Wednesday, September 3, 2008

McKinley excited for matchup with Moore

South Carolina wide receiver Kenny McKinley has not forgotten about the comments Vanderbilt cornerback D.J. Moore made following the Commodores' 17-6 victory a year ago.

Moore, who's generally as modest and respectful as they come, called the Gamecocks receivers an "average" group. Not exactly fightin' words, but since athletes love to feel disrespected, it should come as no surprise to learn that McKinley is still upset.

Here's the exchange McKinley had with South Carolina media members on Monday when asked about Moore (via Stalking Darrin Horn):
McKinley: “He’s pretty good. He’s all right. I think he’s a good player.”

Reporter No. 1 (laughing): “You don’t seem to be giving him too much credit.”

McKinley: “He’s a pretty good player.”

Reporter No. 2: “That’s it? A lot of people think he’s one of the best cornerbacks in the SEC, if not THE best.”

McKinley: “I haven’t played against every cornerback in the SEC. I think he’s a good player though.”

Reporter No. 1: “You lined up against him last year, right?”

McKinley: “Yeah, he’s a pretty good player.”

At this point almost everyone was laughing, including McKinley.

McKinley: “Y’all want me to say something about him. I think he’s a good player. That’s all I can say.”

Then it got to the nub.

McKinley: “After they beat us, he was like, we’re just an average group of receivers, we weren’t all that good, this and that. He’s a pretty good player. Hopefully we’ve got (something) for him this week.”

Reporter No. 3: “Did you go out and cut out that quote for this week?”

McKinley: “Nah, I just go out and play. I feel like if I play my game then –"

He thought a second.

"He’s a good player.”

I'd love to hear what McKinley has to say if Moore picks off two more passes tomorrow night...

Also, make sure to check out The State's Seth Emerson's terrific feature on Moore, a South Carolina native.

Moore always wanted to be a Gamecock, but South Carolina did not offer him until late in the recruiting process, well after he had committed to Vanderbilt. Moore was torn, but ultimately decided to stick with the Commodores. The rest, as they say, is history.

A few nuggets from the story:

*Football might have been Moore’s third-best sport at Broome High School. He was a three-time all-state selection in basketball (I've played against him at the rec and I'm telling you the dude can flat-out ball) and also a state-champion high jumper.

“By far, yes,” said Broome's Quay Farr, when asked if Moore was the best athlete he has coached.

*Somehow, Moore went virtually unnoticed in the recruiting process. He received offers from Wofford and Furman before Vanderbilt, after a long evaluation, offered him for football.

The Vanderbilt coaching staff deserves a lot of credit for identifying players like Moore, along with others, who fly under the radar of other SEC school.

*Moore is acquaintances with many USC players, including wide receivers Freddie Brown and Moe Brown.

“You could tell he’s one special player, and he gets after it real well," said Moe Brown. "He works hard, and he’s just a phenomenal athlete. His whole demeanor just speaks to success.”

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