Moore a smashing success

Towson: Sophomore P.D. Moore is making a big impact at any position he plays for the Tigers' defense.

October 17, 2002|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

FOURTEEN TACKLES — By any name, Towson University's P.D. Moore is beginning to make a name for himself.

Fourteen tackles - including four for losses - in the Tigers' biggest victory in perhaps 15 years will earn one immediate notice, as they did for Moore, who was named the Patriot League's Defensive Player of the Week after a 23-19 upset of nationally ranked Division I-AA Lehigh on Saturday.

The performance bordered on unbelievable for several reasons:

Moore is a sophomore who skipped the first grade and will not turn 19 until March.

At 5 feet 10, 190 pounds, he is asked to take on opposing interior linemen, tight ends and fullbacks who outweigh him by 30 to more than 100 pounds.

Because Jarius Johnson missed the game due to a death in the family and Anthony Baldwin is injured, Moore was forced to shift in Towson's 4-4 defense from linebacker to rover, a position he had not played all season.

"It was ironic that he did this after being moved," said Towson coach Gordy Combs. "But good things come in smaller packages. P.D. has great athletic ability and generates a lot of explosiveness. The film showed us he leveled their linemen twice. I'm amazed at some of the plays he made."

So, if Moore prefers to be known as P.D. instead of Clarence, P.D. it is.

"My father died when I was 11 months old, so I never really knew him," said Moore, who was raised alone by his mother Jeanette, a real estate agent in Southern New Jersey. "My mom has just been everything for me."

But that doesn't mean he agrees with her on everything. Certainly not on his given name, Clarence, which she prefers he be called.

P.D. were the initials of an aunt's neighbor whom his acquaintances believed he resembled as he was growing up. "So, they started calling me that," he said. "I tell everybody it stands for `Potentially Dangerous.' Most of my teammates don't even know my name is Clarence."

Potentially dangerous he is to opposing offenses in whatever spot he lines up for the Tigers (4-2). Moore ranks second on the team with 43 tackles, eight for losses, has intercepted two passes, returning one for a touchdown against Brown, has forced a fumble, blocked a kick and made a sack.

"My teammates look to me to make big plays," said Moore, who played in six varsity games as a freshman, starting the last two, and returned six kicks.

Not bad for a two-way high school player who was all-area at Middle Township (N.J.) High but was considered undersized and therefore wasn't recruited by any Division I-A schools except Rutgers.

"He's one of the players who didn't pass the eyeball test in I-A," Combs said. "Then Rutgers changed [coaching] staffs and he got lost."

Monmouth was in the picture, but on this P.D. and his mom agreed: Towson was the right place.

Although Moore rushed for 855 yards in his high school career, Towson recruited him strictly for defense. He prefers stopping gains rather than making them.

"I like it when they run at me," he said. "I didn't want to play offense because I'd rather hit than be hit."

Also a prep county track champion in dashes and hurdles, he said he only took up that sport "to become faster for football."

He received special satisfaction out of beating Lehigh, which entered the recruiting picture extremely late. "I didn't like the way their coaching staff approached me," Moore said. "I thought about that a couple times during the game."

Moore has a 3.3 grade-point average and has not declared a major, but said he is considering a career in physical therapy. For now, he is content to jar opponents' bodies on the football field.

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