The Pittsburgh Steelers reportedly had Connecticut linebacker Sio Moore in for a pre draft visit on Thursday, and once again, our scouting buddy Dave-Te\’ Thomas was kind enough to give us his detailed scouting report profile on him, which you can read below. Make sure to listen to the last week\’s episode of the podcast as we had Thomas on for nearly a full hour talking about the Steelers draft and prospects.
SNORSIO ALSTON “Sio” MOORE
Outside Linebacker/ Inside Linebacker
University of Connecticut Huskies
Apex, North Carolina
Apex High School
West Haven High School
Opponents that took the Connecticut defense lightly the last two years soon went home “licking their wounds,” thanks mostly to the performance of Moore and rush end Trevardo Williams attacking their backfields on a regular basis. The huskies appear to have four high level prospects that are expected to hear their names called during the 2013 NFL Draft, but it is Moore that has seemed to capture the most attention from NFL teams recently.
Called by The NFL Draft Report “Jason Pierre-Paul Light,” that scouting information service listed three Huskies on their 2012 Super Sleeper Team, which consists of the most underrated players in college football at their respective positions. Much like the New York Giants All-Pro, Moore has outstanding athletic ability and under the guidance of head coach Paul Pasqualoni, the player has learned to harness his energy and play within the system.
Moore is the first to admit, that before he was taken under Pasqualoni’s wing, he would play the game as if “his hair was on fire.” While he recorded 110 tackles as a sophomore, there may have been an equal amount of missed tackles left on the playing field. Football coaches are hard people to please, and after two seasons with the former Syracuse head coach, Moore understands that by now.
When Moore first joined the Connecticut program, he was tabbed as a player with seemingly unlimited potential. He would have a very productive game one Saturday and all but disappear the next week. “Sio, like a lot of our defense, made big plays and then wasn’t consistent enough on other plays,” Pasqualoni said. “I don’t think Sio was any different than anybody else out there. There were guys on defense making plays, but you’ve got to do that for 60 minutes consistently.
“There’s a lot of positives things there and there’s some things we absolutely have got to get better at,” the coach stated during his first year at UConn in 2011. Pasqualoni had just
Returned to the head coaching ranks and known as a defensive guru, he witnessed first-hand the transformation of another college athlete who became a perennial All-Pro during the coach’s time as a linebacker coach with the Dallas Cowboys – Demarcus Ware.
Now, two years after his coach did his own form of “tough love” to get him to work within the system, Moore has become one of the more intriguing players at his position. Scouts that attended practices and games saw that the Husky linebacker has very good upper body muscle definition and a frame that continues to grow and add more bulk, having arrived on campus as a 215-pound recruit, only to leave the program at a powerful 245 pounds. He showed off that strength ability at the 2013 NFL scouting Combine, where his 29 repetitions in the 225-pound bench press was one of the best among the linebackers attending the event.
While Moore might lack in ideal height, he is a player with well-defined legs and explosive closing speed. He is quite effective when operating in space and demonstrates good strength to take on and defeat lead blockers in run containment. He makes most of his plays on the move, as he has the lateral range and agility to sift through trash and burst to close, easily beating lethargic blockers to record 44.0 stops behind the line of scrimmage during his career, the fourth-best total in school history and also tied with Georgia All-American Jarvis Jones for tenth among active players in the NCAA Football Bowl Sub-division ranks.
When taking on lead blockers, Moore does a proper job in dipping his shoulder and maintaining leverage in plays directed at him. He also demonstrates that he has more than enough hand strength to take on and shed to make the play. His strength and hand punch allow him to shock the offensive linemen coming off the ball.
In pass coverage, Moore also has the good hand usage needed to reroute tight ends and backs in the short area, as less than 20% of passes targeted into his area have been completed over the course of the last two seasons. He also displays excellent timing and leaping ability attacking the ball in flight, deflecting eighteen passes while intercepting four others during his three seasons in the starting lineup.
With his explosive speed and smooth backpedal (had one of the best 40-yard dash times of all linebackers at the Combine, clocking 4.65 seconds), he covers ground quickly working along the perimeter and has enough pop to take down running backs, bringing his arms and feet to fit and secure.
