In what could be classified as one of the most memorable drafts in sports history, the 2020 NFL Draft was the first all-virtual event. While there were plenty of interesting factors and angles learned from it, one of the most that stood out was the lack of FBS players selected. With some logical reasonings behind it, it’s still hard to fathom why there was such a pivot away from prospects that played at lower competition levels. Only six FCS players heard their names called and only one from an HBCU institution. Lachavious Simmons was the lone player to be selected as the Chicago Bears drafted him with the No. 227 overall selection in the seventh round.
With that being said, it will be interesting to monitor how many players at smaller schools are drafted this upcoming year considering the variables that NFL teams have had to experience and fight through due to the pandemic. A year after an HBCU offensive lineman became the only player drafted from those ranks, another had already caught the eye of scouts and evaluators.
Grambling guard David Moore became the first HBCU player to accept his invitation to the 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl and for many reasons. The intriguing guard dominated the FCS level and even played at his best when facing in-state foes Louisiana Monroe and Louisiana Tech. His documented success during the bump up in competition quickly caught the eye of scouts, which led to his name popping up frequently as a prospect that many wanted to see compete in Mobile, Alabama.
Over the weekend, I had the chance to sit down with Moore to discuss his career at Grambling, advice for future HBCU players, and when he first heard about his official Senior Bowl invitation.
Question: How did your football journey begin and did you play any other sports beforehand?
Moore: Basketball was always where it was at for me, but I played pee wee football growing up too. I didn’t play in middle school and in high school, I didn’t play until my junior year. My teammates and coaches kept begging me to get on the field. I eventually said ‘why not give it a try’, and the rest was history after that.
Q: Now that you’ve been to Grambling and had the HBCU experience, how did you originally find out about HBCUs and what’s your biggest overall take away from it?
M: I didn’t know what an HBCU was coming out. Eric Dooley (current head coach at Prairie View A&M and former Grambling offensive coordinator) was telling me the history about Grambling and it definitely intrigued me. It made me want to see more about it. Since my stay there and wearing ‘The G’, it’s been great. There’s just something about putting that uniform and helmet on. It’s a feeling that you really can’t explain.
Q: We’ve seen players carrying on the tradition at Grambling. Doug Willams is a great example and the most notable presence in school history. How did playing there change your life?
M: It really teaches you to make the most of your resources around you. You always have that chip on your shoulder and that mentality that you have to go out and do what you need to do. You look around and you see these other schools that have this certain equipment or these types of facilities and it forces you to wake up everyday and perform at an all-time high.
Q: Let’s talk about some offensive line play now. The three games that I thought were your best ones on film were against Southern, Louisiana Tech, and Louisiana Monroe (all during the 2019 season). Were you a different type of motivated in those games?
M: I just try to take it one game at a time. Yeah, it’s upper levels of competition and also your rival, but for me, I just try to have the same mindset, which is to go out and dominate.
Q: There was a block against Southern where you blocked a guy and bullied him to the ground after that. Do you remember that play?
M: (Laughs) Definitely. I saw it floating around Twitter the other day. Yes, I definitely remember that one.
Q: One trait that I enjoyed about your game is wanting to finish. Going that extra mile isn’t a necessity, but it’s something that you seem to enjoy doing. What goes behind that type of physicality and why do you want to go to that extent with your physical levels.
M: For me, it drains your opponent. Their morale and everything in general. It just makes them feel weak. It also plays with their mind over the course of a game as I’m physically pounding them down in and down out. Once you get in their head, it’s really game over after that.
Q: As a player coming into the draft, what would you say is your biggest strength and weakness overall?
M: My biggest strength besides my overall body strength is my football I.Q. As my final season progressed, it became so much better and the game in itself just became slow.
Q: Of course we have to talk about the Senior Bowl invite. What was your initial reaction when you first heard the news?
M: When Mr. Williams was talking, I thought that he was doing just that, but then I saw the hat and actual invitation come out. My mind just went blank after that, but it was a moment that I’ll never forget.
Q: Whether it’s Darius Leonard or Tytus Howard, there’s been plenty of success stories from the HBCU ranks. You’re set to possibly be the next in line. What are some words of advice or encouragement that you want to share to lower level players that are striving to hopefully be in your shoes in the future.
M: Just continue to work. If you put the work in, the scouts will find you. No matter where you are, if you put it on film and show that you can ball, they’ll come out and find you. You may feel as if no one’s watching, but if you’re a baller, they will eventually come. Just continue to stay the course with hard work and dedication.
- Jun 28, 2022
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