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Miller Moss Embraces Community On and Off the Field

Miller Moss Embraces Community On and Off the Field

Miller Moss’ unconventional USC journey has led him to the Marshall School of Business.

Miller Moss running with the football in the Holiday Bowl

Quarterback Miller Moss is getting most out of USC, on and off the field.

[USC Photo]

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Miller Moss was destined to play football at the University of Southern California. The son of two architects — his mom was formerly faculty at the USC School of Architecture — Moss grew up in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles. Alongside his family, he attended USC football games from a young age and felt connected to USC’s legacy.

When the time came for the quarterback’s recruitment, he had prospects at the University of Michigan and University of Alabama, as well as USC. He considered all aspects of university life, trying to measure his emotional “gut” reaction while assessing what each spot had to offer. From educational opportunities to community, USC ticked every box for Moss.

Now a redshirt sophomore, Moss is ready to take the next step not just in football, but at the USC Marshall School of Business, where he’s enrolled in the Master of Science in Social Entrepreneurship (MSSE) program. It wasn’t an obvious choice at first, but Moss learned early that exploration and discovery are key for finding what’s right for you.

“Early on, my parents encouraged me and my sister to explore everything and that gave us a ton of freedom,” Moss said. “Our parents really invested in us, especially from an educational standpoint, and I think that paid dividends down the road.”

As an undergraduate at USC, Moss pursued a pre-law degree with a minor in finance. After graduating last spring, after just two years, he realized he wanted to shift his focus. Social entrepreneurship combined his innovative, take-charge spirit with his passion to have a lasting positive impact.

“I’ve always been interested in creating my own path and making my own way in the world. I’m the CEO of my own life,” he said. “I also have always held the belief that the entire point of having a profile from athletics is so you can affect a positive change within your community. Otherwise, all you are doing is throwing a football.”

Being a part of something bigger than himself is a value Moss carries deeply. As part of the MSSE program, he hopes he can gain the tools to hone and execute his vision to provide mentorship and mental health support to young athletes. On the field, it’s the close-knit relationship between him and his teammates that he feels ultimately drives and predicts their success.

I also have always held the belief that the entire point of having a profile from athletics is so you can affect a positive change within your community. Otherwise, all you are doing is throwing a football.

— Miller Moss

USC Quarterback / MSSE 

Some might’ve expected Moss to transfer to a different school where he could’ve started as its quarterback right away instead of backing up Caleb Williams. But Moss sees the transfer portal less as a conduit to play and more as a mechanism that confuses team rosters and redistributes team camaraderie and morale. From his vantage point and experience, the choice to grit it out on the bench for three years was about investing in the team and community he had committed to — and in himself.

“I have my community. I have my school pride. I have my sense of self,” he said. “If you look at the teams that win, it’s the teams that really come together.”

Investing in your community is a lot harder when external noise pressures you to do otherwise. Moss trained himself to ignore outside voices, whether they be media or aunts and uncles who had suggestions of how he should play his hand. Moss’ heart wasn’t in leaving though, partially because he knew the grass isn’t always greener.

Growing up, Moss was the best athlete in his neighborhood, but as he began to travel and meet players all over the country, he quickly realized there were others who were better than him. Instead of proving himself by continuing to dominate competitors in his immediate locale, he worked on sharpening the skills unique to his ability and on building up an unstoppable work ethic.

“Football teaches you from an early age how to navigate difficult situations,” he said. “I had a tough freshman year. It’s easy to talk about it now, but I had to live those days and keeping coming in every day, working my butt off — staying after practice lifting, watching tape, doing things no one ever saw or would know about — and having faith it would pay dividends down the line.”

This is not unlike the career of an entrepreneur, and Moss knows there are multiple lessons he’s learned on the field that will propel him in the world of business. Among them is the lesson of patience.

“If you’re chasing something and you’re principled, stick to those principles,” he said. “At least you have conviction and know who you are, regardless of the outcome.”

In the future, Moss hopes he can give back to communities such as Compton and Carson, where he forged positive friendships and gained incredible mentors playing youth sports.

For now, he’s focusing on his immediate communities. He said, “I love my new classes. My cohort has been great, as well. I will always have a ton of love in my heart for USC and everything that it offers. I wouldn’t be who I am today without it.”

As for spring training and fall prospects to start as QB1, Moss said, “I’m really excited. The guys are working hard and really trying to emphasize that cohesion in the locker room. I’m looking forward to a great season.”