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Oct. 16, 2014

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The program player profile will be featured here after a home game. Sophomore linebacker Skai Moore was the fourth profile in the 2014 game program. Here is the feature that was in the game program for the Missouri game.

By Grayson Austin
Media Relations Student Assistant

“I want to win a championship.”

According to sophomore linebacker Skai Moore, that’s the only goal he has set for himself this season. All of the personal stats and goals don’t matter to him; he just wants to be holding up a trophy at the end of the year. For Skai Moore, he just didn’t just become the linebacker you see flying all over the field and swarming to ball every play. Hailing from Cooper City, Fla., Moore grew up right where football was more than just a game; it is a borderline religion. For Moore, he really didn’t even have a choice on whether he wanted to play football or not, but he didn’t really mind though because he loves the game of football. It was a game he started playing when he was six years old.

“I just loved it because I loved to get out there and hit people.”

For high school, Moore attended University High School in Fort Lauderdale. There, Moore would be no stranger to success. He was a part of a team that was state runner-ups in his sophomore season. During his junior season, he racked up 70 tackles including 18 for a loss. In his senior season, Moore recorded 103 tackles, six sacks and four interceptions. He also led the Suns to an undefeated season and a Florida Class-3A State Championship, the first in school history. Winning that state championship meant a lot to Moore because it already enabled him to have that winning attitude as he prepared to come to South Carolina. “I wanted to come to a program that was winning and had a tradition of winning,” exclaimed Moore. “Coming out of high school where we won a lot of games and won a state championship, it just wanted to continue that when I got here (to South Carolina).”

When Moore arrived at South Carolina, he went through all the trails and tribulations that every freshman has to endure. Especially coming to an SEC school like South Carolina, every freshman needs someone to show him the ropes on and off the field. Moore found that in his fellow teammates in the Gamecocks’ linebacker corp.

“When I first came here, I was kind of lost,” said Moore. “I really didn’t know the plays very well. Kaiwan Lewis and T.J. Holloman really helped me out with the playbook a lot. They were the ones I looked to for guidance for the plays and in other situations.”

For Moore, his freshman season was definitely one to remember. He played in all 13 games for the Gamecocks and recorded four starts, all in the final four games of the season. In his college debut, he would come off the bench and record his season-high in tackles with seven and contribute to the Gamecocks’ season opening win over North Carolina. Moore would go on to lead the Gamecock defense in tackles with 56 and in interceptions with four. Three of those interceptions came in the last two games of the season when he had one against Clemson and two in the Capital One Bowl versus Wisconsin. To Moore, it meant a lot to him to have a freshman season, like he did and have South Carolina give him the opportunity to come in and play right away.

“It meant a lot to make an impact early,” said Moore. “Early playing time was a big factor in why I came to South Carolina and the fact that South Carolina was honest and stood by their word about early playing time, meant a lot to me.”

Being a linebacker, Moore has to always be flocking to the ball on every play and also be able to be leader on the defensive unit. Moore was just that in his first season in the Garnet and Black, but like most every football player, they have another player from the past or present that they try to model themselves after. For Moore, he likes to thinks his game is similar to that of Hall of Famer and former Tampa Bay Buccaneer linebacker, Derrick Brooks.

“Growing up, I really liked to watch Derrick Brooks play,” stated Moore. “I try to take the things that I remember watching him do on the field and put it into my game.”

Coming into the 2014 season, Moore is a staple with the Gamecock defense and one that Gamecock fans look to when a play needs to be made. So far this season, Moore has totaled 28 tackles, leading the team, and has one sack. Moore has been all over the field for the Gamecocks and that especially was the case a few weeks ago when Georgia came to town in a high-powered match-up. In the game, Moore tallied 10 tackles, which was good for a career-high, and helped lead the Gamecocks to a 38-35 victory over the sixth ranked Bulldogs. If you ask Moore about that game, he says that it is no doubt the best memory he has since arriving at South Carolina.

“It was by-far the greatest moment I’ve had since I’ve been here,” Moore said. “The way we fought all night on defense. We stepped up in clutch situations and the crowd was the loudest I’ve ever experienced since I’ve been here. The atmosphere was just so great and to get a big win like that meant a lot to this team.”

Skai Moore is in a role most sophomores aren’t accustomed to being in with, being one of the faces of a highly talented SEC team. Moore showed glimpses of greatness in his freshman year and has every Gamecock fan everywhere fired up to see what is in the future for this bright, young star. Only time will tell, but only good things are on the horizon, on and off the field, for No. 10.