Before missing the 2016 season with a neck injury, Skai Moore was one of the top players on South Carolina’s defense the previous three seasons. He totaled 258 tackles, three sacks and 11 interceptions, even leading the Gamecocks in tackles all three seasons.
However, will Moore’s size prevent him from being a successful linebacker in the NFL after his upcoming senior season is over? South Carolina outside linebackers coach and former NFL linebacker Mike Peterson doesn’t think so.
“I think that’s a plus for him,” Peterson told Ben Breiner of The State. “A guy that’s a tweener. A lot of people try to pigeonhole you and say, ‘Oh, you’re a tweener.’ A tweener means you can do a lot of things. You’re flexible.”
Moore is listed at 6-foot-2, 221 pounds. But that hasn’t stopped him from excelling in college. He earned second team All-SEC honors in 2015, was the Independence Bowl Defensive MVP in 2014 and was on the SEC All-Freshman team in 2013.
If there’s anybody that knows how to be a good NFL linebacker, despite having a smaller stature, it’s Peterson. The 14-year veteran had 885 career tackles over his career with the Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars and Atlanta Falcons.
Peterson feels Moore, who switched from middle linebacker to outside earlier in his college career, is a guy who can also have success at the professional level. But first, Moore will look to re-bolster the Gamecocks’ defense in his return campaign.