South Carolina introduced Skai Moore as a returning player at its basketball game Saturday.
On Friday, ESPN ranked the Gamecocks senior linebacker among the Top 25 returning SEC players for next season. Moore, who missed 2016 after having neck surgery, landed at No. 22 on the list.
“Although neck surgery prevented him from playing in 2016, Moore is returning to a defense that he led in tackles each season between 2013 and 2015,” wrote David Ching.
Moore totaled 260 tackles through his first three years at South Carolina, leading the Gamecocks in each season.
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Moore was cleared at various points throughout the season to resume lifting weights and taking part in non-contact drills.
Multiple players said during bowl prep that Moore was looking good working in the weight room.
“He looks great,” linebacker T.J. Holloman said. “I’ve seen him in the weight room working out. He’s working really hard, getting bigger. I saw him the other day and was like, ‘Man, how much muscle have you put on?’ He looks phenomenal. I’m excited for what his future holds.”
Moore returns to join a linebacker corps that features Bryson Allen-Williams, T.J. Brunson, Sherrod Pittman and a few new additions in the 2016 recruiting class.