Moffett: A leader on and off the field

By Palm Bay High School standards, 2003 was not a successful year. The Pirates didn't make it past the first round of the state Class 5A playoffs, losing to heavy underdog Winter Springs in the first game. The taste of that loss is still bitter to Neefy Moffett, one of the nation's most coveted linebacker recruits.

Neefy Moffett (6'2", 220lb)

Moffett is moving to linebacker from the defensive end position he played last year and he is trying to lead the way for a team that will feature experience on the defensive side of the ball and youth on offense.

"I like being a team leader," said the 6-2, 220-pounder Thursday night. "I feel like I've been a leader all my life, so this comes natural to me. I think we can have a good team this year and we can make it back to state, but hopefully, we'll do a lot better in the playoffs this year."

Leadership starts by example in the weight room where he's benching 315 right now with a goal to make 400 by September. It's a lofty goal, but he thinks it's attainable and that it sets the right example for his teammates.

"I want them (my teammates) to see me working hard and I want them to see I set high goals for myself," he said.

He is also a leader in the classroom. He's already got the grades and test scores to qualify for a Division I scholarship with a 3.0 in the classroom and a 990 on his first try at the SAT. He's planning to major in engineering or something in the technical field when he gets to college. He's heard from all the football powers in the country, but he's got a top five in mind already.

"If I picked a top five today, it would be FSU, Miami, LSU, USC and Ohio State," he said. "Those are the schools I would visit if I had to pick right now."

If it were up to his mother, Zina Hollis, there would be only one choice.

"I am a Seminole fan to the core," she said. "I despise Florida, but he keeps them on his list along with some other schools. He's going to do what he wants and what he feels best, but he knows where he'd go if I were making the choice." He feels the move to linebacker is one that will take greater advantage of his natural abilities.

"I would say that my chief strengths as a football player are my quick reading ability and my speed," he said. "I think I'm able to see things and make good decisions fast. I think I run pretty well, too, and at linebacker it will be easier for me to play the whole field. At defensive end, you're pretty limited to one side of the field, but at linebacker, you see things better and you can play all over the place."

Moffett is a natural athlete who excels in basketball and track at Palm Bay as well as football. He averaged 18 points and 12 rebounds a game in basketball, and springtime is for running track, something he's done since he was a little guy.

"I've always been blessed with good speed," he said. "I've always been one of the big guys but I've always had good speed, too. I think running track has helped me in football because it's helped me improve my speed."

Timed at 4.5 in the 40-yard dash, he's spending the summer working mostly on strength and endurance since he expects to play both ways in the fall.

"I need to be in better shape to go two ways, and I definitely want to get stronger," he said. "It's my senior year. I want to go out doing my best, so I'm putting in the work now to get ready."

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