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May 15, 2012
Dallas Jackson is the National High School Sports Analyst for Rivals. Email him your questions and comments at DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.
L.J. Moore plays cornerback for his Fresno (Calf.) Central East team but he is listed in the Rivals.com database as a player who projects as a safety.
At 6 feet 1 and 170 pounds he knows he likely falls between prototype size for either spot but according to the No. 223 overall player in the country being a 'tweener is a strength for him.
"With my length I am a tall corner but I can still jam and run like a shorter cornerback would," he said. "If I move to safety I may not have the weight just yet but I like to hit and if I have a 12-yard cushion for coverage I won't get beat.
"Really, so long as I am on the field I don't care which position I play."
Moore will be playing safety for the West team at the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge come June 22-24 at Lakewood Stadium in Atlanta and he is just fine with that.
"I would probably rather play corner," he said. "But it can only make me better to be out on the field playing safety than staying at home and not competing at all.
"There will be the 100 best players from around the country so I want to show what I can do at any position they ask me to play."
Moore, who is ranked as the No. 17 overall safety in his class, said that much of his issue with the move to safety is the perception that comes with it.
"Most safeties don't know how to cover," he said. "So when people think I am a safety I hope that they are just looking at my size and how I project and not my skills because I can cover."
Moore has double digit major college football offers to his credit - and has already set his official visit date to Notre Dame for the fall - and enters the inaugural camp and 7-on-7 competition with the mindset of being the best in the defensive backfield.
"If you don't come thinking that you are real good and you are thinking that the opponent is better than you then you will get beat," he said. "I want to elevate my game and the mental aspect is a big part of that.
"I have to come down there thinking that no one is going to catch a ball on me and that I can compete and win against anyone."
His greatest victories, according the Moore, will be in improving on the little things that he finds wrong with his game.
"I have my offers and so that is a real big relief," he said. "That means I can start really fine tuning my game and getting ready for college.
"I can keep getting faster, if I am playing corner or safety having that next level speed will be important. I don't want to settle for second."
It is that mentality he hopes will fuel his performance at the invitation-only Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge.
"I like going in one-on-ones and I really like the 7-on-7 format," he said. "I think I will be showing all those east coast guys what I can do."
Mike Farrell's take
Moore is important to the West squad because he can play both cornerback and safety and he has corner experience so wherever he lines up he will be excellent in coverage. If needed at corner he has good size and can play well in off coverage and at safety he brings that cornerback skill and the ability to close on the ball. He plays corner in high school but will likely be a safety in college so this will be good experience for him as he'll be playing center field more often than not. He has good size and he's a leaper so he can go up against some of the big receivers at the challenge.