When David Moore returned to the office of SMU coach Chad Morris last spring, he was expecting an offer.
But the first-year coach for the Mustangs delivered a sales pitch that one of Georgia’s top high school quarterbacks didn’t anticipate.
He offered Moore a chance at a legacy, a name that would be forever synonymous with Mustangs football. He dabbled with the idea that Moore, a dual-threat quarterback from Milton, could be to SMU what Robert Griffin III was to Baylor.
Morris, formerly the offensive coordinator at Clemson, even mentioned the 3-star quarterback and Deshaun Watson in the same breathe.
“He said, ‘When people think of SMU, they’re going to think of David Moore,’” Morris told the AJC.
The speech was enough to win over the the 6-foot-2, 170-pounder, who is rated as the state’s No. 84 overall prospect. Moore committed to SMU a few days later.
“He loves the idea of being on the ground floor of something special,” said his father, Michael Moore.
For an SMU program that’s endured five head coaching changes and six losing seasons in the last 14 years, Moore, a quarterback from Alpharetta, could be the budding star the Mustangs have been searching for since Eric Dickerson.
And he’s been in SMU’s backyard this entire time.
If you didn’t know, the Lone Star state runs through Moore’s veins like a power back hitting an open lane. It’s where everything began.
He grew up just south of Dallas in the city of Frisco, where he got his first taste of high school football at Prosper High School. He later transferred to powerhouse John H. Guyer, where Moore began training with Kevin Murray, who played quarterback for Texas A&M back in the mid-1980s.
“That’s when his real football talent started to come out,” his father said.
As a sophomore, Moore started attending camps in the Texas area: Baylor, Texas Tech and Texas A&M, to name a few. Slowly but surely, Texas began familiarizing itself with David Moore and started to embrace his talents.
However, at the end of his sophomore year, Moore transferred schools again. Only this time, he headed east for Georgia to be closer to his father and grandparents.
The transfer, his third in three years, would put him at a disadvantage. The lack of continuity led him to being overlooked among recruiting circles.
“That developed a chip on his shoulder,” Moore’s father said.
It pushed Moore even harder, which is difficult to imagine. His family describes him as intense, focused and driven. His father even hinted that he had a little bit of the Michael Jordan gene, though he admits it’s more pathological than physical.
But that’s to be expected of a quarterback who comes from strong athletic bloodlines.
His father played lacrosse at Syracuse; his uncle, Nick Luchey, played fullback for the Green Bay Packers; his father’s cousins, Michael and Peter Boulware, combined to play 12 seasons in the NFL.
For Moore, playing sports at the college level was never an abstract idea.
“For David, he grew up around people who were athletic and had achieved,” his father said. “It wasn’t a scary thing.”
Unsurprisingly, Moore has already reported 21 offers heading into his senior season at Milton. In his first year as the Eagles’ entrenched starter, he combined for 39 touchdowns — 26 passing, 13 rushing — and left his imprint on college recruiters.
He began to hear from several SEC schools, including Missouri, Arkansas and even Auburn — a school that has recruited him heavily as of late. Even Washington and Syracuse (his father’s alma mater), have reached out.
But Moore has always maintained this idea of going back home to play football. So when Chad Morris, who recruited him at Clemson, took the head coaching job at SMU, everything came full circle for the Texas native.
“I feel like I have a second Dad with (SMU offensive coordinator Joe Craddock) and Morris,” Moore said. “They’re really turning the program around.”
“It’s (Texas) where I grew up.”
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.