Moore shows the athletic agility, loose hips and quickness to drop and get good depth in pass coverage, making him an ideal fit for a Cover-2 scheme. Under the tutelage of Pasqualoni, he has also developed much better awareness when attempting to to look up and jump the receiver. Ge demonstrates very good stop-&-go action, accelerating well turning out of his backpedal, and also has the hand skills and body adjustment to grab the ball in front of him.
In his last two seasons, Moore has recorded 14.5 quarterback sacks, causing four turnovers in the process. He has also developed into an explosive blitzer who is sudden coming off the edge, closing fast on the pocket. His career total of sixteen sacks placed him tied for tenth in school history.
Moore is sort of a transplanted Connecticut native, so to speak. As a freshman, he played at West Haven High School, but the family moved to North Carolina before his sophomore season, where he played two three seasons for Apex High. He had originally planned to play his senior season back home in West Haven, Connecticut, but plans changed and he returned to North Carolina, playing an expanded role for his Cougars’ team.
Moore thought he was moving back to Connecticut with his mother. However, in the end, he and his family decided it was best he finish his senior season in North Carolina after all. He was given plenty of playing time on both sides of the ball and thrived during his senior campaign. The fullback and linebacker earned All-Area and All-Tri Seven Football League honors, but it was his athletic skills that enticed then Connecticut head coach Randy Edsall to offer him a scholarship.
“Some things just came to our attention with going to West Haven that weren’t really conducive to watch I wanted to do academically, so I decided to move back down to North Carolina with my sister,” Moore explained. “It wa just a better situation for me down here and I get to finish my senior season with my teammates as well.”
At Apex High, Moore was just a lightly regarded two-star prospect, according to several recruiting services. Scout.com rated him 50th among the nation’s weak-side linebackers.
Some colleges were even eyeing him as a potential running back, especially after seeing him rumble for 94 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries vs. Athens High in 2007.
Even though he was miles away in North Carolina, Moore kept in constant contact with the Connecticut coaching staff. Before stepping on the Apex High field for his senior season, he signed his national letter of intent to attend Connecticut on July 12th, 2007 after he made a visit to their summer camp in Storrs.
Despite not having played on the defensive side of the ball since his freshman year at West Haven High School, Moore accepted a scholarship offer. He knew he would have to learn how to play outside linebacker for Connecticut and the Apex High staff agreed to let him play on both sides of the ball in 2007 before he embarked on his college career.
If the lack of experience was a concern, his athleticism certainly was not. During that summer camp in Storrs, he was timed at 4.57 in the 40-yard dash, 4.41 in the short shuttle, had a 38.5-inch vertical leap, broad jumped 10-foot-2 and ran the 100-meter dash in 11.1 seconds.
“I camped at Connecticut for about two weeks, as my linebacker coach from West Haven took me over after talking to the coaching staff,” Moore said. “I was in the middle of drills and the coaching staff brought me over to speak to me personally, telling me I was doing really well. When I got home from camp I was told I had an offer, so I spent the two weeks considering it and then finally committed.”
“One thing that really stood out to me when I met with the coaching staff was that there was absolutely no bull coming from them,” Moore added. “I liked how they went about their business on and off the field and they also put a hard focus on academics which really won both my mother and me over.”
“When I went to worked with Coach (Todd) Orlando he told me he was going to work me hard and then hit me in the face on the first drill with the bag and I knew from that point that this was my guy. Coach Edsall was also great, as was the entire coaching staff. The funny thing was that my mother actually told Coach Edsall she was committing before I did.”
Moore decided to move to North Carolina to live with his sister after his high school fresh-man year to allow himself a fresh start and focus on academics and becoming a better person, so to speak. He did not play football as a sophomore, but after making honor roll academically his sophomore year he did join the football team as a junior. His best game that season was a 24-carry, 160-yard, one-touchdown performance and he was able to play in seven games after a minor knee injury. That academic focus is something that Moore continued at Storrs.
“I guess the last part about what I liked so much at Connecticut were the facilities and feel on campus. The facilities and campus are beautiful, the weight room is absolutely nuts, the locker rooms are state of the art and the indoor field is off the hook. When you go upstairs you have a players’ lounge with big-screen televisions so you have a place to hang out, but the academic center is right there near you too for studying.”
“Connecticut was just the total package and is a program on the rise. They told me at this point that I will come in and play weak side linebacker for them which is fine with me because I will play wherever they need me, but I hope I can eventually line up on the strong side so I can get out there and blow some people up.”
