
The next level for Upson-Lee’s standout quarterback Corey Moss will take place in an area which may sound familiar. Moss, who was the Region 4 Offensive Player of the Year (236 carries 1,501 yards), will play for the Lions of Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, Missouri. Joplin was the site of the deadliest tornado in U.S history just a few years ago. According to Moss, who took a visit to the campus last weekend, the entire town looks brand new.
“I had a blast visiting the school,” said Moss. “I really liked the campus and the school. It was a lot bigger than I thought it was going to be. There is so much to do there. You can walk a mile from campus and there is a huge mall with all kinds of things to do. You can drive 10 miles one way and end up in Kansas, and drive 10 miles in a different direction and end up in Oklahoma. I’m not sure what’s in Kansas or Oklahoma, but I do know I’ve never been there, so it seems exciting,” said Moss with a grin.
The Lions are a member of the NCAA Division II - Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA). Other schools in the conference include; University of Central Missouri, University of Central Oklahoma, Emporia State University, Fort Hays State, Lincoln University, Lindewood University, Missouri Western State, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Northeastern State, North West Missouri State, Pittsburg State, Southwest Baptist University, Turman University, and Washburn University. The Lions finished the 2012 season with a 6-5 record. Corey says he plans to major in Business Management or Engineering. The Lions run a triple option offense, which fits the speedy Moss, but according to Moss he thinks they are moving to a little more of a spread option team in the pistol formation, which is very similar to what the Knights ran this season.
Upson-Lee senior Ben Barber (6’5, 225) will also be a Lion next season. However, Barber won’t be joining Moss in the Midwest, instead he’ll be going toward the Appalachian mountains in North Carolina. Barber signed to play for the Lions of Mars Hill College.
“They had been in contact with me for a while,” said Barber. “There were some other schools that were showing me interest, but Mars Hill and Coach Clifton have shown me the most interest. I really felt like I was home when I visited up there. I like the small town atmosphere, and the school has smaller classes, which I think will benefit me.They also run a pro-style offense, which as tight-end I could not ask for a better situation.”
The Lions are members of the NCAA Division II - South Atlantic Conference (SAC). Other schools in the conference include;Anderson University, Brevard College, Carson-Newman College, Catawba College, Lenoir-Rhyne University, Lincoln Memorial University, Newberry College, Tusculum College, and Wingate University. Joining the (SAC) in 2013 will be Coker College and Queens University of Charlotte. In 2012 the Lions finished with a record of 8-3, and will play both Shorter University of Rome and the University of West Georgia in Carrollton. Ben plans to major in Physical Education.