Michael Moore was not heavily recruited out of Escondido High in California. In fact, he didn't even start playing football at the high school level until he was a junior. That led to a late start in his recruiting process. There was another issue as well that contributed to the lack of attention.
"Growing up, I was a three sport athlete including football, basketball and track," Moore said. "When I went to high school, I was very underized, which kept me from playing football my freshman and sophomore year. When I came back to play my junior and senior year, I was not very stellar but had the potential.
"The reason I took the JUCO route was because of my grades. I was not able to acepted with the mediocre grades I had. I took my first year of junior college off sports wise because i wanted to focus on my academics."
Moore did just that, focusing on school work and succeeding in the classroom. Despite that, something was missing. A desire deep inside of himself was still burning. Moore missed football.
"The longer I went without football, the more I missed it," he said.
The second semester Moore was enrolled at Palomor he decided to scratch the football itch. He joined the football program during the spring. Now possessing the proper tools of a long, 6-foot-3 frame combined with superior athleticism, he just needed someone to pull out of him what he knew was there all along.
"I went through spring ball with Palomar College and had the proper coaching that developed me as a student-athlete," Moore said. "They prepare players such as myself incredibly and we are able to come in knowing what to expect and do very well."
Because Palomar took his freshman season off, essentailly, it counts as a redshirt year in terms of NCAA eligibility. He has three years left to play three going forward.
But because he did not play as a true freshman in junior college, he was listed on Palomar's roster as a freshman. That led many to believe, without digging deeper, that he required a second year before he could transfer to a division one institution.
That was not the case.
A few schools expressed interest in Moore, understanding he could become part of their program for the upcoming season. He took visits to Utah State and Louisiana-Monroe. He visited both in January. National Signing Day came and went. Moore was still available.
Then, an ACC school called in the Syracuse Orange.
"Yeah it was one for the books," Moore said. "It was a quick recruiting process. They were talking to me about two weeks before we set up a visit. They wanted me to join for a special time in Syracuse history and believed I can have that immediate impact on the team. They see me fitting into the system because of my length, athleticism and ball skills.
"Everything you need to be in a Tampa 2 defense."
Indeed it seemed like the perfect fit. And playing power five football was not something lost on Moore either. But there was still the matter of the visit. The Palomar standout scheduld a trip to Syracuse for February 25th through the 27th. It did not take long before he knew he was home.
"I knew when I got to sit down with the coaches," Moore said. "I was able to see how hungry they are to compete against the schools in our converence. Knowing that we are able to beat teams like Clemson and Florida State. I was able to see it in the players' eyes as well. We all shared the same idea. Shock the nation.
"Also, (the) Whitman (School) had a huge impact. Business is what I want to study and they offer it at a high level."
With his mind made up, the only thing left was for Moore to inform the coaches.
"I talked to (head) coach (Dino) Babers for the second time and we had a brief and important few words. He asked me, 'do you want to be here?' and immediately I said yes. As soon as I stepped out of his office, the coaching staff erupted."
The decision, once Moore saw the campus in person and spent time with the coaches, was ultimately an easy one.
"Syracuse has such a rich history in all aspects such as football, basketball, academics and anything you can imagine," he said. "The overall fan base is amazing and makes someone as myself coming in feel welcome. Also, I believe in the new coaching staff.
"Really good coaches on and off the field. Plus, you can't go wrong with the ACC. (The) opportunity to complete against some of the best, which is always fun."
On Tuesday, things became official. He signed his letter of intent and Syracuse finalized the details on their end. News broke about the addition to the Orange program. For fans it was excitement about his potential and making the team better. For Moore and family, it was about more than that.
"Opportunity," he said. "Gives me the opportunity to fulfill my dreams of going to the NFL. Also gives my parents the great opportunity of not having to pay for my education. This is amazing for my family and I. My parents know that I will be in good hands with coach Babers and the coaching staff.
"Also, it gives me a chance to make my parents proud by walking with a degree, obtaining the NFL dream or both."
Moore's arrival in Central New York to finish his collegiate football career is only a few short months away. When he does become a part of the program, he wants Syracuse fans to know his goals are very high.
"They can expect a humble, hardworking man first and foremost," Moore said. "They will also get a person that is willing to help out in the community. Also, they can expect an ACC Championship and potentially a National Championship. I will do all in my power to get the football program to what we are expected to be.