"I want to thank Coach (Mack) Brown, Coach (Bo) Davis and everyone at Texas," Moore said. "I enjoyed my time and really appreciate the opportunity I had to play for the Longhorns, but my life-long dream has been to play in the NFL and to have a chance to support my family. I'll definitely miss everyone at Texas and will always pull for the Longhorns, but I'm ready to put all of my energy into preparing for my future and getting ready to work out for NFL scouts."
Moore played in 12 games, including five starts, during his one season at Texas after transferring from East Mississippi Community College (EMCC). He ranked fifth on the team with eight tackles for loss and tied for third with six QB pressures, while also recording 18 tackles and two sacks.
Prior to his two seasons at EMCC, in which he helped the school to the 2011 National Junior College Athletic Association National Championship, Moore spent one season at Alabama after coming out of Carver High School in Montgomery, Ala.
THREE THOUGHTS ON MOORE GOING PRO
1) This might not be as bad a decision as you think
He was inconsistent — it's tough to know how much was injury and how much was Moore fighting to become better conditioned (which was a problem in the spring) — but at times, Moore flashed the ability to be a big-time defensive tackle. And in those moments, not only was Moore Texas's best tackle choice, but he was also an NFL-caliber player.
At 330 pounds, Moore has outstanding size, and at a combine in high school, he ran in the 4.87 range in the 40-yard dash at 320 pounds. Could he do it again? Who knows? But if Moore has the kind of workout a lot of people think he's capable of having, he'll fly up somebody's draft board. Remember that his eight tackles for loss and two sacks compares favorably to a first-round draft pick in last year's draft, Dontari Poe. Poe threw up huge workout numbers, and the Kansas City Chiefs selected him as their 3-4 nose tackle despite his lack of college production against a weaker schedule than what Moore played.
Now, I'm not saying Moore is a first-round pick. I'm just saying that somebody will see those flashes, and if Moore puts up a big workout, somebody will fall in love with him. It also wasn't a bad decision to leave in that Texas is loaded with defensive tackles, so it wasn't like Moore was going to get more chances as a senior.
And that leads to:
2) At the same time, this is one position where Texas has the depth to absorb such a loss
Look, Texas went five-deep at defensive tackle last year with Desmond Jackson, Ashton Dorsey, Malcom Brown, Chris Whaley and Moore. And Moore wound up making the fifth-most tackles out of those players. Brown came on strong as the year finished and was making a push for even more time. And the Longhorns appear to be adding five-star tackle A'Shawn Robinson, who has the bulk and strength to be an immediate factor.
So even if you considered Moore to be an impact player — and a lot of BCS teams would love to have a defensive tackle like Moore in their starting lineup — the Longhorns' depth at that position makes him replaceable. That might sound harsh, but it's the truth.
3) Barring surprises, Texas made out well via the early entries
This is why they hold the NFL Draft after the season. Heading into the year, the thought line was that Texas would return a number of players if the Longhorns weren't drilled by early entries. At the time, Jackson Jeffcoat was thought to be a goner. Carrington Byndom and Jordan Hicks, while not quite the sure things that those two were, were other possibilities. But injuries sidetracked Jeffcoat and Hicks, and Byndom didn't quite have the year everyone expected (though he rebounded nicely at the end of the year).
Any of those three would have been significant blows to Texas's chances to turn the corner in a big way in 2013. Mike Davis would have been a shot as well, had Davis not decided to return in this week's weird "I'm going, no I'm staying" saga.
Moore was a surprising defection, but one at a position the Longhorns are well-equipped to handle. With the other Big 12 title contenders taking bigger losses — Josh Boyce for TCU, Joseph Randle for Oklahoma State and Kenny Stills, Tony Jefferson and Tom Wort for Oklahoma — Texas is set to come out of the early-entry period smelling like roses.