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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Pro scouts rave about Moore's all-around skills

 •  Special report: Hawai'i Bowl

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

Tulane running back Mewelde Moore does not surf — perhaps the only thing he does not do — but it is easy to surf for Moore.

There are at least three Web sites created with Moore in mind, one by the school and two others by fans. The sites offer updates, statistics and fun facts. (His name, in Swahili, means "he who gets his wisdom, knowledge and strength from God.")

Moore, who will compete in tomorrow's ConAgra Foods Hawai'i Bowl, tops the interview-request list regularly. Pro scouts already have written several rave reviews.

"Moore remains Conference USA's best all-around back," said Mel Kiper Jr., who analyzes the National Football League draft for ESPN.

As a sophomore last year, he became the first player in NCAA Division I-A history to amass more than 1,250 rushing yards and 60 receptions in the same season.

Critics noted this year's rushing yards slipped to 1,022 — the fourth-best, single-season total in school history.

Moore, a business major, also has a regular summer job — as a minor-league baseball player in the San Diego Padres' organization.

As a high school senior in Baton Rouge, La., Moore had his choice of football scholarships. "I could have gone to LSU, Southern Miss or Southern Methodist," he recalled.

He turned to his best friend — Sandra Moore, his mother — and their God for advice.

"The first thing is my mother," he said. "She never steered me wrong. I prayed a lot, and I trust God, and (choosing Tulane) was the right decision for me."

Moore said he was impressed with the honesty of the Green Wave coaches.

"They were straight forward and everybody has this type of wanting-to-do-it attitude," he said. "It was never a false thing. It was never a sheeps-in-wolves-clothing thing. It was always the truth. I'm happy I'm here" — also meaning Hawai'i, for a bowl berth that did not appear to be a possibility at the beginning of November.

Tulane moved into bowl position only after upsetting Southern Mississippi in the regular-season finale.

"When our number was called and it was time for us to put it all on the line and actually get here, we achieved that part of it," he said. "Now it's time to go out and play in this ball game."

Except for two social events this week, UH players had only seen Moore in football films. But Moore's no-nonsense style already has earned the Warriors' respect.

UH linebacker Chris Brown, who has never met an opposing running back he did not want to de-cleat, noted: "He's shifty and he breaks a lot of tackles. We're not looking for the big 'pop.' He's not real cocky. It's not like we have a lot of anger or anything toward this guy. He runs, and that's his job. We have to go over there and wrap him up."