A Spot For The Taking

A solid head nod and a broad smile prove Corey Moore has given thought to Georgia's current status at the safety position.

But the acknowledgement of a chance for early playing time stops with those subtle indications.

Wisely, Moore, an incoming freshman from Griffin, is saying all the right things about the open position created by Alec Ogletree's move to linebacker prior to spring practice.

"I had in mind—as my mindset, I was coming to come in and work," Moore, 6-foot-1, 195-pounds, said. "With Alec moving to linebacker, that really opened it up. Just me having my mindset, if I'm going to start I'm going to have to chase it. I realize it's there, and I'm going 110 percent for the position."

Truthfully, Moore doesn't need any added pressure. There will be plenty to learn in a short time once he gets to Athens in early June.

But the depth, or lack thereof, at safety will provide Moore the opportunity to see the field early in 2011—and in more than just a capacity on special teams.

Upperclassmen Jakar Hamilton and Shawn Williams have starting experience. Neither was able to use that advantageously this spring, as the starting role opposite Bacarri Rambo was not solidified.

Through Ogletree's emergence at the end of 2010, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham established he would play true freshmen—start them even—if that were the best option.

"Oh, we're going to play the best at each position," Grantham has said more than once. "I don't care how old they are."

Moore may be next in line.

"I think he's going to have an opportunity," said Corey's father, O.J. Moore. "I've been challenging him for a while now, asking him about what he's going to do when he gets to Athens."

Playing early isn't a possibility solely because Georgia is lacking proven players at the position.

Coming from Griffin, Moore played both corner and safety in a system that is similar to what Georgia runs. There are, obviously, differences between the high school and college level, but Moore played at or near the line of scrimmage more frequently than many high school teams use their safety. At times, Moore pressed receivers in the slot. Other plays, Moore was responsible for cracking blockers head-on in the run game.

Grantham's 3-4 scheme at Georgia routinely calls for the safety to perform similar duties in the box.

"I love playing down on the line of scrimmage," Moore said. "I love being physical. That's my game, being physical and ball-hawking. At Griffin, we kind of played that a little bit. I'd come in and cover the inside receiver at the line and get in his face and hit him. That's what Georgia's going to run pretty much. Just getting in there and getting physical—that's what I'm looking forward to."

Moore has set out to achieve a lofty goal before. He was officially the Bulldogs second commitment in the 2011 class (just minutes after fellow safety Chris Sanders), pledging a full year before signing day.

Incoming freshman Corey Moore has a chance to play at safety in 2011.

That moment—sitting in Mark Richt's office and becoming a Bulldog—was years in the making.

"I don't look at it as taking pride, but I had my mind set on committing to Georgia in my ninth grade year," Moore says. "I said whenever I get that chance to play for Georgia, I'm going to take it. Me being one of the first to commit, I just wanted to get it out of the way and recruit more players from around the state. The Dream Team is what they called it, but I wanted to be the one to make that become a reality."

And the dream did become a reality, as Georgia hauled in the sixth best class in the country. While many fans clamored about the kids the Bulldogs closed with, Moore was a consummate component of the Dream Team.

He may not have been forgotten, but early commits are lost in the shuffle at times.

"Like I said, I've challenged him myself every so often," says O.J., who played basketball at Mercer from 1987-90. "I've shown him what people have written about him in the past. And at times, I haven't shown what other people have said, too. Corey's always been a leader though. Motivation hasn't ever been a problem with him. I know he's got to take things slow at first and get used to everything and learn what to do on the field. He knows that, too. But he's a good kid, and I think he's going to do all the right things."

If Moore can do all the right things this summer and into the fall, he may find himself in the conversation at safety come September.

But don't expect to hear about those chances from Moore's mouth.

"I just like to play and show out on the field," he explains. "Just going 110 percent out on the field and not doing a lot of talking."

Because when it comes to a new player on the scene talking before doing, less is Moore. A head nod and smile are enough at this point to show he understands.

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