IRVING, Texas — Texas A&M defensive end Damontre Moore is turning pro in something that is most definitely football. But not soon enough to do the Sooners any good.
Moore announced Sunday night that he will forgo his senior season to enter the NFL Draft. But first comes the Cotton Bowl on Friday night, when OU's success will depend in part on keeping Moore away from quarterback Landry Jones.
Moore, channeling Von Miller, the A&M pass-rush star of 2010, had 12 1/2 sacks this season and made consensus All-American.
“He deserves all the hype,” said OU center Gabe Ikard. “Being able to play in the SEC and put up the type of numbers he has takes being a special and talented player. He is a big, physical guy with some God-given talent.”
Moore served as Miller's backup in 2010. Now Moore puts the wreck in A&M's wrecking crew. He was expected to declare for the draft, but even Sunday morning at Cotton Bowl media day, Moore was noncommittal.
“It's a good feeling to get it out of the way,” Moore said. “It is one less thing so now I can truly focus on beating OU.
“The mindset I went in with every year was play this game like it is your last game and leave everything out on the field. If anything, it might give me a little edge knowing it will be the last game I play in a Texas A&M uniform.”
Moore spent the previous two seasons as more of an outside linebacker. But new A&M coach Kevin Sumlin hired Mark Snyder as defensive coordinator, Snyder switched A&M to a 4-3 defense and suddenly Moore was a traditional defensive end.
“He has worked extremely hard and bought in,” Snyder said. “He is a standup guy. When we got here, we felt like he as a defensive end. We told him if he trusted us and worked hard, good things were going to happen for him, and they did.”
Moore lines up on both the right and left sides, so OU tackles Lane Johnson and Tyrus Thompson will be on alert.
“He's a great force,” Landry Jones said. “Did a lot of good things on the SEC. But you can't forget about our guys at the tackle position. We've got some pretty good tackles, too. They're going to have to step up. They're going to have to play pretty well to go against that guy, because he's extremely talented.”