January 19, 2008

2009 QB prospect meets with Nutt

Look at one position that has contributed perhaps as much as any at Ole Miss' four straight losing seasons and it's the quarterback position.

The failure of David Cutcliffe to have a capable replacement groomed for Eli Manning's position started the downward spiral in 2004, and it's been a position where two coaching staffs have had to deal with the issue.

Former head coach Ed Orgeron was gracious enough to leave a former four star prospect waiting in the wings for Houston Nutt.

Former Florida commitment and Texas signee Jevan Snead has just completed sitting out one year as required by the NCAA and is eligible to play this fall with three years of eligibility remaining.

The issue now is finding a capable backup and successor for Snead, who would technically be eligible for the NFL draft after only a year on the field for Ole Miss.

Two of the best signal callers for the 2009 signing class in Mississippi may be Tupelo's Chris Garrett and Lousiville's Clayton Moore and both have significant connections to Mississippi State. Garrett, who grew up a Mississippi State fan, committed to the Bulldogs last October.

But, when it comes to Moore, there's a different story when it comes to State.

"You can take Mississippi State off my list," Moore said earlier this week. "I grew up a State fan, but that situation is just not going to work out."

The situation is a roster in Starkville that includes primary starter Wesley Carroll set to enter his sophomore season this fall and Garrett set to sign and perhaps be his replacement.

Moore is interested in many other SEC schools including Ole Miss and made a trip on an unofficial visit last week to meet with Nutt.

"It went well," Moore said. "I went down to meet with coach Nutt and we had a nice little talk. I heard a lot of things that I wanted to hear. He's a nice guy."

Moore said that he and Nutt had an agreement not to discuss some of the things that went down in the meeting, including whether or not Ole Miss had offered.

Moore was also reluctant to disclose his favorite teams at this point, preferring to say that he's wide open and would like to play anywhere in the SEC, although noting that there's some good ACC teams that he might be interested in.

For now, Moore prefers to list Ole Miss, Tennessee, Alabama, and Florida as teams he's receiving interest from and is interested in.

Moore, a 6-foot-1, 205 pound prospect with 4.8 speed, said that his junior season went well as his team won the state championship with a "real good" team. Moore threw for more than 3,000 yards and rushed for 850 more with a total of 40 touchdowns.

Moore grew up in Starkville and lived there until the ninth grade.

"I grew up a huge State fan," Moore said. "My Dad went to State, but my Mom's side is all Ole Miss.

Moore noted that his great, great aunt is Alma Meeks, who suggested the name "Ole Miss" that was selected in 1896 to be the name of the school year book. The name eventually became synonymous with the University of Ole Miss.

Moore's name got on Ole Miss' radar when Moore and his uncle made a highlight tape and drove up unannounced and gave it to a graduate assistant.

During the coaching staff transition, the highlight film disappeared and Moore's uncle made another copy and again walked in at Ole Miss, this time giving it to new defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix, who showed it to Nutt and an unofficial visit ensued.

"The first thing, I was surprised at how tall coach Nutt is," Moore said. "He has to be 6-foot-2 or 6-foot-3. He's very energetic. He spoke with a loud, deep voice and very passionately. He sounds like a guy you would want in your foxhole. I like him a lot."

Moore had previously made a trip to Oxford as the former staff had been in contact and had provided a game pass.

"I went up for the LSU game," Moore said. "The stadium was just electric. I just loved the atmosphere."

With Moore's name popping up more and more on the recruiting scene, there's no loss of references to him having the same name as the former actor who played the Lone Ranger on a long running television series in the 1950s and being referred to as the Lone Ranger.

"I don't get tired of it," Moore said. "It's kind of cool."

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