Ex-Southside football star picks Miss. juco

Published 11:59 pm Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Akeem Moore of Selma received a once-in-a-lifetime telephone call at spring break in April when he was home from Alabama A&M.

The 6-foot-3, 320-pound defensive tackle said he thinks that one call gave him the opportunity for bigger and better things.

After a redshirt season at Alabama A&M, Moore wanted to explore other football opportunities. So when Itawamba (Miss.) Community College head coach Jeff Terrill returned his phone call, Moore jumped at the chance.

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As a 2008 Southside High graduate, Moore had hoped his play would have gotten more notice.

“I got a lot of attention as a junior,” he said. “When I was a senior, I had a late highlight tape. By the time I got the tape to send to the coaches, the scholarships were just about gone.”

The schools that had showed an interest in him started to disappear as the recruiting season started to end. He chose Alabama A&M, but was redshirted last year as a freshman.

“I was disappointed, but I learned a lot from the first year,” Moore said. “It really opened my eyes about what college football is all about.”

His studies didn’t suffer. Moore, who is majoring in international business, earned a 3.4 grade point average and made the Dean’s List both semesters.

Again, he wanted bigger and better things. So he used the advice of two people — his middle school football coach, Burt Crum, and 2006 Southside graduate Jeffery Anderson, who will be a senior tight end for Alabama-Birmingham this year.

“I started going over the Web, looking at my other options,” Moore said. “I just thought ‘junior college.’ I thought this would be another way to gain back all those offers I had in the 11th grade.

“During spring break in mid-April, I started calling all the junior colleges in Mississippi,” he said. “Coach Terrill called me back while I had a doctor’s appointment. He said he had one out-of-state scholarship left and he had been trying to find a defensive tackle.”

Moore’s mother, Brenda, said the phone call was like a miracle.

“Nobody but God,” said Mrs. Moore, who drove them to Fulton, Miss., for the visit.

What Moore saw in the town of 4,000 people surprised him.

“I was not expecting it to be so big,” said Moore. “A small school to have so many new buildings was a surprise.”

He said he will have to stay on his toes.

“The competition at this level is really high,” he said. “There are only three defensive tackles on the team, and one player has six Division I offers.”

“I am trying to get my recognition against the other players and make myself stand out,” he said. “I’ve been using my strength to overpower the other player. I need to work on different techniques and styles.”

Moore gets an early look at ICC when he goes to summer school Monday. “I’m going to take math and get it out of the way,” he said.

After that, he’ll be listening to his mother.

“I told him to put God first,” Mrs. Moore said, “do his lessons, then comes football.”