football Edit

The Next Riley Moss? John Nestor Ascending at Corner for Iowa

Iowa sophomore defensive back John Nestor was repeatedly likened to Riley Moss at Tuesday's media availability.
Iowa sophomore defensive back John Nestor was repeatedly likened to Riley Moss at Tuesday's media availability. (Eliot Clough)

IOWA CITY -- Over 54 games for Iowa, Riley Moss amassed 158 tackles, 37 pass breakups and 11 interceptions. In 2021, he was tabbed First Team All-Big Ten, earned a spot as a Third-Team All-American, and was named the Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year.

Phil Parker and the Iowa defense believe they may have the newest version of Moss on the roster, just two years after the now-Denver Bronco left Iowa City. John Nestor, a former three-star defensive back out of Marist High School on the south side of Chicago, may be the new Moss.


This isn't the first time we've heard the comparison between the two defensive backs. Xavier Nwankpa made the connection last fall.

"He's a great player," Nwankpa said of Nestor. "I see a lot of potential in him. He's kind of like a Riley Moss. I'm excited to see what he's going to do in the coming years."

At the time, when Nestor was still a true freshman, he mostly saw the field on special teams, playing in ten games on punt coverage. Nwankpa has seen his continued growth at the defensive back position through the spring.

"He's had a really good spring," Nwankpa said. "He's got his hand on some balls and is making a bunch of good plays or us. I'm really excited for what he's going to do this fall. It's exciting to have a guy like Riley back."

"They just move similarly. If Coach Parker sees a clip of Riley, he just compares him to John every time. So, it's easy to see. They've got similar speed, but I think John has a little better ball skills right now."

Nestor is as hungry to learn and grow as anyone on the roster right now, too.

"They have a really good connection," Nwankpa said. "He really wants to learn from Coach Parker, and Coach Parker is one of the best in the business. So, John implementing and taking what he's saying is really going to help him, too."

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That comparison is something Nestor has heard plenty about, too.

"Yeah, I knew that was coming," he laughed. "It's a great honor being compared to Riley. I'm not big on comparisons, but Riley is a guy I look up to. I try to play my own game in a way, but I've heard we had a similar quickness and explosiveness out of breaks. I mean, he got so many awards and stuff. If I even touch the surface of that, I'll be glad. I'm chasing to try to be someone like him and be able to achieve some of the things he did."

Nestor isn't taking the opportunity to earn snaps on defense this spring for granted, and he knows he'll have to earn anything he gets in a competition with Deshaun Lee and TJ Hall behind veteran Jermari Harris.

"I'm hoping for more of a role at corner," Nestor said. "I'm working for it every day. We've just got an opportunity at the end of the day -- me and a couple of other guys. Whoever earns it, earns it. We're all working our butts off day-in and day-out. We'll see what happens."

For now, Nester leads the defensive back group in their annual spring competition where they track deflections, tackles, interceptions and more

"John is really on top right now," Nwankpa said. "He's made a lot of plays this spring. We'll see how it ends up these last two weeks."