The Moore things change, the Moore they stay the same

csmith@newsobserver.comMay 24, 2013 

N.C. State running back Mustafa Greene (33) tries to beat the tackle by Connecticut linebacker Sio Moore (3) during the first half of N.C. State's game against Connecticut Saturday, September 8, 2012, at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, CT.

ETHAN HYMAN — ehyman@newsobserver.com Buy Photo

Change is something Sio Moore knows all too well.

After spending his freshman year of high school in Connecticut, Moore moved to Apex to live with his sister. He starred as a running back and defensive end for the Apex Cougars and earned a scholarship from the University of Connecticut to become a linebacker.

Just when he felt a comfort level with the Huskies, Randy Edsall, the coach who recruited him, left after Moore enjoyed a stellar sophomore season. Moore had to adjust to a new scheme and a new voice in his ear.

So after all the changes, Moore was ready to move to another new city to start his NFL career.

“I’m perfectly fine with change at this point, because I’ve been through it,” Moore said. “All it does is get you prepared for the future and whatever that might bring. A lot of things happen on the fly, so you have to learn to adjust to that. I think I’m able to do that better than most.”

After being a starter with the Huskies for three years, Moore was taken in the third round with the 66th overall pick by the Oakland Raiders.

But his ascent to the NFL was not as evident from the start of his high school career.

After he fell behind in school, Moore moved from West Haven, Conn., to live with his sister, who is 18 years older than him. When he realized he would have to sit out from athletics for a year, Moore felt it was probably best to listen to his sister about getting his grades up.

That move paid off as his GPA went from just below 2.0 to nearly 3.0 in one year. Moore finished at Apex with a 2.75 GPA, something he accredits to his sister sending him to the library every day after school while she was at work.

“Coming back to Apex, I’ve been reminded of a lot of times where football wasn’t even the biggest thing on my plate,” Moore said. “Now football is my life, and I’m so grateful for everything that I’ve been given and for the way it all worked out.”

In high school, that hard work earned Moore the nod as a running back for the Cougars. Coach Bob Wolfe, who retired in 2011, said he could see Moore’s talent right away.

“From the first time I saw him, I said, ‘He looks like a pretty good athlete, I wonder if he plays football,’ ” Wolfe said. “We felt like he had a lot of potential and put him at running back first. But then his senior year, we worked with him as a defensive end, and he excelled at that.

“There really wasn’t anything we threw at him that he couldn’t do … but I think he’s found a home as an outside backer.”

While Moore prides himself on being able to adjust, he wasn’t ready for his change in draft stock – dropping from a potential early second-round pick all the way to fourth pick in the third round.

Then again, before his junior season Moore was projected as a seventh-rounder.

The 6-foot-2 linebacker followed up a college junior season in which he finished with 16 tackles for loss with a senior season that earned him an All-Big East first-team selection.

And even after finishing in the top five in every category at the NFL combine among linebackers, Moore was the 11th linebacker selected.

“I’m happy to have the opportunity to go where I went,” Moore said. “But I felt as though I made my point on the field and at the combine. I feel like I was the best linebacker and the Oakland Raiders got the best. Now I just have to get to work and prove that to my team.”

Now, Moore hopes to prove that he can adapt to changes at any level.

Smith: 919-829-4841; @RCorySmith

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