It was early in Jackson Moore’s playing days at Gordon Lee High School when he was asked to give long snapping a try.
Four years later, that skill is just one of the reasons Moore will be playing football after high school.
The recent Trojan graduate signed paperwork to continue his career at NCAA Division II Shorter University on May 25, surrounded by family, friends, teachers, coaches and other well-wishers.
“I have a friend that goes (to Shorter),” Moore explained. “Special teams-wise, they needed a guy and he texted me about it and I got in touch with the coaches, so I’m going to head down there. I’m excited about it.
“The plan is for me to get in there on special teams, find my place there and then look at other options to see what might be open.”
At 5-foot-11 and 225 pounds, Moore should have plenty of options down the road. He played multiple positions for the Trojans over the years, mostly on defense, though he did find the endzone once last year as a running back during Gordon Lee’s 10-win campaign.
Playing primarily on the defensive line as a senior, he recorded 27 total tackles — 19 of the solo variety — with four going for a loss. He also added one sack.
He went on to be named first team All-Region (6-A Public) as a long snapper and found a spot on the Catoosa-Walker Dream Team second team defense this past season.
“He’s played just about every position on the field for me, defensively,” Gordon Lee head coach Josh Groce stated. “As a freshman, he started out at outside linebacker, and he played Mike and Will linebacker as a sophomore and a junior. Then his senior year, I went to him and asked him if he could play defensive line, so we could get more kids on the field.
“There’s never been anything that we’ve ever asked him (to do) that he’s been unwilling to do and everything he did, he did it with great effort every time. There’s not a more coachable kid out there. He’s a hard worker and I think Shorter is getting a great kid that’s willing to do whatever the coaches ask, whether that’s play defense or offense or long snap.”
Moore said he plans to start his Shorter career on special teams and hopes to be able to eventually play at linebacker or on the defensive line down the road as well.
“I think starting off long-snapping, I’ll be great,” he added. “I think I can get it back there quick and then get down the field and make tackles. Height-wise, I’m not as tall as everybody, but I feel like I’m a little quicker than everybody, so I feel like I’ll be able to help.”
Moore went on to say that it “really means the world” to him to get an opportunity to play college football.
“I’ll be the first one in my family to become a college football player,” he added. “It’s a huge honor, coming from a small school to go to a Division II program and play college football. It’s just awesome to know that you’re playing football at a level that some professionals have played at before, so it’s an honor, it really is.”
“He a great kid,” Groce said. “He’s one of those kids that you tell him to take ownership and lead a group of kids and he’ll do it. Plus, the kids will follow him because he leads by example. He’s going to be there every day and work hard every day and he’s never going to whine about anything. The other thing is that he’s very durable player. He hasn’t had many injuries at all.”
Moore plans to study middle education, fourth through eighth grade, with plans to become a teacher, possibly in history, and coach middle school sports.