NCF Nation: Byron Moore

Ranking the SEC safeties

July, 10, 2013
7/10/13
5:19
PM ET
We've checked out the top cornerbacks in this league, now it's time to look at the top safeties:

1. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Jr., Alabama: He might be the nation's best safety prospect with his range, speed, athleticism and physical nature. Clinton-Dix has a great football mind when he's on the field and isn't afraid to play high or in the box. What makes him so good is that he's not only a ballhawk and a banger, but he's excellent in coverage, too. He had five interceptions and defended nine passes last season.

2. Craig Loston, Sr., LSU: It has taken some time for Loston to come into his own at LSU, but he is in position to be one of the nation's best. It's not like he ever lacked the talent, but his work ethic needed some improvement. Having more responsibility thrown his way helped turn his game up and he started to play like the top-flight athlete LSU's coaching staff had been waiting for. He's a ballhawk and can lay the lumber with ease.

[+] EnlargeKenny Ladler
Joe Robbins/Getty ImagesKenny Ladler was a playmaker for the Commodores last season, notching 90 tackles and forcing three turnovers.
3. Kenny Ladler, Sr., Vanderbilt: He's another one of those safeties who likes to mix it up all over the field and doesn't run from contact. You'll see him in the box ready to pounce. He led Vandy with 90 tackles last year and tied for the team lead with 60 solo stops. He also registered 3.5 tackles for loss, a sack, a forced fumble and two interceptions.

4. Nickoe Whitley, Sr., Mississippi State: He's basically the grandpa of Mississippi State's secondary, but he certainly doesn't play like an old man. He has 10 career interceptions and was third on Mississippi State's team with 88 tackles last season. Whitley is a big-play threat at the safety spot and covers a lot of ground with his speed.

5. Byron Moore, Sr., Tennessee: His team-high five interceptions were probably overlooked because of how poorly Tennessee's defense played, but Moore was a heck of a player. Moore, who was second on the team with 86 tackles last year, is extremely versatile as well. He started the first three games of the season at strong safety before moving over to free safety after Brian Randolph got hurt. He started the final nine games there.

6. Jaylen Watkins, Sr., Florida: He's played in 36 games with 19 starts, but the majority of his work has come at cornerback. But Watkins is talented enough and knows Florida's defense well enough that moving to safety wasn't an issue. He played there at the end of last season and cross-trained there all year. He's a physical player, has good coverage skills and should be able to fly all over the field.

7. Demetruce McNeal, Sr., Auburn: There weren't many positive things to say about Auburn's defense last year, but McNeal was pretty impressive. Off-field issues this spring made his status for the fall uncertain, but now that he's cleared everything up, he should be good to go. He notched a team-high 53 solo tackles last year and was tied for first with seven tackles for loss. Anytime you have a safety who isn't afraid to get rough up front, that's a very good thing.

8. Trae Elston, So., Ole Miss: The Rebels expected him to play early last year and he didn't disappoint. He played in 12 games and made nine starts as the Rebels' Rover. Elston led the team with six pass breakups, had a sack and recovered a fumble last year. Elston is a big-hitting safety who can play all over. He'll get in the box and cover guys. He's a very dynamic athlete in the Rebels' defense.

9. T.J. Gurley, So., South Carolina: A knee injury cut his 2012 season short, but even with only eight games under his belt he was selected to the SEC All-Freshman team. South Carolina's coaches are extremely excited about his potential and think he could have been a tremendous player if he was able to finish last season. He didn't go through spring, but should be 100 percent this fall. Gurley has the skill to make plays all over the field and be a solid ballhawk.

10. Tray Matthews, Fr., Georgia: No, he hasn't played a down in college, but he could be one of the most physically gifted safeties in the SEC right now. He made an immediate impression on his coaches, especially defensive coordinator Todd Grantham this spring, and was an easy choice for the starting free safety spot. He's an excellent tackler, lays bone-crushing hits and has tremendous field range.
Someone has to chase down all those speedy skill position players, and the SEC is well equipped with some fine secondaries this fall.

