CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- After moving to offensive line a year ago, T.J. Moore collected a handful of scholarship offers. The 6-foot-4, 272-pounder then helped Mallard Creek claim its third straight state championship.
“He’s aggressive,” said Mallard Creek assistant coach Jose Garcia. “He’s an unbelievable talent, super athlete, and just willing to do what is necessary to win.”
Prior to his junior year, Moore was a junior varsity defensive tackle. But when promoted to varsity heading into the 2015 season, he was converted to O-line. There, he became Mallard Creek’s season-opening starting right tackle.
Moore remained at right tackle until Mallard Creek entered the playoffs. During the Mavericks’ playoff run – which ended with its third consecutive NCHSAA 4AA Championship – he flipped to right guard.
“Throughout the year, we mixed our O-line a little bit just trying to find the right combination of guys,” Garcia said. “We had some injuries and had to move some people around. Going into the playoffs, we just thought that was a better move for us as a team.”
Before starting a single varsity game, Moore had already begun to collect scholarship offers opening with South Carolina. East Carolina, Kentucky, North Carolina, and NC State eventually followed suit.
Moore landed his UNC offer with his performance at the Tar Heels’ camp last summer.
A week ago, Moore returned to UNC for the Tar Heels’ exclusive junior day. The event was held in conjunction with the nationally televised basketball game against Duke.
“It was amazing,” Moore said. “The game was intense the whole time. The fans, especially the student section, was amazing.”
Throughout his stay, Moore was shadowed by Gunter Brewer, who recruits Charlotte for UNC, and Chris Kapilovic, the Tar Heels’ offensive line coach. Kapilovic told Moore that he projects as a guard in college, but hasn’t rule out a return to right tackle.
“If you were to ask me [about his college position] at the beginning of the year, I would have said tackle,” Garcia said. “But asking me that after the season, I’m going to say guard. We pull a lot and he’s athletic enough to pull and he’s really aggressive at the point of contact.”
In addition to UNC, Moore has visited Florida, NC State, and South Carolina. He’s scheduled to visit Kentucky on March 5 (his birthday) and then Penn State on April 2.
Moore, who is eying an early senior year decision, is reluctant to name favorite schools. But, he did say UNC and South Carolina have caught his attention.
“I like it down in Chapel Hill,” Moore said. “I like the atmosphere there and at South Carolina. I also like Coach [Shawn] Elliott [at South Carolina]. Both schools have great coaches. The new dorms at South Carolina are amazing.”
“We have a strong relationship and we have that bond together,” Moore said. “I don’t know if we’re all going to stay together in college, but if we did it would be amazing.”
Jones has already made a verbal commitment. The athlete pledged to UNC in early February and has been recruiting Moore ever since.
In addition to his Mallard Creek teammates, Moore is close with D.J. Humphries, a Mallard Creek alum who played collegiately at Florida before the Arizona Cardinals drafted him in the first round of the 2015 draft. The two speak a couple of times a month… Moore grew up a UNC fan.