Moore reflects on breakout season

Published 4:09 pm Thursday, January 11, 2024

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Terry Moore has handled a lot in his first two years at Duke University, on and off the football field, and has positioned himself well to take advantage of the ever-changing college football landscape.
The former Pam Pack standout graduated in December of 2022, foregoing most of his final basketball and all of his last track season to enroll early at Duke to get a head start on classes and be part of spring football.
Former coach David Cutcliffe’s staff recruited him, but Mike Elko and a new coaching staff arrived in Durham from Texas A & M shortly before Moore did and he had to establish new relationships from the start.
Fast-forward two years and he’s in the same situation as Elko returned to College Station as the head coach and the Blue Devils hired former Miami head coach Manny Diaz to replace him.
Moore switched from running back to free safety and earned a starting spot early in his sophomore season as the Blue Devils played five defensive backs under Elko’s scheme.
Duke put the nation on notice with a home win over Clemson in the opener and were 4-0 when standout quarterback Riley Leonard was injured toward the end of the loss to Notre Dame that clouded the rest of the season.
“It was an unbelievable feeling when our fans rushed the field after we beat Clemson,” Moore said. “We knew our potential, but that game proved to everyone that we were for real. Personally, it was a great year because I moved into the starting lineup. It’s a lot of fun to hit people and make plays.
The season didn’t end like we wanted it to, but we did our best battling all the injuries.”
That included Moore himself, who went down with an injured ankle against North Carolina for the second straight year. It was a high sprain to his right ankle this time and caused him to miss the Virginia game and see limited action against Pitt and Troy in the Birmingham Bowl.
While he was hurt, rumors began to fly that Elko was on his way back to Texas A&M to be the head coach. The rumors were true and Moore was looking at starting over with a new staff.
“We understand completely why he left,” Moore said. “It’s generational wealth for his family and he was there before. He’s a great guy and I enjoyed playing for him, but that leaves uncertainty with how things are going to work out.”
Former Miami coach Manny Diaz will be pacing the sidelines this fall with a new coaching staff, but Moore is concentrating on what he can control.
“We’ll really get to know him once we start workouts,” Moore said. “I’ll still be in the weight room and working on my technique no matter who the coach is. You have to open your hips and backpedal as a safety and be fast out of your cuts, so footwork is very important. I’ll be doing drills to improve those things and to prepare for spring practice.”
Moore, listed at 6’1 and 200 lbs., is an academic junior and can graduate in December with his Sociology degree and a certificate in Management and Marketing. Beyond that, he has options for his final season.
“The plan is to have everything work out great and stay here, but who knows” Moore said. “We had 38 seniors leave and several guys hit the (transfer) portal, so I have a bunch of new teammates as well as new coaches. I will evaluate things when it’s time, but my focus is on proving that I am a starter. If that doesn’t work out, I can transfer with my Duke degree.”
Moore’s plan is to keep playing after college, no matter where he ends up.
“It’s been my goal for a long time to play in the NFL,” he said. “I’ve had people tell me I can if I keep working, which won’t be a problem. I’m used to doing extra work and it’s paid off so far.”
Moore relaxed with family and friends in Washington for a couple of weeks, then returned to Durham as classes started this week, rested and refreshed after time in familiar surroundings.
“It’s always great to see my family and to hear all the encouraging words from people when I’m out,” Moore said. “I’m proud to say I’m from Washington and this community has done a lot for me. It doesn’t matter what size school you come from if you work hard and show people you can play.”