From speaking to Moore throughout the recruiting process, it was obvious to the coaches that the Huskies had gotten themselves a well-grounded, intelligent young man with an idea of where he is headed in life. Add those intangibles to the athleticism he has shown on the field and in workouts and Randy Edsall and company turned over to the present coaching staff a player who was at first a project on their hands, but ended up being the heart of the Husky defense before his UConn career would come to an end.
After red-shirting for the Huskies in 2008, Moore saw sporadic playing time in 2009, appearing in just four contests, as he recorded six tackles. With Lawrence Wilson having graduated, there was a vacancy at weak-side outside linebacker entering 2010 fall camp. After playing at 215 pounds as a red-shirt freshman, he added fifteen pounds of bulk remaining on campus throughout the summer. He went on to start nine games that year and finished second on the team with a career-high 110 tackles that included 11.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage.
With Randy Edsall and staff leaving for the University of Maryland, Paul Pasqualoni arrived as head coach in 2011. Moore shifted to strong-side linebacker, changed jersey numbers (from #46 to #3) and changed his “thought process” on how to play the game. He started all twelve games and while his tackles were down slightly from the previous season (86), he made much fewer mistakes, earning Big East Conference honors while finishing second in the league and 20th in the nation with 16.0 tackles-for-loss, the eighth-best total on the school season-record chart.
After finishing 51st in the nation in total defense in 2011 (366.67 ypg), Moore led a spirited and veteran-laden unit that ranked ninth nationally in total defense (309.92 ypg) and eighth in run defense (97.92 ypg), as he was one of two UConn defenders to receive All-American recognition. The All-Big East Conference first-team pick ranked second in the league with eight sacks and 15.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage, finishing fourth on the team with 72 tackles. His pass coverage skills were also highlighted, as he deflected eleven passes targeted into his area as a senior.
Moore’s college career at Connecticut came to an end after the December 1st clash vs. Cincinnati, but he would be in for a sensational postseason. Invited to play in the East-West Shrine Game, he entered the week’s practices as an underrated prospect, but he showed during scrimmages what most already knew: he\’s a pretty good football player.
Because Moore was a versatile performer in college with good production as a hybrid linebacker for the Huskies, not looking out of place when asked to play in space vs. either the run or pass, he showed great explosiveness attacking ball carriers. Even in non-contact drills, his competitive drive and explosive hitting ability were evident, and most scouts in attendance quickly contacted the Senior Bowl on behalf of Moore.
When his Connecticut teammate, Trevardo Williams, injured an ankle in practice earlier in the week, Moore had an opportunity to play in the 2013 Senior Bowl. It was certainly not the way Moore would have scripted it, but when given a chance, a player has to make the most of the opportunity. That’s what the linebacker did in the game. He was part of the North squad that lost to the South 21-16. But the Connecticut prospect tied for the most tackles on the North squad with six – five of them solo. He also had a sack for a loss of 14 yards and led the North with two tackles for loss (16 yards).
Moore started 31-of-41 games that he played in for Connecticut – 22 at strong-side outside linebacker and nine on the weak-side…Finished with 274 tackles (174 solos) that included sixteen sacks for minus 105 yards, as those QB drops tied Mike Rembish (1987-90) for tenth on the school all-time record chart…His 44.0 stops for losses totaling 169 yards placed fourth on the school career-record chart behind Uyi Osunde (49.0; 1999-03), Maurice Lloyd (47.5; 2001-04) and Cody Brown (45.5; 2005-08)…His 44.0 tackles-for-loss tied Jarvis Jones of Georgia for tenth among active NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision players, as his 37 solo stops-for-loss tied Quanterus Smith of Western Kentucky for 12th among active participants…Intercepted four passes and deflected eighteen other tosses, as he caused and recovered four fumbles.