Here's how they rank going into the 2013 season:

1. Florida: The Gators will have arguably the nation's best cornerback duo in potential future first-rounders Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson. Purifoy is viewed by many as the nation's top cornerback. He's still raw, but he's a tremendous athlete, has great speed and is getting better at being a pure cover corner. Though Roberson isn't as athletic, he's more polished and has real lockdown ability (14 passes defensed in 2012). Sophomore Brian Poole made tremendous strides this spring at corner, and many think incoming freshman Vernon Hargreaves III has the ability to play now. At safety, veterans Jaylen Watkins and Cody Riggs have moved from corner. Coach Will Muschamp wants to see more from this position, but has plenty of bodies to help Watkins and Riggs, starting with Marcus Maye and Jabari Gorman.

[+] EnlargeHaHa Clinton-Dix
AP Photo/Butch DillHaHa Clinton-Dix could emerge as one of the best safeties in the nation.
2. Alabama: First-round corner Dee Milliner and reliable safety Robert Lester are gone, but there's a wealth of young talent in the secondary. Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is poised to be an All-American and could be the top safety in the country. Deion Belue emerged as a very reliable cornerback and should be one of the top players at his position in the SEC this year. Sophomore Geno Smith matured quickly last year and was solid this spring, so he shouldn't have a problem stepping into a starting role. Vinnie Sunseri gives Alabama a veteran leader at safety, while sophomore Landon Collins might be ready go from special teams workhorse to starting safety for the Tide.

3. Vanderbilt: Andre Hal is one of the best cornerbacks in the SEC, while Kenny Ladler ranks near the top at the safety position in the SEC. Hal was second in the SEC with 14 pass breakups and added two interceptions last season. Ladler figured out a way to be all over the field last year, leading the team with 90 tackles. His safety partner, Javon Marshall, is back. Marshall and Ladler tied for the team lead with 60 solo tackles and will be one of the league's best safety duos. Replacing Trey Wilson won't be easy, but there are plenty of options, starting with senior Steven Clarke, who was the primary nickel corner.

4. LSU: The Tigers have to replace Eric Reid and Tharold Simon, but have the bodies to make things right, starting with corners Jalen Mills, Jalen Collins and safety Craig Loston. Mills and Collins were thrown onto the field early last season after Tyrann Mathieu's dismissal and grew up in a hurry. Mills started all 13 games and defended seven passes with two interceptions. Loston had trouble reaching his potential early in his career, but has really turned the corner and should be one of the top SEC safeties. Junior Ronald Martin should be fine at the other safety spot, while sophomores Micah Eugene and Corey Thompson are solid backups. Freshman Jeryl Brazil is a freak athlete who should help at corner.

5. Ole Miss: The Rebels gave up more yards and touchdowns through the air than they would have liked last season, but this group showed good flashes here and there. A good spring and a healthy dose of experience should go a long way this fall. Senior Charles Sawyer was very steady at corner after moving from safety and is the leader of this group, while hard-hitting sophomore safety Trae Elston has what it takes to be a top safety in this league. Junior Cody Prewitt leads the charge at the other safety spot, while Senquez Golson will start opposite Sawyer. Highly-touted freshman Antonio Conner could enter the season as the starter at the hybrid "Husky" position. There is a ton of depth in the secondary, starting with big-play machine Nick Brassell, who is back after a juco stint. Quintavius Burdette and Chief Brown provide good reserve options at safety.

6. Texas A&M: What was a young unit in 2012 is all grown up now. The top player back there is corner Deshazor Everett, who became a national name after his game-sealing interception against Alabama. While Everett could be a star, he and top safety Floyd Raven are dealing with legal issues after they were arrested in connection with an April incident at a College Station apartment complex. Getting them on the field is critical for the Aggies. De'Vante Harris enjoyed a solid freshman campaign and proved he can be a shutdown corner. Safety is stacked with veterans such as Raven, Howard Matthews and Toney Hurd Jr., so this unit should be drastically better in 2013.

