Catching Up: From Combine to the Gridiron Five Years Later
The combine phenomenon was just starting to overtake football recruiting in May 2004 when I went out to the Maryland Junior Combine in College Park. There, a 164-pound junior named Larrone Moore - who was a track star first and football player second - turned in a pair of times in the 40-yard dash that highlighted why combines are so alluring to recruits. His times of 4.28 and 4.35 seconds put him on the football recruiting radar after no college had even paid him an ounce of attention.
More than five years later, while watching my alma mater, Michigan, put a 63-6 pasting on Delaware State last Saturday, I did a double-take when Moore’s name flashed across the screen as the Hornets’ starting wide receiver and kick returner.
Moore had had some difficulty gaining initial NCAA eligibility, and spent a year at prep school, before enrolling at Delaware State in Fall 2006 - on a track scholarship. He was a three-time All-Met in track, winning the 100 meters in the 2004 and ‘05 Maryland Outdoor Track Championships and taking first in the long jump at the 2005 Penn Relays. Last spring, Moore qualified for the NCAA East Regional meet in the 100 (10.39 seconds) and 200 meters (20.75).
But Delaware State promised Moore a chance to follow through on his football ambition, and his second year at the school, Moore found his way onto the Hornets’ roster. He has started 17 games for Delaware State, and is second on the team with 17 receptions this season, after hauling in 32 last season, also good for second on the team. Moore had a career-best 51-yard kickoff return to set up the Hornets’ first field goal late in the first half against Michigan.
“It took him a while to get his act together, but I’m just glad he’s focused now,” said Bryan Pierre, who coached Moore on Northwestern’s football team and suggested he attend the Maryland Junior Combine five years ago. “I’m also glad Delaware [State] didn’t give up on him. I remember talking to their coaches when they were recruiting him and they were really high on him.”
The guy throwing to Moore was a familiar name, too. Redshirt freshman and Arundel graduate Nick Elko had perhaps the most unforgiving circumstance to make his first collegiate start – playing on the road in front of 106,304, the largest crowd to watch a Delaware State game. Still, Elko told the Grand Rapids Press that the Hornets’ walk-through last Friday felt “definitely kind of surreal for us, like the big-time stage. ... We were kind of soaking in the moment rather than getting ready. We were kind of living the dream.”
Speaking of dreams, just a couple of years ago at Temple, a winning record at midseason wouldn’t have happened in the Owls’ wildest imagination. Yet after last Saturday’s 27-13 victory over Army, Temple is 4-2, and getting some help and leadership from local players. Senior defensive back Dominique Harris, a team captain and 2005 H.D. Woodson graduate, is third on the team with 30 tackles. Before going 5-7 last season, Temple had not won more than four games since 1990.
Coaching the running backs at Temple is a guy who knows a little something about carrying the football – former Virginia running back Tyree Foreman, who was the 1996 All-Met Player of the Year after leading Sherwood to its second straight Maryland 4A title. Current Temple Coach Al Golden was a Virginia assistant while Foreman was being recruited and came back to Charlottesville prior to Foreman’s senior season. Golden hired Foreman a year after he took over at Temple.
We’ll end this week with a reader request, who wanted us to take note – and rightfully so – of two former All-Met volleyball players, Blair Brown (Loudoun Valley) and Megan Shifflett (Langley) helping preserve one of the most dominant streaks in college sports right now.
Brown, a redshirt junior hitter, and Shifflett a sophomore setter, are on top-ranked Penn State, which was won an incredible 84 straight matches, including the past two NCAA Division I titles. Last year’s 38-0 mark made the Nittany Lions just the fourth Division I program to complete an undefeated season (in fact, they only lost two out of 116 games that season). Penn State is long past the NCAA Division I record for consecutive victories – the Nittany Lions shattered USC’s 52-game streak last season.
October 21, 2009; 7:17 PM ET
Categories: Arundel , Catching Up , Football , Northwestern , Volleyball
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