Benton Moss is a 6-2, 175-pound right-handed pitcher from Enfield, N.C. He is ranked No. 68 nationally by Perfect Game in the 2011 draft eligible class and the No. 3 prospect in the state. Moss was honored as the captain of the 2011 Dirtbag program that recently won the World Wood Bat Association title. He was also honored as an UnderArmour All-American. In addition to his athletic prowess, Moss is a fantastic student in the classroom, as evidenced by being a Morehead Cain Scholarship Finalist at UNC.
Moss's parents are both North Carolina State alums and the Wolfpack was considered the team to beat early in his recruitment. "North Carolina got started later in recruiting me after the other schools," Moss said. "They have such a great program and it is a luxury to be able to sit back and evaluate."
UNC pitching coach Scott Forbes witnessed Moss's performance at the Impact Showcase at Elon along with a score of scouts and recruiters. "I was pitching in front of all of these big time college coaches," Moss recalled. "I never thought that I would be able to play Division I baseball for a team like UNC - it was like a dream come true for me."
Moss decided to verbally commit to UNC shortly thereafter because of the success of the Diamond Heels and his comfort level with their coaching staff. "I really enjoy the coaches - I really enjoy how Coach Jackson and Forbes are real personable," he said. "Talking with them is like talking with one of your friends. I did not meet Coach Fox until my visit when we sat down and met up."
Moss chose North Carolina over notable offers from NC State, South Carolina and East Carolina.
"The big thing for me was academics - UNC is top notch, much like a public Ivy League school," Moss said. "I can not decide between going for an MBA or pre-medicine and maybe be an orthopedic surgeon. I am not certain which path I am going to choose yet."
Moss throws his fastball in the mid-90s and can locate it anywhere in the strike zone. He also features a plus curveball and very effective changeup in the low 80s that keeps hitters off balance. He has an effective slider at around 77 mph and has been experimenting with a cut fastball. When Moss has everything working on the mound his release point and arm action is very similar and repeatable.
Moss also plays in the outfield, but is primarily a pitching prospect. Defensively Moss should be like having a fifth infielder based on his superlative feel for positioning in the outfield and balance coming off of the mound.
Last season Moss posted a 1.37 earned run average while holding opposing batters to a .109 average. He struck out 72 batters in his seven starts while only walking 10. He is six victories away from being the Rocky Mount career leader in wins.
"He is probably one of the best that I have seen as far as his determination and work ethic," stated Rocky Mount head coach Kent Cox. "He does not like it when he makes mistakes. When he goes out to the mound on nights that he pitches he is a really a different person. Any time you have him out there on the mound you have a chance to win. He spots the ball well and he is a true leader and the boys rally behind him when he is out there on the mound. Benton will be a really good asset to North Carolina, barring injury. He is going to get in there and work hard and be a big asset to their pitching staff.
"Benton is probably our second best outfielder and could have been our best if we did not need him pitching so much. He plays a great outfield. He gets great jumps on balls and understands the positioning where he is supposed to be and is a threat to throw a runner out making the turn to second at any time because of his arm strength from pitching. He has a few things to work on at the plate - he swings a pretty good bat- he worked hard last year on it; he gets frustrated when he does not hit as well as he thinks he should. He does a great job as a field player. When he does not pitch I think we are better defensively with him out there."
Moss said he has been taken aback at how his baseball stock has risen in the last year or two, as he is a targeted prospect for the 2011 draft. "It is all exciting," he elaborated about the process. "I am enjoying it because if I go to Chapel Hill it will all happen again in three or four years. I have my first in-home visit with a scout with the Brewers [the next day]. Money is a factor no matter who you are - it is a factor with everyone because that is exactly what they think you are worth. They would have to allow me to work towards my degree while playing or pay for my college outright after. I really want to have the opportunity to get an education."
He noted that he is excited about the opportunity to head to Chapel Hill for a combination of top academics and athletics. "I want to go up there to Chapel Hill and work so hard that I make an impact on the team," Moss said. "North Carolina went to the College World Series for four years in a row and I really want to be one of the ones that works hard and helps them to get back there - that is the ultimate goal. I want to be a pitcher that they can remember."