7. South Carolina: The Gamecocks lost a top-flight safety in D.J. Swearinger and an experienced corner in Akeem Auguste, but they bring back a lot of athleticism and speed. It starts with junior corner Victor Hampton, who has turned into one of South Carolina's best overall players. Jimmy Legree moved back to corner from safety last season and tied for a team-high three interceptions and six pass breakups. Talented sophomore Ahmad Christian will also push to get on the field. Brison Williams is solid at strong safety, while sophomore T.J. Gurley could be a stud at free safety. He'll have to battle with the much-improved Kadetrix Marcus, but Gurley is one of the team's most talented players. There's a lot of inexperience behind the main guys, and the staff is hoping to get more out of former top safety recruit Chaz Elder.

[+] EnlargeTray Matthews
Dale Zanine/USA TODAY SportsTray Matthews could crack the starting lineup in time for the season opener.
8. Georgia: The Bulldogs lost a ton of production here, but defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is excited by the talent his youngsters have, especially safety Tray Matthews, who might already be one of the top players at his position in the SEC. He covers a lot of ground, has great instincts and hits with the best of them. There's "old man" Damian Swann, who excelled as both a nickel and boundary corner last year. He's now the guy at corner. Sophomore "Star" Josh Harvey-Clemons might be the most talented player in the secondary and he'll work at both safety and linebacker in certain packages. Sophomore Sheldon Dawson left spring as the other starting corner, and the coaches are excited about his potential, while talented early enrollee Reggie Wilkerson will miss the season after suffering an ACL injury. Sophomore Devin Bowman should help at corner, along with true freshman Shaq Wiggins, a former ESPN 150 member.

9. Mississippi State: Jim Thorpe Award winner Johnthan Banks, top interception man Darius Slay and longtime starter Corey Broomfield are all gone. It hurts, but the Bulldogs aren't lost in the secondary. Senior Nickoe Whitley has loads of experience, while fellow safety Jay Hughes really stepped up as a valuable leader this spring. Jamerson Love is the most experienced corner coming back and the coaches expect him to break out very soon. But a lot of attention is going to juco transfer Justin Cox, who might be the team's fastest player and looks ready to step right in and be a shutdown corner. The top four guys seem solid, but there is a lot of inexperience behind them.

10. Auburn: Auburn has a lot of experience coming back to a unit that ranked eighth in pass defense last season. That number should be better this year, especially with Ellis Johnson taking over the defense. Corner Chris Davis might have only played nine games last season, but Johnson thinks he could be a special player. Corners Jonathon Mincy and Josh Holsey also saw plenty of time last year, while Jonathan Jones provides solid depth. Safety is covered by the high-flying Demetruce McNeal and Jermaine Whitehead, who were two of the Tigers' top tacklers last year. This group has to be more consistent and has to generate turnovers. Auburn had just two interceptions last year, with one coming from reserve safety Trent Fisher.

11. Missouri: Senior corner E.J. Gaines is one of the best cover corners in the SEC. What he lacks in size, he makes up in athleticism, speed and toughness. He has 27 pass breakups and three interceptions in the last two seasons. Randy Ponder had a solid spring and should start opposite Gaines. He has played in 25 games with five starts. Safety Braylon Webb is back after starting 12 games last year at free safety, while senior Matt White should hold down the other safety spot. Only Gaines and Ponder return with interceptions from last year (one each) and this unit surrendered an average of 333.3 passing yards per game last November.

12. Tennessee: The Vols do bring back experience, but this same group contributed to Tennessee owning the SEC's second worst pass defense (282.5 yards allowed per game). So that means these players have to grow and simply get better on the field. It won't come over night, but the experience gained last season should help. Safeties Byron Moore and Brian Randolph, who is coming back from an ACL injury, provide a solid foundation at safety, while returning starting corner Justin Coleman has to be much better than he was in 2012. Fortunately for the Vols, Coleman made very good strides this spring. Juco transfer Riyahd Jones could come in and start immediately.