Moore was named to the All-American Super Sleeper Team by The NFL Draft Report and the league’s coaches named him to the All-Big East Conference first-team…Member of the Watch Lists for the Lombardi Award and Butkus Award…Started ten of the twelve games he played in at strong-side outside linebacker, ranking fourth on the team with 72 tackles (45 solos)…Finished second in the league and 23rd in the nation with 15.5 stops for losses of 78 yards, the tenth-best season total by a Husky…Second on the squad with eight sacks for minus 55 yards and registered a pair of pressures…Joined Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier in leading the nation’s linebackers with eleven pass deflections, which are the most ever in a season by a Connecticut ‘backer…Also recovered a fumble…Broke up a pair of passes and posted five tackles with 1.5 stops for loss vs. Massachusetts in the season opener…Added five hits that included a 10-yard sack and knocked down a pass vs. North Carolina State…Had seven tackles (5 solos), 2.5 sacks and three stops for minus 13 yards and two pass break-ups in a 24-21 decision over Maryland, a team coached by former UConn mentor, Randy Edsall…Produced nine tackles and 1.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage vs. Rutgers, followed by another nine-tackle performance that included 1.5 sacks for losses of 14 yards vs. Temple…Registered two more sacks with a pressure, two pass deflections and six tackles (5 solos) vs. Pittsburgh…Closed out his career with a 7-yard sack in the Cincinnati clash.
Moore received All-Big East Conference first-team honors from The NFL Draft Report… Moved to strong-side linebacker, starting all twelve games, as he also changed jersey numbers (from #46 to #3)…Finished third on the squad with 86 tackles, ranking second in the league and 20th in the nation with 16.0 stops for losses of 58 yards, as that total ranks eighth on the school season-record list…Added 6.5 sacks for minus 40 yards and three pressures…Tied for third in the conference with three interceptions and deflected six other throws…Caused two fumbles and recovered another…Credited with three sacks for minus 21 yards, causing an interception on a pressure while also forcing a fumble on one of his sacks, in addition to posting six tackles at Vanderbilt…Delivered 2.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage and seven tackles vs. Western Michigan…Collected eight tackles in back-to-back games vs. West Virginia and South Florida, followed by ten tackles (9 solos) and two stops-for-loss vs. Pittsburgh…Was in on thirteen tackles (7 solos) that included an 11-yard sack, 2.5 stops for minus 14 yards and a pass deflection vs. Louisville…Made two more stops for loss that included a 5-yard sack, causing a fumble on that play, as he later picked off a pass vs. Rutgers…Also had one interception in each of the Syracuse and South Florida contests.
Moore started nine of thirteen games at weak-side linebacker, twice earning Big East Conference Player of the Week recognition…Second on the team with a career-high 110 tackles (72 solos), as he had 1.5 sacks and 11.5 stops for losses of 32 yards…Recovered and caused two fumbles…Intercepted one pass and deflected another…His first Big East Player of the Week honor came after he recorded a career-high seventeen tackles (13 solos) with three stops behind the line of scrimmage and two forced fumbles vs. West Virginia. That performance also earned Moore Walter Camp Football Foundation and the Football Writers Association of America/Bronko Nagurski Award National Defensive Player of the Week honors…Turned in double-digit tackles with 16 vs. Buffalo (along with a 13-yard interception return to earn another Big East Player of the Week honor), 12 vs. Rutgers (eight solos and three stops behind the line of scrimmage) and ten vs. South Florida (all solos).
Moore saw action in four games as a reserve weak-side linebacker, recording six tackles on the season with one for a loss…Made three tackles, including one behind the line of scrimmage vs. Rhode Island.
Moore red-shirted as a 215-pound freshman…Named the Defensive Scout Team Player of the Week before the Louisville, North Carolina and Syracuse games…Selected the Special Teams Scout Team Player of the Week before the Hofstra game.
Injury report not provided at press time, but Moore played in every game his final three seasons.
4.65 in the 40-yard dash…1.61 10-yard dash…2.59 20-yard dash…4.31 20-yard shuttle…
7.49 three-cone drill…38-inch vertical jump…10’7” broad jump…Bench pressed 225 pounds 29 times…33 ¾-inch arm length…10 ¼-inch hands…78 5/8-inch wingspan.
After attended West Haven (Ct.) High School as a freshman, where he played outside linebacker, Moore’s family moved to North Carolina, where he earned All-Area and All-Tri Seven Football League honors as a fullback and linebacker during his senior season at Apex (Cary, N.C.) High as a senior…Lettered with the Cougars as a running back during his junior season, but did not play there as a sophomore…Received a two-star prospect grade from Rivals.com and Scout.com…Scout.com rated him 50th in the nation among weak-side linebackers.
Political Science major…Born Snorsio Alston Moore 5/02/90 in West Haven, Connecticut… Resides in Apex, North Carolina.