USC Gamecocks Football

Skai Moore: This team is a special group ... I've enjoyed coming back

One couldn't really blame Skai Moore for wanting to leave.

The South Carolina star linebacker posted three strong seasons to start his USC career, but the last was a mess around him What started with the best game of his career, ended with a 3-9 campaign that included a coaching change and FCS loss. A new staff was coming in, the rebuild was on, and all indications pointed to him taking his talents to the NFL.

Only it didn't happen.

He never officially declared for the NFL Draft, then announced a return. Soon after, news broke he had a neck/back injury that would sideline him for the entirety of 2016.

He came through that, returned to form and returned to the Gamecocks lineup. He watched the 6-7 bounceback campaign last season and now is part of a Gamecocks squad taking another step forward.

And a career that could well have ended as the program bottomed out instead gets a different final chapter.

"It feels good, kind of ending on this note," Moore said. "This team is a special group, a lot of talent. We play together. So I've enjoyed coming back. I'm happy I came back because I wouldn't have been able to experience this season."

He's helped lead USC to a 7-3 record, with an FCS opponent in Wofford this week. Win that, and the Gamecocks will be tied for the seventh-most wins in program history before facing Clemson and playing in a bowl.

Moore's own season has been solid as well. Playing at the center of a linebacker group woefully short on experience, he's tied for the team lead with 68 tackles. He's got seven tackles for loss, two sacks, a pair of interceptions and four QB hurries.

This from the man who made a mark on the program by leading the team in tackles his first three years and twice in interceptions.

He's only got three games left, but it’s in a second chance. He'll leave a team in a different place than he could have two years ago. It's something he sees as he puts the finishing touches on his journey.

"Sky's the limit," Moore said of where the program is now. "There's a lot of young talent. Everyone just has to feed into the same culture that Muschamp established here."