When South Carolina linebacker Skai Moore first gave hints he might be reversing his choice to go to the NFL in early 2016, he posted on Instagram with the phrase “big safety.”
Though the implication, that he’s got the versatility and coverage skills to play in the secondary, is probably a little much, but it does point to one reality. He’s 6-foot-2, 221 pounds but considered a bit of a tweener for the NFL, small for a linebacker but not quite a defensive back.
South Carolina outside linebackers coach Mike Peterson spent more than a decade in the NFL, and he doesn’t think it hurts.
“I think that’s a plus for him,” Peterson said. “A guy that’s a tweener. A lot of people try to pigeonhole you and say, “Oh, you’re a tweener.’ A tweener means you can do a lot of things. You’re flexible.”
Moore showed some flexibility when he switched from middle to outside linebacker in early 2015. He boasts strong coverage skills for a linebacker, but at times, can get overpowered.
In his first three seasons, he left a mark on the Gamecocks record books, leading the team in tackles every year and interceptions twice.
He missed the 2016 season with a neck injury, and in 2017, he will be counted on at a depleted position. How he returns could say a lot of about his chances at the next level, but that tweener tag, not as much.
At least to Peterson.
“You’re not just a inside linebacker,” Peterson said. “You’re not just a defensive tackle. So that’s just how I try to spin that. And he’s definitely a guy who could play on Sundays.”