Moody comfortable in big-city lights

Published: Wednesday, January 7, 2009 at 3:01 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 7, 2009 at 3:01 p.m.

MIAMI – Emmanuel Moody has seen this all before.

This might be his first time the sophomore running back has been through the circus that is the national championship, but the scenery is eerily familiar.

Moody, who transferred from Southern Cal to Florida in the fall of 2007, said during UF’s media day Monday he had no initial shock when he first stepped foot off the team plane in Fort Lauderdale or when he got off the bus in Miami. The skyscrapers, beach and expensive shops were nothing new to the former Los Angeles denizen.

The only noticeable difference Moody has seen is the abundance of palm trees, water and the dramatic rise in temperature.

Regardless, both places seem to suit Moody’s needs just fine.

“I can’t complain about either city,” he said.

The Texas native claims to have seen his fair share of celebrities while hanging in Beverly Hills and roaming Rodeo Drive and Santa Monica Boulevard.

He hesitates to recite the names of famous people he’s had run-ins with at the grocery store because he admits to not being able to recognize them without their makeup-caked faces or designer outfits.

Moody makes it no secret that he never truly bought into the Hollywood hype and views celebrities as just people. However, the often quiet Moody sports a grin that stretches from ear to ear when he mentions the name of one person he’d like to meet while strolling down the street.

No famous actor or politician could bring Moody the same kind of joy that NFL Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders would.

“That’s my biggest celebrity out there, man,” he said. “He’s the best to ever run. It’d be cool to talk to him and see what his regimen was and sit down and see how he is.

“People are people, but Barry Sanders is a guy that I respected growing up.”

Sanders is impressive, but even Moody acknowledges to have fallen into the trap of being star struck at least once in his life.

“I saw Will Smith at a hotel on Santa Monica,” he said. “That’s the Fresh Prince right there.”

The rap-star-turned-TV-star-turned-movie-star impressed Moody so much that the 6-foot, 210-pound bruising back stopped immediately and failed to gain the confidence to walk across the street to shake the multi-millionaire’s hand.

If the opportunity arose during his week in south Florida to meet the artist, who coincidentally had a hit song named “Miami” in 1997, Moody said the one thing he’d like to do is sit and joke around with the man known for his catchy one-liners.

While Moody said he’s a fan of Smith, he’s not too sold on his dancing ability.

“He’s too tall,” Moody said. “Tall people can’t really dance.”

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