Some players are defined entirely by potential. Potential can be an overwhelming obstacle at times. How do you beat the expectations of your own potential? I wrote about this back when Leonard Fournette was an incoming freshman. Fournette was a special breed of athlete, like LeBron James or Tiger Woods who all the world said would be a star and said athlete somehow still probably out-achieved the expectations. Fournette’s LSU career ended poorly due to injuries, but his 2015 campaign is still among the most special in LSU history.
But dozens of others never meet those expectations. Xavier Carter was a 5-star football recruit. Russell Shepard was a 5-star QB that most were certain would bring the LSU offense into modernity. Ryan Perrilloux was the greatest QB in Louisiana HS history. Chris Davenport looked like the next game-changing DT. Busting happens. Expectations are difficult to outrun. Potential is just an estimation of capacity.
Travez Moore is one of the biggest unknowns in the 2018 signing class. Few exhibit more potential, but can he cash in on all that promise?
Some recruits take a winding path. Moore is a player that received little attention during his senior season, but a name that constantly remained on the fringe in LSU recruiting circles. He kept a 3-star rating, but yet everyone knew of him. At 6 feet 3 inches, 235 pounds, he sported gobs of physical ability. LSU kept contact with Moore, knowing he was a grade risk. New LSU DL Coach Ed Orgeron liked his potential. By signing day, the LSU class filled up and most expected Moore to sign with TCU, but the coaches convinced Moore to go the JUCO route to put him on a path to sign back with LSU.
Moore signed with Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Wesson, Mississippi where he played the last two seasons. During that time, he didn’t make much of an impact. Recruiting talk largely went quiet beyond your stray questions on message boards or social media. Then last February he committed to LSU out of the blue. Throughout the rest of the recruiting cycle, most questioned whether or not Moore would truly get eligible or even if the staff would honor his spot in the signing class. By early signing period, things cleared up as Moore signed with LSU.
110 - 101 = Franchise Player. One of the best players to come along in years, if not decades. Odds of having a player in this category every year is slim. This prospect has “can’t miss” talent.
100 - 98 = Five-star prospect. One of the top 30 players in the nation. This player has excellent pro-potential and should emerge as one of the best in the country before the end of his career. There will be 32 prospects ranked in this range in every football class to mirror the first round of the NFL Draft.
97 - 90 = Four-star prospect. One of the top 300 players in the nation. This prospect will be an impact-player for his college team. He is an All-American candidate who is projected to play professionally.
89 - 80 = Three-star prospect. One of the top 10% players in the nation. This player will develop into a reliable starter for his college team and is among the best players in his region of the country. Many three-stars have significant pro potential.
79 - below = Two-star prospect. This player makes up the bulk of Division I rosters. He may have little pro-potential, but is likely to become a role player for his respective school.
247 Composite Ranking: ****
247 Composite Rating: .9074
That rating makes him a fringe 4/3 star player, which seems about right. Given his on-field production is remarkably sparse, this rating has to be based entirely on his immense physical potential. He’s officially listed at 6 foot 4, 250 pounds, which is an NFL sized DE. I do appreciate the NFL size, but I think the 4-star rating is a bit of a stretch, even as a fringe 3-star.
I’m not going to spend too much time poring over HS highlights from 2 years ago. What immediately pops is that his physical skills are impressive. He, without a doubt, looks like the most dominant athlete on the field. He’s explosive. He’s rangy. He’s fast. He’s strong. Travez Moore is a physical specimen.
What also pops is that he plays with absolutely no technique. There’s no real effort to use pass rush moves. There’s no playing with leverage. Moore just beats people by running around them or blowing by them.
I do take more encouragement from Moore’s camp tape. Now, admittedly, he’s not in pads here. But he does look like he’s picked up some techniques along the way, which could make a lethal pair. When a player with his physical acumen develops sound technique, it can produce a dominant player. But again, we’re evaluating off of either 3-year old film OR 30 seconds of padless camp performance.
Travez Moore needs to contribute immediately. Period. Look, LSU used a spot in their recruiting class on Moore and if he shows up and can’t win playing time in 2018, then it was a wasted spot. At 6 foot 4, 250 pounds, there’s no need to wait for physical development. This guy should be your Arden Key replacement. Maybe not to that caliber, but it should be expected he can step into a starting role capably.
Instead, nobody knows. Aranda said he’s got everything physically, but he’s struggled to get the mental side of the game down. Not great. There’s not much buzz around him during a spring practice that’s spent a lot of time talking about players that have never produced in LSU uniforms: Breiden Fehoko and Jonathan Giles. That tells me the staff isn’t blown away by what they’ve seen to date.
Now, that doesn’t mean Moore will never come around or be productive. But as of right now, I’m not banking on much from him. Moore, to me, looks a lot like a great athlete that isn’t a great football player. He’s big and strong and fast and everything you’d expect a great football player to be, except for the whole being good at football part.
I hope I’m wrong, but this was my least favorite take in the recruiting class.
High End: If potential hits, probably a 1st round pick.
Low End: Never plays even as a role player.
Realistic: I think he’s a role player that they may use as a speed rush threat, but he’ll never iron out a full role.