13. Arkansas: This is another group that returns a lot of experience, but it was also the SEC's worst pass defense last year. The Razorbacks surrendered 8.2 yards per pass, 285.8 passing yards per game and gave up 24 touchdowns with six interceptions. All four starters -- corners Tevin Mitchel and Will Hines and safeties Eric Bennett and Rohan Gaines -- but all of them have to get better. Mitchel and Gaines have the potential to be big-time players, but they have to be more consistent. This unit should get a boost from juco transfers Tiquention Coleman and Carroll Washington, while redshirt freshman Jared Collins had a pretty good spring.

14. Kentucky: The Wildcats lost two quality starters and are now stuck with a lot of young players. Coach Mark Stoops wasn't too pleased with the play of the secondary this spring, so this won't be a quick fix. Junior safety Ashely Lowery has the playmaking ability Stoops wants back there, but he just resumed working out after his horrific car accident from earlier this year. Youngsters Daron and Zack Blaylock, J.D. Harmon, Cody Quinn, and Fred Tiller all saw good time last season, but their growing pains lasted for most of the season. There was some improvement this spring, but this unit has a long way to go before fall.

Hot and Not in the SEC

September, 24, 2012
9/24/12
12:09
PM ET
It’s getting cooler outside, but in the SEC, the heat is always rising.

Let's take our weekly look at who's hot and who's not.

GLOWING EMBERS

Rising in the East: When is the last time three Eastern Division teams were ranked among the top 11 teams in the country? It's been a while, and it's been a while since the East was this strong. Those "least of the East" jokes seem like a distant memory. Georgia is No. 5 this week, South Carolina No. 6 and Florida No. 11. The common denominator with all three is that they are playing excellent defense and smothering teams in the second half. The Bulldogs have given up 23 second-half points. The Gamecocks have allowed just 20 second-half points, and the Gators have been even stingier after the break, yielding just 13 points, including zero in the fourth quarter.

HOT

Ole Miss' running game: The Rebels lead the SEC and are 11th nationally in rushing offense with an average of 259.8 yards per game. They had 304 yards on the ground last week in the 39-0 win at Tulane.

NOT

[+] EnlargeGary Pinkel
Jeff Blake/US PresswireCan Gary Pinkel find a way to get his Missouri squad headed in the right direction in the SEC?
Missouri's chemistry: Something's not right with this football team. The Tigers all but rolled over and played dead in the second half of their 31-10 loss to South Carolina. This season could unravel in a hurry if coach Gary Pinkel and the leaders on this team don't get everybody pointed in the same direction.

HOT

Tennessee safety Byron Moore: The Vols need all the help they can get in the secondary with their best player, Brian Randolph, lost for the season. Moore had two interceptions and a pass breakup in the 47-26 win over Akron.

NOT

LSU's offense: Yes, the Tigers have a championship-caliber defense. Nothing has changed there. But they have to get a lot better and a lot more consistent on offense if they're going to get back to the BCS National Championship Game this season. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger struggled down the stretch Saturday in the 12-10 escape at Auburn, but LSU's offensive line struggled to protect him and his wide receivers didn't help him by making any big plays down the field.

HOT

Mississippi State's secondary: The Bulldogs are flat getting it done right now in the defensive backfield. Their two starting cornerbacks, Darius Slay and Johnthan Banks, have already combined for seven interceptions. In its first four games, Mississippi State has given up just two touchdown passes while intercepting nine.

NOT

Auburn's start: The Tigers played their fannies off Saturday in the 12-10 loss to LSU. Give them credit for that, and give Gene Chizik credit for having his guys ready. But the only thing they see on the Plains is that 1-3 record. It's the first time in school history that Auburn has suffered three losses before Oct. 1.

