Concordia-St. Paul DE Moore gaining attention

Zach Moore of Concordia-St. Paul needed some time to get his priorities right, but after finding the right mix of academics and athletics, he is now squarely on the radar of the NFL scouts and likely a mid-round draft pick. Get the in-depth scoop on the record-setting defensive end.

Zach Moore

Defensive End
Concordia-St. Paul Golden Bears
Chicago, Illinois
Simeon Career Academy High School

It has been a remarkable turnaround for Moore through the last two seasons, as he culminated his college career as the first player in school history to receive an invitation to attend the NFL Scouting Combine. Based on the attention he received from professional scouts during his senior season, Moore proved those talent evaluators correct in their assessment of his potential and still untapped abilities.

At the 2014 event held in Indianapolis, Moore was tested at both defensive end and linebacker, as he arrived at the Scouting Combine close to 15 pounds under his playing weight. While most agree that his school record 33.0 quarterback sacks in a career makes him a better fit to play with his hand down at the line of scrimmage, he did show off his athletic talent with a 1.67-second 10-yard dash and 4.84-second 40-yard run.

It was the long limbs and other agility tests that had teams asking Moore to perform in various other position drills. He displays the long reach (33¾-inch arms) and wing span (811/8-inch) to engulf ball carriers trying to get through the inside rush lanes, but can also combine those long arms and impressive leaping ability (33½-inch vertical jump) to cause problems for quarterbacks trying to fire out tosses underneath. His broad jump of 10'03" placed Moore fourth among the 56 defensive linemen attending the 2014 Combine.

A now-promising future had reached its crossroad late in the 2010 season and Moore had to make a personal decision – get his act together or go home and look for employment. The youngster from Chicago struggled with his academics earlier in his career, leading to him being ineligible for the final two games of his sophomore season, followed by sitting out the entire 2011 schedule.

Moore had to realize that unless he improved his academics, his future on the gridiron and the well-being of his infant daughter would be impacted. Most of those troubles were the result of taking a class, which he excelled in, but it was later discovered that the class did not qualify for his eligibility. It was his second setback academically, as marginal grades out of high school prevented him from getting a Division I scholarship.

Moore was being recruited by such schools like Colorado, Eastern Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Northern Illinois, Purdue, Toledo and Wisconsin, but their interest waned due to his academic issues, thus leading to him to join the Division II Concordia-St. Paul program. During the time he was ruled academically ineligible, he trudged via bus to his job as a security guard at a Minnesota night club, while also taking on-line courses living back in Chicago.

The defensive end recalls that season-plus away from the game: "My overall college student-athlete experience has been memorable and very beneficial to my growth and development. Coming into college I would say I was a fish out of water. I wasn't used to the atmosphere and I found myself making some mistakes that I have learned a tremendous amount from.

"It was the turning point in my life, because I felt firsthand what it feels like to have everything taken away from you when you make poor choices. I realized that a lot of people believe in me, depend on me, and want me to succeed in life and I came back better than ever. I learned how to turn a weakness into strength and matured into a humble and hard-working student-athlete. I'm grateful for the support from my coaches, faculty and professors that helped me realize I can become somebody and make an impact on other people as well."

Moore was a five-star recruit out of Chicago's Simeon Career Academy High School, where he lettered as an offensive tackle until the then 235-pound junior added 15 pounds to his frame to take defensive end duties during his senior season. He earned All-City and All-Chicago Public Illini-Prairie State Conference honors.

He also lettered in track for the Wolverines, clocking a career-best 10.54 seconds in the 55-meter hurdles at the Chicago Public Schools Class 3A Indoor Championships as a senior.

Moore was a reserve left defensive end during his first season at Concordia-St. Paul, as he started one of the eight games he appeared in. After posting 16 tackles with two sacks in 2009, he earned All-Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference first-team and All-Region second-team honors after he led the league and tied for sixth in the nation with 10 sacks as the Golden Bears' right defensive end. He also finished third in the NSIC with 11.5 stops for loss, adding 42 tackles.

Back from sitting out the 2011 season, Moore made up for lost time, as the All-NSIC first-team choice was a consensus All-American second-team choice. He again led the league and ranked fifth in the Division II ranks with 14 sacks, third-best on the school's season-record list. He also paced the NCIS while ranking 11th nationally with 21.0 stops behind the line of scrimmage, the fourth-best annual total by a Golden Bear.

Moore was named All-American and All-NSIC honors after he registered 33 tackles and had five of his 12 quarterback pressures lead to opponent turnovers. He added seven sacks with 9.5 stops-for-loss, in addition to causing and recovering a pair of fumbles. His performance would earn him invitations to play in the 2014 NFLPA Bowl and East-West Shrine Game.

