With national signing day quickly approaching, college football programs generally keep an eye towards the future during this time.
But in the case of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, they can’t help but look into the past and wonder, “if only.”
On Thursday afternoon, former NFL wide receiver Randy Moss made airwaves when he declared that he would still list Notre Dame as his favorite if he could go through his recruiting process all over again, according to an interview with Fox Sports’ Aaron Torres (h/t College Football Talk).
“If I could do it over again, Notre Dame would’ve probably still been there,” Moss told Torres. “It’s an experience I’ll never forget. That was my team.”
Back in 1995, Moss was considered the best wide receiver in the nation and arguably the most talented prospect college football coaches had ever seen. Nearly every school in the country was after his signature.
However, only three schools—Florida, Tennessee and Notre Dame—really stood a chance.
Although Moss was intrigued by his visit to Gainesville and got a tour of Knoxville from Peyton Manning, South Bend was always his destination.
“I had a dream that [Irish head coach] Lou Holtz called me,” Moss recalled. “I woke up with a smile on my face from ear-to-ear. [But] I’m sitting there like, ‘Oh man, that was just a dream!’”
Holtz did eventually visit Moss' home in Rand, W.Va., however, it was never meant to me.
Soon after, Moss got into a physical altercation and plead guilty to two counts of battery. Notre Dame eventually pulled its offer, along with several other schools.
After a failed stint at Florida State, Moss ultimately wound up at Marshall—a I-AA program at the time.
In two seasons for the Thundering Herd, Moss dominated the competition, hauling in 145 passes for 2,720 yards and 44 touchdowns. He earned All-American honors both seasons and was a Heisman Trophy finalist in 1997.
The 21st overall pick in the 1998 draft, Moss played 14 seasons in the NFL mainly with the Minnesota Vikings, Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots.
While he had himself one heck of a career, Moss—and the Irish—can’t help but wonder what could have been had he come to South Bend.
All stats are courtesy of sports-reference.com.