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Rod Moore path to Michigan, outlook for 2023

The junior safety is bound for another stellar season.

Michigan v Ohio State Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images

Michigan safety Rod Moore came to Ann Arbor as an unknown. A high-end three-star recruit from the heart of Ohio entering one of the deepest position rooms on the team. But after only two seasons (one as a full-time starter), Moore is positioned to leave as one of the best ever to play safety in the maize and blue.

The journey so far

When Moore came to Michigan as a freshman, he was naturally inserted toward the bottom of the safety depth chart and forced to earn his way like all three-star freshmen. With players like Dax Hill, Brad Hawkins, Jordan Morant, RJ Moten, Makari Paige, Caden Kolesar, and Quinten Johnson, it was a long climb, but one that offered a unique competition.

Following the disastrous 2020 season, head coach Jim Harbaugh made wholesale changes to his coaching staff. Among those let go were defensive coordinator Don Brown and safeties coach Bob Shoop. This meant that an entirely new system was being implemented and every player was going to have to start from zero to master the new scheme. This meant a level playing field even for the freshmen.

For football junkie Rod Moore, this was an advantage.

“Rod was not a guy who talked a lot about in the recruiting classes,” Harbaugh later said on the In the Trenches podcast. “When you were talking about guys like Donovan Edwards, Junior Colson and J.J. McCarthy and even others — but about three weeks into camp, I went and checked everybody and how much tape they were watching. You give them iPads (to watch tape) and Rod Moore had watched twice as much as the second-best guy for volume of watching tape. He was watching installs, he was re-watching installs.”

“I go, ‘Who is this? Is this guy delusional, that he thinks he’s going to be playing with some of the safeties we have on this team like Brad Hawkins and RJ Moten and (Caden) Kolesar?’ Maybe, maybe he is just that big of a dreamer. It turned out that he was. That’s really the first time he was big-time on my radar as a guy to really watch.”

Throughout his first season, Moore was mainly relegated to mop-up duty and a special teams role. But as the season continued, however, Moore’s football acumen could no longer be ignored. Against Penn State in Week 10, Rod Moore made his first career start.

Moore continued to progress and started the following two weeks as well against Maryland and Ohio State, even co-leading the team with nine tackles in a victory over the Buckeyes. The latter was especially sweet considering Moore is from Ohio and was born into a family of Buckeye fans.

As a sophomore, Moore became only the second Wolverine since 2000 to reach 70 tackles and four interceptions in a single season for the Wolverines. Moore’s 71 tackles were good enough for third on the team and his 14 total tackles against Purdue in the Big Ten Championship were the second-most by a Harbaugh era player in a single game.

Moreover, Moore’s four interceptions won him the prestigious Turnover Buffs which are presented to the Michigan team leader in interceptions.

Outlook for 2023

Moore will help lead one of the best secondaries in all of college football this season and will do his part as a sure-tackler and deceptive ball hawk. Rod God Moore is an All-American caliber player who is finally starting to get the national respect he deserves.

The ceiling for the former three-star this season is helping guide the Michigan Wolverines to a national championship and becoming an eventual first-round selection in the NFL Draft. From a delusional dreamer to a potential first-rounder, Moore has a chance to go down as the best safety in Michigan history.