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USCU FALL15 Magazine Online

The odds were always long, but what outstanding high school three-sport letterman doesn’t dream of making it to the pinnacle of any sport whether it be the National Football League, National Basketball Association or Major League Baseball? So, what if only 6.5 percent of the 1 million high school athletes play in college? What if only 1.6 percent of college athletes are drafted by the NFL or only 1.2 percent drafted by a major NBA team…it’s still possible, right? David James “D.J.” Moore dared to believe that it was, and as a senior at Spartanburg’s Gettys D. Broome High School he took a first step toward making his dream come true when he earned a scholarship to play football at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. “Initially, when I first arrived at Vandy, I was just happy with getting to play,” said Moore. “But when you read the percentages of players who go from high school to college then on to the NFL, I guess it is pretty amazing.” D.J. Moore was a star football player at Broome High School and Vanderbilt University. As he had done throughout his high school career, Moore found a way to be successful at the collegiate level. “One of the biggest adjustments in transitioning from high school athletics to college was time management,” noted Moore. “Finding a balance between studying, practice and games…and never underestimating that there’s always a risk of losing your scholarship.” Excelling in Division I and the Southeastern Conference, Moore played three seasons as defensive back at Vanderbilt starting 34 of 37 games and recording 13 interceptions which tied for third in school history. He finished his freshman year ranked among the University’s Top Ten with 27 solo tackles and 37 total tackles. In his sophomore and junior years, he earned First Team All-SEC honors from the Associated Press and ranked among SEC and national leaders in several defensive statistical categories. He was named an All-American in his junior year while helping Vanderbilt win the 2008 Music City Bowl. Following his junior year, Moore made the decision to forego his senior year and enter the NFL draft. Selected by the Chicago Bears in the fourth round in the 2009 draft, he “played bigger than his 5-foot-9, 180-pound frame would indicate,” according to one Chicago Tribune newspaper article. After four years with the Bears, Moore signed a one-year contract with the Carolina Panthers. He then signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2014. His professional career helped him become a better student of the game and taught him to not take anything for granted. “You learn to work harder, especially since you find yourself in a world where everyone is battling for position and playing time,” stressed Moore. “You also have to find a way to stay grounded because you’re growing up and becoming a man in a world where you can still be a kid (by playing football), so to speak.” Fall 2015 Upstate Magazine 6 


USCU FALL15 Magazine Online
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