Wednesday, November 2, 2011

the recruit: C.J. Moore

Name: C.J. Moore
Position: CB
Hometown: Buford, GA
School: Buford
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 165

24/7: 80; three stars
ESPN: 75; three stars; #68 CB; Southeast #512; GA #107
Rivals: 5.4; two stars
Scout: three stars; #87 CB

Other offers: Wake Forest, Air Force, Navy, Rice, Memphis

This is the third prospect named Moore that it's been my pleasure to profile this year, so get all the "all your Moores are belong to us" jokes out of your system before we move on.  Moore is the new Wallace, yes?  Actually let's hope not, because two of our three Wallaces washed out.

Anyway, C.J. Moore - he is fast.  Moore has a genetic advantage in the speed department, as he is a nephew to three-time Olympic gold-medal sprinter Gail Devers.  He's a talented cornerback on a powerhouse high school team; he had seven interceptions last year and I think he's got about five this year (but I'm nowhere near sure.)  Buford is mighty as hell.  (If I were them I'd change the school's name to Buford T. Justice High instead of just plain ol' Buford, but I don't get to make those decisions.)  In case you missed it in the weekend review, they are going for their fifth state championship in a row.  They've churned out over 50 college players in the last decade.  They only play in the 2A division in Georgia (which goes up to 5A), but I think it'd be a mistake to cast a skeptical eye at the competition they play.  Buford usually schedules up when they can.  Their league isn't the Beach District, but it's not terrible; remember, they finished the year with Greater Atlanta Christian, which is where we got Malcolm Brogdon.

Despite playing at a place that every school in the South knows about (Buford sends people everywhere in the SEC and beyond), Moore got a pretty weak set of scholarship offers.  Likely this is because of his size.  He doesn't project to grow much, either.  Demetrious Nicholson is skinny but with room to add on.  Moore doesn't look like he's got the ability to add a lot of weight and still keep his speed.  Despite that, he gets a reasonable consensus of lowish three star ratings from the services, except for Rivals which has him pretty far down the list.

The other three services agree, though, so we're going with that.  ESPN is very complimentary of his cornerback skills, largely on the mental side of the game - positioning, timing, etc.  They praise his zone coverage ability and have some questions about man-to-man.  Naturally, a guy Moore's size will have trouble sometimes with man-to-man coverage in college; bigger receivers will almost always be able to get the drop on him.

Run support is a little questionable too; ESPN points out his high tackling form, and that's backed up by his highlight tape.  He's not ready for the college run game; a 5'9", 160-165 pound kid trying to tackle high is gonna be someone's highlight-reel broken tackle.  It's happened to Nicholson a few times this season already and he doesn't even try to bear-hug.  But that's not a difficult habit to break - it might be broken by the time the bullets start flying next September.

Which raises the question; will Moore be on the field?  You know how it is with cornerbacks right now.  It's a bad situation depth-wise, covered up by the fact that we have an all-conference future NFLer manning the position for now.  Said star will be gone next year, as well as the top backup, Dom Joseph, leaving us with exactly three cornerbacks: Nicholson, Brandon Phelps, and track star walk-on Drequan Hoskey.  There are numbers in the incoming freshman class, but it's awfully thin on field-ready talent like Nicholson.  Maurice Canady is playing quarterback right now.  Wil Wahee is more of a two-way athlete right now than a cornerback who moonlights on offense, which is what C.J. Moore is.  I don't know whether Hoskey is ready to assume a nickel-back, in-the-rotation role like what Dom Joseph does now.  Even if so, cornerback is the one position almost certain to see some true freshmen on the field.

And I think Moore has as good a shot as anyone; only Kelvin Rainey in the class of 2012 is as much a natural cornerback as Moore is.  If all goes according to plan, Phelps and Nicholson will own the position for a while, and there's a decent chance the 2012 crop of cornerbacks gets recruited over in the following years.  So I don't see Moore ever really owning the starting job; if he does, it's a while down the road yet.  But his speed alone will get him on the field, and he brings a lot of tools with him; there may or may not ever be a starting position available for him, but there'll almost always be a role.

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