HOT

Texas A&M punter Ryan Epperson: Johnny Manziel and that Texas A&M offense are lighting it up, not to mention an Aggies defense that leads the SEC with 16 sacks in three games. But let's not forget the special teams. Epperson is booming the football. He is third nationally in punting and averaging 47.6 yards per kick.

NOT

Vanderbilt's quarterback carousel: It's hard to figure what's going on at quarterback at Vanderbilt. Coach James Franklin says he is looking for someone to take hold of the position after starting Jordan Rodgers the first two games, playing Austyn Carta-Samuels the whole way in the 58-0 rout of Presbyterian and coming back with Rodgers last Saturday in the 48-3 beatdown by Georgia. In their three games against Football Bowl Subdivision foes this season, the Commodores have yet to score a second-half touchdown.

FREEZER BURN

Woo Pig Sooie: We can officially say it. When Bobby Petrino wrecked his motorcycle in that ditch in April, he might as well have wrecked the Hogs' season. This is quickly going down as one of the biggest collapses in recent SEC history. With its loss Saturday to Rutgers, Arkansas is 1-3 with its lone win coming over Football Championship Subdivision foe Jacksonville State. This is a team that started the season ranked in the top 10, and at this point, it's difficult to see the Hogs even making a bowl game. Keep in mind that they have yet to play a road game, but that's about to change with back-to-back trips to Texas A&M and Auburn. This thing has completely gotten away from interim coach John L. Smith, and the Hogs' defense has hit rock bottom. Watching them try to tackle and cover has been a horror show.
Tennessee will be without arguably its best defensive player for the rest of the season, after sophomore safety Brian Randolph tore his ACL in his right knee in the Vols' 37-20 loss to Florida Saturday.

Randolph hurt his knee while trying to tackle Florida wide receiver Frankie Hammond Jr. during Hammond's 75-yard touchdown catch-and-run in the fourth quarter. Randolph caught up to Hammond during his run, but stepped awkwardly after Hammond made a strong cut back to the middle of the field at around the 25-yard line before cruising into the end zone.

Losing Randolph is a big deal for the Vols. He has tremendous field instinct and is an exceptional playmaker. He finished the season as the team's leading tackler, with 22 stops, including 17 solo. Randolph really made a splash with the Vols as a freshman last year, playing in all 12 games and starting eight. He collected 55 tackles and was a Freshman All-SEC selection by the league's coaches.

Randolph's absense leaves a big hole in not just Tennessee's secondary, but the entire defense. Junior safeties Byron Moore, who started the first three games at strong safety, and Brent Brewer will man the starting safety spots. Brewer started eight games last year before suffering a season-ending ACL injury against South Carolina.

There's experience in the defensive backfield, but there's no question that Randolph's replacement has very big shoes to fill.

"It's real big," sophomore linebacker Curt Maggitt said. "It's real key. He's a real vocal guy, real smart, understands his position and understands others' positions. [He] can help out a lot and he's a great playmaker, and he's a good person. You can trust him behind you."
Everyone is looking for the next Nick Fairley.

Everyone would love to have their own Cam Newton.

So as we look around the league at some of the newcomers from either the junior college ranks or who have transferred in from other schools, we'll try to find them.

Could Georgia noseguard John Jenkins be the beast in the middle that Fairley was? Does Barry Brunetti have what it takes to have a Newton-like impact at Ole Miss?

Here is a look at some of the new athletes around the league to keep an eye on this fall:

