When Benton Moss accepted a scholarship to the University of North Carolina, he did so with the intent of having a well-rounded college experience while playing baseball.
It appears he isn’t leaving Chapel Hill until he earns his fill of both.
Moss, a talented right-handed pitcher, will return to the Tar Heels for his senior season, making the decision to forgo the opportunity to play in the San Francisco Giants organization, which drafted him in the 15th round of last month’s MLB Amateur Draft.
Moss, a 2011 graduate of Rocky Mount High School, had until July 18th to agree to contract terms with the Giants, but he made his decision Thursday night after nearly a month of thought and prayer.
“It was the right decision for me,” Moss said. “Ultimately, you have to follow your heart and what it’s excited about. When I sat down and was honest with myself, it was the best decision for me.”
Moss, who is attending North Carolina on the prestigious Morehead-Cain Scholarship, is on course to graduate next spring with degrees in Business Adminstration and Economics.
The idea of not graduating, having a final run at the College World Series appearance and enjoying a string of extra-curricular activities was too much to ignore.
Moss, who selected by the Giants with the 448th pick, said he gave San Francisco a hard-line signing bonus figure that it would have taken to sway him from another season in Chapel Hill.
He learned that those negotiations often were contingent on the signing of the organization’s draft picks.
“We talked, and I think at the end of day it can’t be about just the money,” Moss said. “It’s what you really want to do at the moment. What I really wanted to do is finish out my senior year.”
Moss said he is looking forward to the draft process next season and being the “grandpa” of a developing Tar Heels squad.
Moss, who was named to the Atlantic Coast Conference’s All-Academic team for a third season in a row, finished 4-2 with a 3.62 ERA in 15 starts last season.
He threw a career-high 97 innings – including one complete game – and said that he was encouraged about pitching deep into most of his starts.
North Carolina finished 35-27 last season, including a 15-15 mark in the ACC.
That mark was not ideal for the Tar Heels, who have played in 13 consecutive NCAA regional tournaments.
The return of Moss, who leaned on his faith to make his decision, seemingly will be beneficial for all parties.
“For me, God cares what you do, but more about how you do it,” Moss said. “At the end of the day, it comes down to letting your faith work out itself and where you are passionate at. My heart was set on having an impact on and off the field at Carolina.”
Jessie H. Nunery can be reached at 407-9959 or firstname.lastname@example.org