January 31, 2011

Moore Boom! for Vols

Tennessee's 2011 recruiting class got "Moore" impressive on Monday night when junior college defensive back Byron Moore pulled the trigger for the Vols.

Moore signed with Southern California coming out of high school, but he chose to leave the Trojans program when former USC head coach Pete Carroll bolted for the NFL. A year at the JUCO level made Moore smarter and wiser. He chose to become a Volunteer because of three people.

"Coach (Derek) Dooley, coach (Terry) Joseph, and coach (Justin) Wilcox," Moore said. "I think I'm gonna nickname them the big three. From the first time I got a call from Joseph and he offered me, they recruited me as hard as they could. They called to check on me every week. They flew out here to see me whenever they were allowed and showed me the plan they had for me. They never talked about any other school.

"Coach Dooley seems like a father more then a coach and he really cares about his players being successful off the field. I cant wait to play for those guys. The SEC speaks for itself and I feel the academic support staff at UT will be great to work with as I work towards my degree."

Coming out of high school, Moore didn't take a lot of trips. The trips he did take were late in the game because he had been committed to USC since his junior season. This time around, he approached things differently and it paid off.

"I took my time and took all five trips," Moore said. "I recruited the schools and asked them every question possible. It helped being at USC for a year so I know other things to ask about that a regular high school recruit doesn't really know about yet. I didn't let people around me influence my decision."

Moore chose the Vols over Miami and it was a tough decision. His recruiting process almost ended back in December after his visit to Tennessee. Miami made a late push, but in the end the Vols were to much to overcome.

"After my trip I got a good feeling I would go there," Moore said. "But I wanted to see how the coaches would act after the visit. Would they continue to recruit me hard and stuff like that. And they did they impressed me all the time. Flying out to L.A. just for me and going right back to Tennessee. I talked to them on the phone all the time about stuff outside of football. Coach Dooley was one of the head coaches that was calling me personally and not just letting his assistants handle everything.

"With Miami it made it a tough decision because coach Carroll and Franklin are there and I was with them at USC and Miami has a lot of tradition and success with putting players in the NFL but I felt Tennessee was the better fit for me."

Rumors floated all over message boards the last couple of weeks as Moore got closer to his decision. What was he thinking as the speculation grew about his eventual decision?

"Nothing really," Moore said. "Everybody gonna have their opinion about where I'm going and try to make a guess. It's just funny all the stuff people would tell me about that fans were saying. Like all my classes wont make it into Miami and everyone around me was pushing me to Miami. Its just crazy. But if there weren't Internet recruiting sites then there wouldn't be anything for them to talk about. So it keeps them busy."

With the ability to play both defensive back and safety, Moore shows a great amount of versatility. He can't wait to run through the T and put on the orange and white. It's all about the competition and head to head matchups each and every day.

"I want to compete at everything I do," Moore said. "I want to surround myself with people who want to compete. Whenever I think about the SEC, all I think about is the great teams you play every week and I couldn't pass that up. I'm a hard worker and I love to learn and be a student of the game. I can get people around me motivated and confident with that swag that they can beat anybody."

Moore has lofty goals for the rest of his college career. He hopes to see them realized through hard work, determination, and the drive to be the best.

"Keep improving my game and prove why I should win the Thorpe award," Moore said, referencing the honor bestowed upon college football's top defensive back. "Get the secondary ready to go to battle each week and win the SEC championship and a national championship."

The culture in East Tennessee is just a little bit different from Southern California and Moore knows he won't be at home anymore. He also knows that's not a bad thing and enjoys the more laid-back and passionate place that is Rocky Top.

"Cali, you're just a person in one of the big cities," Moore said. "Tennessee will feel more like a home and you're in a town where everyone knows you and wants you to do good. I just look forward to seeing something new. I been in Cali for 19 years and now I'm blessed football will give me the chance to experience a new chapter in life for the next 3 years."

A chapter that Vol fans hope will be "Moore" exciting than ever.

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