ALABAMA
  • Duron Carter, WR: Carter could be a big-time playmaker for the Tide, but he has yet to enroll because of transcript issues. The former Ohio State and juco wideout is the son of star former NFL receiver Cris Carter.
  • Quinton Dial, DL: Dial could play both inside and out, but is currently getting quality reps at defensive end for Alabama. The former juco standout has made quite the impression on his head coach and he seems to be in line for a starting spot.
  • Jesse Williams, DT: Like Dial, Williams transferred in from the juco ranks in January and has also performed well in practice. He's gotten reps all around the line, but could also be in contention for one of the end spots. He's a massive lineman at 6-foot-4 and 319 pounds.
ARKANSAS
  • Alonzo Highsmith, LB: The juco transfer is an extremely athletic linebacker and has really impressed since his arrival. He stepped in at the starting weakside linebacker spot on Day 1 of preseason camp and appears to have the edge there heading into the season.
  • Robert Thomas, DT: Speaking of athleticism, the Razorbacks might have found their most athletic defensive lineman in Thomas. The juco transfer got a ton of reps this spring with Byran Jones and DeQuinta Jones out with injuries, and is currently competing for a starting spot.
FLORIDA
  • Dan Wenger, C: He earned an extra year of eligibility after concussions cut his Notre Dame career short. He's reuniting with offensive coordinator Charlie Weis and offensive line coach Frank Verducci and is not only competing for the starting spot at center but has become a leader on the offensive line.
GEORGIA
  • John Jenkins, DT: He was a giant gem of Georgia's 2011 class and was expected to snatch the starting noseguard position. However, the juco standout has had injury issues and hasn't been in the best shape. At 6-foot-4, and 340 pounds, people are hoping he can be a force in the middle this fall, but he's currently behind Kwame Geathers.
  • Jarvis Jones, LB: Jones transferred in from USC last year and takes over as the starting strongside linebacker. Georgia's coaches feel that with his speed and athleticism he could be a more versatile player than former stud Justin Houston.
LSU
  • Zach Mettenberger, QB: If Jordan Jefferson is indeed punished for his alleged involvement in a horrific fight outside of a Baton Rouge bar, Mettenberger's time could be now. He matches his cannon of a right arm with tremendous accuracy and might have the best skill set of any of LSU's current quarterbacks.
MISSISSIPPI STATE
  • Brandon Maye, LB: Maye transferred from Clemson and with the Bulldogs looking to replace three starters at linebacker, Maye is expected to make an immediate impact at middle linebacker. He had a slow start to fall camp, but improved throughout.
OLE MISS

  • Barry Brunetti, Randall Mackey, Zack Stoudt, QBs: All three are vying for the starting quarterback spot and all have done well since the spring. Brunetti transferred from West Virginia, while Mackey and Stoudt are former juco athletes. Brunetti has the edge at quarterback, but Mackey was on top this spring and won't make things easy for the sophomore. Stoudt isn't as athletic as the other two, but has been very sharp with his passing ability.
  • Uriah Grant, Gilbert Pena, DT: Both players were brought in to add some beef in the middle of Ole Miss' line and both could end up starters for opening day. Both have dealt with injuries, but that really hasn't slowed their on-field production in practice.
  • Wesley Pendleton, CB: Pendleton had an impressive juco career and has really caught on in Ole Miss' defense. He's in the thick of it for one of the starting cornerback spots and has shown that he might be the Rebels' most athletic defensive back.
TENNESSEE
  • Alex Bullard, OG: He transferred from Notre Dame and was granted a hardship in order to play this fall. Bullard has moved all along the line this preseason, but it looks like he could be in the running for one of the starting guard positions.
  • Maurice Couch, DT: A lot is expected from Couch, who hopes to fill one of the spots in the middle of Tennessee's line. It hasn't been an easy preseason for Couch, who suffers from asthma, but he has made improvements. He'll contribute at noseguard and the three technique this fall.
  • Izauea Lanier, CB: Though he made his mark playing safety in junior college, Lanier is competing for time at corner. At 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, he's a bigger corner, which coach Derek Dooley likes.
  • Byron Moore, DB: Moore appears to be a "tweener" on defense. He could play safety or corner for the Vols. With Tennessee running a lot of nickel formations, Moore should see the field in some capacity this fall.
VANDERBILT
  • Jordan Rodgers, QB: Rodgers missed the 2010 season and missed the spring while recovering from shoulder surgery, but is No. 2 at quarterback. The younger brother to Super Bowl champ Aaron Rodgers, Jordan Rodgers is a player coach James Franklin has been especially excited about seeing.
Tennessee coach Derek Dooley had been optimistic all along, but now it's official: Junior safety Janzen Jackson has re-enrolled for the second session of summer school, paving the way for his return to the football field this fall.

