PACK PRIDE Q&A: Airius Moore

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Linebacker Airius Moore talks with Pack Pride about the prospects of playing as a true freshman and more in our recent Q&A.

With the injury to starting middle linebacker M.J. Salahuddin, NC State will have to find a replacement to step up between now and the Pack's opener against Georgia Southern. One player that has earned a ton of praise from defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable is true freshman Airius Moore.

He will likely figure into the Wolfpack's rotation at MLB and Pack Pride caught up with him recently to see how camp is progressing.

Can you talk just a little bit about how you ended up at NC State?
The biggest thing was NC State offered me a scholarship like seven days before signing day. I just looked at the big picture of what would be good for me between NC State and Indiana so it took me about three or four days to come to my final decision of what I wanted. I thought that NC State would be the place for me as far as me becoming a better person, a better football player and things like that.

You actually camped at State but they didn't have a linebacker spot available. Did you feel like State was where you wanted to be at the time?
It was definitely fun. It was hotter than Ohio but it was fun. I liked the coaches. I liked how coach Hux was competitive and a fiery guy and that was someone I wanted to play for.

Coach Huxtable has had a lot of praise for you so far. How do you think you're progressing in camp?
Camp I think is going well. There's ups and downs but there's definitely a lot of competition going on. That's one of the reasons I wanted to come here was so I could compete every single day.

With the injury to M.J. did it make you feel like you needed to step your game up since there was an obvious spot that had to be filled?
No, not really. My mind set all along was just to go out and be the best linebacker I could become. Now the focus is just to play for No. 42 which is M.J. so now we're just working as hard as we can to play for him.

You hear sometimes that freshmen spend so much time thinking about what they're supposed to do that they can't play as fast. Has that been the case at all for you?
I guess that's kind of true in some cases. You've got to be learning the system first so we've doing a lot of studying of the playbook. But as soon as we get that down I think we'll be playing fast.

Did you play in the middle in high school?
Yes sir. I played middle linebacker and running back. It's not different. It's definitely a challenge from high school to college but I'm definitely enjoying it.

What do you feel is the main thing right now that you need to improve at?
I think it just has to be using my hands. That's the biggest thing. In high school you don't have to use your hands that much but in college, offensive linemen can engage you, they can cut block you so you've got to get off blocks and make the tackle.

Any of the guys helped bring you along?
I think every single linebacker. I think they all have helped out and understand and will be there for you. The GA's also help.

When coach Hux is calling out the plays, I stand next to them or a teammate and they can help me with different things I might need help with.

What's it going to be like to run out of that tunnel for your first college game?
It'll definitely be really exciting. It's one of my goals so I can check that off. As soon as that feeling goes away though it's about being the best football player I can be here.

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