June 10, 2008

Moore baffled by lack of offer

Clayton Moore thought he would leave Oxford, Miss., today with a scholarship offer from Ole Miss.

It didn't happen.

Instead, the 6-foot-2, 204-pound quarterback from Louisville, Miss., left confused, bewildered and a little bit frustrated.

"They said I'm their favorite and that they were really impressed with me," said Moore, who worked out at the Houston Nutt Ole Miss Rebel Football Camp Tuesday morning and then had a semi-private workout in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium with Nutt, offensive coordinator Kent Austin and a handful of wide receivers around 2 p.m. "They went on and on about how impressed they were with me, how well I'd performed, how I was better in person than I was on film."

Still, Ole Miss didn't offer a scholarship.

"I think what it is is, 'You have an offer if you commit,'" Moore said. "(Nutt) said that in so many words."

Moore, who has been all over the country in recent weeks camping and getting to know prospective college coaches, said he would not have committed to the Rebels even if an offer had been presented Tuesday.

"Maybe they know that, I don't know," Moore said. "If I had told him, 'Look, want to go here,' I think they would have told me I have a spot. I'm trying to look at it from their perspective. If I look at it from my perspective, I might say some things I'd regret. They're still up there, I guess. I enjoy being around the coaches. At this point, they're not my favorite but they're in my top five."

Ole Miss coaches told Moore they want him to return for the Rebels' July 26 elite prospect camp. Moore indicated he will likely return to Oxford then, but he admitted being confused by the process.

"I don't really agree with that, but it's not my call," Moore said. "I mean, you've seen my highlight tape. Austin has come to my practice. I've thrown for them in person. What you see is what you get. They said I did outstanding. Two different coaches came by and told me I was going to be a big-time player. By July 26, I will be a better player. I want to gain five pounds of muscle. I want to be 210 pounds by my senior season and still be mobile.

"I guess one part of me says, 'Forget 'em. But they're still an in-state school and my family has a lot of tradition at Ole Miss. I'm still interested. Ole Miss has a great coaching staff and Coach Nutt's going to bring in great players."

Oklahoma State, Moore said, is the current favorite. South Carolina is clearly in the mix as well, though the Gamecocks haven't offered yet either. Moore spent Sunday in Columbia, S.C., working out in an intimate setting for South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier.

"That was really cool getting to meet Steve Spurrier," Moore said. "Today I had a personal workout with Coach Austin and Coach Nutt. I did exactly the same thing with Spurrier."

Moore said he's taken some advice from Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and listening carefully to all of the coaches dispensing advice during his tour of colleges.

"Everywhere I go I try to pick up one thing," Moore said. "Like today, Coach Austin wanted me to bend my knees more so my passes wouldn't sail. Coach Spurrier wanted me to put the ball back more (in his hand) when I throw."

Moore's tour will continue this weekend. He and teammate Dennis Thames will travel to Kentucky, Tennessee and possibly Louisville.

"Right now, I'm just enjoying the moment," Moore said. "Not everybody gets an opportunity to throw in front of Steve Spurrier and Houston Nutt. When it's happening, you don't think about it but afterwards, you sit back and say, 'Wow, I just threw in front of Steve Spurrier.' I'm trying to stay in shape and work on my feet. It's all just another practice for me."

Moore, who is on pace to graduate from high school in December and enroll at his college of choice in January, said he wants to make a decision by August, but he doesn't feel any pressure to decide soon.

"Whenever I feel like the time is right, it's my decision," Moore said. "But I'd like to have an idea by August. Maybe I wouldn't go public, but I'd like to have my top two schools by then."




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