William Moore #25 SS
Height: 6-0 Weight: 221 Age: 28
Born: 5/18/1985 Hayti , MO
Experience: 5th season
High School: Hayti HS [MO]
Selected By: Atlanta Falcons
Pick (Overall): 23 (55)
Moore has been used to changes in his football life. He was a standout prep receiver who converted to cornerback upon his arrival at Missouri. But, as his body continued to grow, he was shifted to free safety, a position he would go on to record 32 career starts.
With his professional career about to begin, some teams are now looking at his 220-plus pound frame and ball-hawking skills as a potential strong safety. Other teams are also eyeing him as a potential outside linebacker candidate, likening him to Houston's Cato June, a former safety who shifted to linebacker in the Cover-2 defensive scheme.
All Moore asks for is an opportunity. Much like the opportunity he takes when he picks off a pass. With his receiver-like hands and quickness, he converted four of his 11 career interceptions into touchdowns, breaking the school career record of three scoring returns by Erik McMillan (1984-87). His hitting ability also rank with the Missouri elite, as his 284 tackles placed him fourth among all-time Tiger defensive backs.
At Hayti High School, Moore was rated the 64th-best receiver in the country and the 12th-best overall prospect in the state of Missouri by Rivals.com. He earned All-State honors on both sides of the ball during his career, leading his team to three consecutive conference titles before finishing second the Class 2A ranks during his junior campaign.
Moore set the school career records with 74 catches for 1,768 yards and 34 touchdowns receiving. His 35 total career scores ranks him fifth on Hayti's scoring chart. In addition to earning four letters in football, he also competed four seasons on the school's basketball team. He added team MVP and All-Conference honors on the hardwood as a junior.
Moore enrolled at the University of Missouri in 2004, turning down scholarship offers from Oklahoma, Purdue, Mississippi, Arkansas and Illinois, among others. He redshirted that season, competing on the scout team as a cornerback, but was shifted to free safety the following season. Wearing jersey No. 21, he started two of nine games he played in, missing three early-season contests with a hamstring injury. He totaled 30 tackles (23 solos) with a forced fumble and returned his first career interception 62 yards for a touchdown.
While starting the 2005 Independence Bowl, Moore suffered right foot fracture on the game's opening series, but continued to play with the injury for the entire first quarter. He would be limited in 2006 spring drills, but was fully recovered by August camp, going on to start five of 13 games at free safety as a sophomore. He posted 51 tackles (33 solos) and continued to find the end zone, returning his only interception 22 yards for a score.
Moore changed jerseys from No. 21 to No. 1 as a junior and had perhaps one of the finest seasons ever by a Missouri defensive back. His 117 tackles (71 solos) rank fifth on the school single-season record list for secondary players, as he also had two sacks and nine stops for loss. He broke up six passes and set the Tigers' single-season record with eight pass thefts, returning one for a touchdown. That performance earned him All-American and All-Big 12 Conference first-team honors.
The preseason favorite to capture 2008 Thorpe Award (nation's top defensive back) honors, Moore did earn semifinalist status, but struggled through an injury-plagued final campaign. He suffered a foot sprain in the season opener vs. Illinois and was never 100 percent healthy the rest of the year. He missed two full games and parts of two others. He was also still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, as it was discovered after the Cotton Bowl that he had torn his labrum, requiring January surgery. Later in the '08 schedule, he suffered rib cartilage damage vs. Oklahoma.
Through all his injuries, Moore still managed to register 86 tackles (55 solos), good for fourth on the team. He had one sack and 6.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage, as he also caused three fumbles. He also returned an interception for a touchdown and had six pass deflections.