By Stephen Hawkins
The Associated Press
DALLAS — Texas A&M leading tackler Damontre Moore struggled with the decision on whether it was time to pursue his lifelong NFL dream or come back for his senior season.
When he realized the support he had from teammates and coaches, he knew the Cotton Bowl would be his last with the 10th-ranked Aggies.
“There was so many pros and cons, but the big deciding factor was once I saw my whole team gathered around me and was very supportive,” Moore said Monday. “And the coaching staff was supportive, and they knew that I’ve been struggling with this decision.”
Moore announced his decision to forgo his senior season in a statement issued by the school late Sunday night. During a Cotton Bowl media availability earlier Sunday, he gave no direct answers about what he planned to do.
“It kept going back and forth. It was a really tough and hard decision,” he explained. “Once I told my teammates and told the coaching staff, and talked to my parents again, like (Sunday), it’s official. So we talked about it and then decided that it was the best thing.”
Many projections have Moore being one of the top NFL draft picks. Moore said his potential draft position played a big part of his decision.
Moore led the Aggies in tackles (80), sacks (12 1/2) and tackles for losses (20) this season. He was a first-team All-Southeastern Conference pick and was a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award.
Texas A&M (10-2), in its first SEC season after leaving the Big 12, faces Big 12 co-champion and 12th-ranked Oklahoma (10-2) on Friday night at Cowboys Stadium.
“It’s a good feeling to have it out of the way, it’s one less thing. Now I can truly give it my all and focus on beating OU,” he said. “But it hasn’t really just set in yet.”
It’s still kind of seems so surreal.”
In 37 career games for the Aggies, Moore has 192 tackles, 261⁄2 sacks and 44 tackles for losses.
For his first two seasons, Moore played the same position Von Miller did for the Aggies, a mix of linebacker and standing defensive end. He was a backup as a freshman in 2010 behind Miller, who was the second overall pick by the Denver Broncos in the 2011 draft.
With new coaches and a new scheme, Moore was more a traditional defensive end.
“The thing I’m most proud of is the way he played. In spring ball, he couldn’t make it through the first half of practice,” defensive coordinator Mark Snyder said. “He’s playing a new position, he had his hand on the ground, he had no vision. ... He was always used to be standing up, and I think he was still fighting it a little bit. Then we got back to fall camp and here it came, all the things we thought could happen started to happen for him, and we started to feature him, because he earned it. And then he started playing lights-out.”
Snyder said he couldn’t recall a time in any game this season when Moore was loafing.
“You watch him in the game, he plays 100-something snaps 100 mph an hour,” Snyder said. “As long as he continues to do those types of things, I think he’ll be fine.”
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