Illini In Pursuit Of Star Maryland DE

Though not very deep, the Illini defensive line had a significant impact last year. Looking to reload talent on the line, Illini coaches are looking to Maryland for a highly-touted prospect at defensive end.

Standing at 6'4", 255 pounds, Michael Moore from DeMatha Catholic High School used all his abilities to establish himself as an elite defensive end. He used his size, strength, and athleticism to help lead DeMatha to a state title appearance. Unfortunately, the Stags fell short in the championship game, which ended a memorable season for both Moore and his team.

Moore shared his thoughts on how he felt about the season and how he is looking for nothing less this fall.

"Individually, it went really well. I got to start for the first time, and I was able to play as both a pass rusher and stop-the-run type of guy. We didn't win the championship, though, so it was a little disappointing.

"Next year, I want to get back and win the championship. We will need a lot of younger guys to step up and help us with that task. I just want to be the guy who leads our defense to a state title."

Scout lists Moore is a three-star prospect. He boasts a total of 22 offers from teams in ACC, Big 10, Big East, and SEC. One of the conferences going after Moore the hardest is the Big 10, with five offers.

"I am talking to Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Iowa, and Illinois. They all seem to be going after me pretty hard right now."

Defensive Line Coach Keith Gilmore has been recruiting Moore. Moore and Coach Gilmore are in the beginning phase of developing a relationship, but Moore still enjoys what the coach has to say.

"Coach Gilmore and I don't have a close relationship, but I talk to him every now and then. He seems like a good coach, and he is always asking me how everything is going—talking to me about my personal life. He is always wondering about anything new, things I need to get better on, and little things like that."

Gilmore and the rest of the Illinois staff don't offer players without purpose. Each player has to be looked at carefully to evaluate what they can bring to the team. Moore brings many positives, both physically and mentally.

"People tell me that I am athletic for my size, and I have good quickness and explosiveness. Also, I would say that I am always really calm. I never really trash talk with anybody or get in any fights. I just stay calm and quiet. I never really let the pressure get to me, so it helps me out a lot."

With that being said, Moore understands he can still improve on his game and always wants to know the things that need work.

"The number one thing I hear I need to improve on is to stay lower when I come out of my stance. So that is something I definitely want to work on during summertime."

Choosing one school out of 20 can be a difficult task, but Moore knows exactly what he's looking for when analyzing which schools catch his interest.

"The number one thing I look for in a school is tradition; what they have done in the past, their winning percentages, and some of the players that have come out interest me.

"Besides that, there is not much else I look for except that I want to be familiar with my position coach. I know coaches will come and go and they can leave at any time, but I still try and be familiar with the position coach because he will be my next coach."

Moore said be visiting Virginia, Clemson, and South Carolina in the near future. He also plans on visiting Illinois in either the late spring or summer. So, what will he be looking for when he goes on those visits?

"I look at their players to see what they have in their program, what the facilities are like, and what their campus is like. I want to make sure I can live there for four years."

Moore is planning to make a decision on a school soon rather than letting the process carry on and possibly be a distraction.

"I want to get the decision done early, that way I can focus on the season. So right now I plan on having a top list by the end of the school year. Then, I'm going to try and commit by the start of next season. But if that doesn't happen, then it doesn't happen."

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