FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - All of a sudden South Carolina’s class of linebackers looks pretty good.
Skai Moore (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./University) chose the Gamecocks over Rutgers and Vanderbilt in the first signing day decision to go South Carolina’s way this recruiting season. Moore becomes a key piece to the class at a position that needs retooling after the loss of four seniors and another player, Cedrick Cooper, due to injury.
Moore was quiet late in the process but the Gamecocks were trending towards the top of his list since his official visit on January 18. The one-time Rutgers commitment visited the Scarlet Knights’ program a week later but South Carolina was too difficult to overcome.
“I just felt like I really couldn’t pass up that opportunity,” Moore said. “I’ve established a great relationship with coach Brown, coach Botkin, and coach Spurrier. My opportunity to go in and play early is a great one. If I go in and do what I’m supposed to do, I could be in there starting from day one. I’m very excited and ready to get over there.”
Moore received some late love from his childhood dream school, Miami, on Tuesday night. The Canes tabled a late offer to the four-star prospect, who didn’t flinch at the decision he had already made.
“If they would have came two or three weeks ago, it may have been a different day for me,” Moore said, “but I’m very excited about South Carolina.”
Moore signs at a great position of need for the Gamecocks, which is a factor that played into his decision. The depth chart is wide open with only one healthy scholarship linebacker on the roster returning in 2013 - sophomore Kaiwan Lewis.
“It’s an equal playing field to go in and compete,” Moore said. “I know they signed a few guys in my class. The best player is going to play and that’s something I’m really excited about.”
South Carolina has signed two other linebackers in the class - Larenz Bryant (Charlotte, N.C./Vance) and David Johnson (Lithonia, Ga./Lithonia) - but Moore enters with the hopes of making an immediate impact on the 2013 team.
Four-star linebacker Skai Moore shows off his custom-made hat after the signing ceremony
The chance at early playing time wasn’t the only major factor in Moore’s decision. Even though the Gamecocks didn’t come on strong until late in the process, he formed a strong relationship with the coaches, including future position coach Kirk Botkin.
“He’s a very vibrant coach,” Moore said. “He’s very lively and seems like he can teach me a lot to mold me into a good football player. I’m ready to go up there and play for him.”
Moore is also looking forward to playing in the Southeastern Conference and the atmosphere at Williams-Brice Stadium. The four-star soon-to-be-signee already has a lot of love for the South Carolina fan base and is ready to play in front of 80,250 screaming fans.
“They came in a week before Christmas,” Moore said. “At first, I wasn’t high on them but I took a visit and got to know the coaches and some of the guys in the recruiting class like Devin Washington. I established a great relationship with them.”
Since South Carolina came in a bit late in the recruiting process, Moore didn’t follow the 11-2 season very closely. He said he watched the opening game against Vanderbilt and then the Outback Bowl against Michigan.
The bowl game stood out to him as he was paying particularly close to the defense to see how he would fit in.
“That Michigan game really intrigued me watching how their defense got after it and how tenacious they were,” Moore said. “That’s something I want to be a part of. It’s what I was a part of at University School, a defense with some dogs on it. That’s something that intrigued me and I’m happy.”
Moore is a four-star prospect according to 247Sports with a 90 rating and is ranked as the No. 22 outside linebacker in the country. He is a three-star prospect with an 88 rating on the industry-generated 247Composite scale.
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