[+] EnlargeJanzen Jackson
Paul Abell/US PresswireTennessee is counting on a big season from safety Janzen Jackson.
Jackson has been dealing with personal issues and withdrew from school during the spring semester. He didn't participate in spring practice, but stayed in Knoxville and got a job. Dooley has been extremely patient with Jackson and left the door open the entire time. The second-year Tennessee coach said the reason he went out of his way to help Jackson was because Jackson has been committed to helping himself.

Of course, it doesn't hurt that Jackson is a key component on defense. He's the kind of safety that makes everyone around him better and is a big-time hitter.

The Vols have some potential in the secondary, and getting Jackson back will help to solidify things back there. Junior Prentiss Waggner, a second-team All-SEC selection last season, can play both cornerback and safety, while sophomore safety Brent Brewer just started to scratch the surface of how good he can be last season after playing four years of minor league baseball.

Tennessee also brought in a pair of heralded junior college defensive backs -- Byron Moore and Izauea Lanier. Moore, who spent a season at USC before transferring to Los Angeles Harbor Community College, will compete for a starting cornerback job right away.

Jackson, though, is the one who makes it all go back there, which is why this will be a huge fall camp for him and the Vols' defense. He's been working out on his own, but he hasn't had any contact since the bowl game last December.

The other factor to consider is his emotional state. He's run into several issues off the field during his career, and this is his final chance to show that he's matured.

Tennessee's defense will be looking for playmakers and leaders this fall. The Vols need Jackson to be both.

Another player bolts USC

July, 7, 2010
7/07/10
9:10
PM ET
Redshirt freshman safety Byron Moore is leaving USC for a junior college, USCfootball.com reported.

Moore was listed No. 2 on the post-spring depth chart behind Jawanza Starling.

Moore will have to sit out a year before transferring to another FBS program. As a freshman, he's not eligible to take advantage of the NCAA waver that allows Trojans juniors and seniors to transfer to another program and be eligible to play this fall.

Moore is the third player to opt to transfer after the program was hit with NCAA sanctions, joining linebacker Jordan Campbell (Louisville) and defensive end Malik Jackson (Tennessee). Also, the Trojans released touted offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson from his scholarship commitment, and linebacker signee Glen Stanley reportedly also wants a release.

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Here are a few of the recruiting stories making news across the Big 12 this morning.

  • Forget about the recruiting class of 2009. The Houston Chronicle's Brent Zwerneman opines about the interest percolating in Texas A&M's future classes after most key commitments already have been wrapped up.
  • Wide receiver Cobi Hamilton of Texarkana, Texas, selected Arkansas over offers from Texas and Oklahoma State, ESPNU reports. Hamilton, the nation's 49th ranked wide receiver, produced 64 receptions and 14 touchdown grabs last season.
  • Colorado is in the hunt for top prospect Byron Moore, a safety from Harbor City, Calif., who recently de-committed from an earlier agreement with USC, according to the Boulder Camera's Kyle Ringo.
  • Brian Grummell of fanhouse.com details how recent recruiting slumps have devastated the Colorado and Texas A&M programs.
  • Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times reports why getting celebrated defensive end Devon Kennard is big for USC. Texas was among Kennard's three finalists.
  • The Pelini brothers -- Nebraska coach Bo Pelini and Nebraska defensive coordinator Carl Pelini -- were intrigued with Corona (Calif.) Centennial quarterback/safety Taylor Martinez potentially playing both ways for the Cornhuskers, according to Los Angeles Times reporter Ben Bolch. And Lincoln Journal Star reporter Brian Christopherson writes about how Martinez's love of contact marked his high school career. 

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