Asked to reflect on his career at Concordia-St. Paul, Moore stated, "Getting the attention of several NFL teams has been humbling and I'm grateful for the experience, especially being a small school (NCAA) Division II player. Just to see the culmination of time and hard work pay off has been very encouraging - not only to me, but to the younger players
that look up to what I do and have gone through in this process."

Asked how he would describe his overall performance, the senior right defensive end replied, "I see myself as a dynamic player that loves to help the team any way I can. I set an example through actions and am fueled by team goals. A current NFL player I emulate is Julius Peppers, both for his athleticism and his technique."

Concordia head coach Ryan Williams: "Zach has grown and matured tremendously over the years in our football program. While Zach has had the help and support of our coaching staff, it came down to the sole effort and focus of Zach doing the proper things on a day-to-day basis as he committed to being the best football player and man he can be. I am very proud of his growth and I know he has even more to take advantage of with his future opportunities."

Concordia defensive coordinator Todd Strop: "Zach is without a doubt the best combination of size, strength and explosion that I have had the opportunity to coach in my 18 years in college football. His ability to get off the ball and change directions for a 6-foot-6 280-pound athlete is incredible. He is also very football-savvy. We have moved him around all year with very few mental busts. He's a great kid, a great player and a very deserving recipient of any and all awards that he receives."

Moore started 32-of-39 games for the Golden Bears – his first career start came as a left defensive end and the rest were on the right side…Finished with 130 tackles (76 solos), 26 quarterback pressures, three pass deflections, a 6-yard interception return, six forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and three blocked kicks…Also registered 33.0 sacks for minus 200 yards and 45.0 stops for losses of 233 yards…
NCAA Career-Record Results…Moore's 33.0 sacks rank 11th in NCAA Division II history…His average of 0.85 sacks per game tied Concordia-St. Paul's Joe Peters (29.0 sacks in 34 games; 2001-03) for 16th place on the Division II all-time record list…Among active D-II players, he is 22nd with six forced fumbles and ranks fifth with 40 solo tackles-for-loss…His tackle-for-loss yardage of 233 yards is fourth among active players and he is third in both solo sacks (30) and total sacks (33.0)…Ranks fourth among active players in sack lost-yardage totals of 200…
Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Career-Record Results…Among active conference players, only Chris Schaudt of Minnesota State-Mankato (33.5 sacks and 58.5 stops-for-loss) has more sacks and tackles behind the line of scrimmage than Moore…
School Career-Record Results…Moore's 33 sacks tied the school's all-time record that he shares with Matt Woodford (1996-99) and are the most by a Golden Bear since the school joined the NCAA Division II ranks in 1999…His 45.0 tackles-for-loss are topped by only Joe Peters (61.0; 2001-03) and Brian Doyle (51.0; 2001-04) on the school career-record chart…
School Season-Record Results…Moore's 14 sacks in 2012 rank third on the Golden Bears season-record list behind the fifteen recorded by both Joe LaBuda (1983) and Nathan Tiarks (1992) and are the most by a player since the school entered the Division II ranks…His 21.0 stops-for-loss that year placed fourth on the season-record chart, surpassed by James Miley (27.0 in 2000), Joe Peters (25.0 in 2003) and Will Brown (21.5 in 2009)…
School Game-Record Results…Moore's 4.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage vs. Winona State in 2012 rank sixth on the school game-record list.

No major injuries reported.

4.84 in the 40-yard dash…1.67 10-yard dash…2.80 20-yard dash…4.46 20-yard shuttle…7.41 three-cone drill…33 ½-inch vertical jump…10'03" broad jump…Bench pressed 225 pounds 23 times…33 ¾-inch arm length…9 5/8-inch hands…81 1/8-inch wingspan.

Moore attended Simeon Career Academy (Chicago, Ill.) High School, playing football as a two-way lineman for head coach Jesse Chick…The five-star recruit lettered as an offensive tackle until the then 235-pound junior added fifteen pounds to his frame to take defensive end duties during his senior season…Earned All-City and All-Chicago Public Illini-Prairie State Conference honors…Named to the Illinois Top 100 list by…Also lettered in track for the Wolverines, clocking a career-best 10.54 seconds in the 55-meter hurdles at the Chicago Public Schools Class 3A Indoor Championships as a senior.

Moore is completing required courses to earn his degree in Criminal Justice in May…Has a young daughter, Amayah Hicks…Member of the Golden Bears' Junior Representative Leadership Council…Son of Carolyn Blackshire and Bobby and Jean Moore (step-mother)…Born 9/05/90…Resides in Chicago, Illinois.

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20109942241801 0-0 11.5-056
2012111139281102 1-6 21.0-109
2013111133171622 0-0 09.5-055
TOTAL3932130765426 1-6 45.0-233

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