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DAN MOORE

Griz RB Moore headed to all-star game

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Montana running back Dan Moore dives through the air for extra yards while rushing against Northern Arizona on Sept 22, 2o12. Moore had 74 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

A couple of weeks after missing out on one all-star football game Dan Moore got invited to another – the Montana Grizzlies’ running back is headed to Saturday’s Texas vs. The Nation game in Allen, Texas.

Moore, 5-foot-11 and 235 pounds, was selected as a fullback for the Nation team. It made for a busy Monday that included a call to UM equipment manager Rob Stack.

“I found out about it this morning,” Moore said from the Missoula airport on Monday afternoon. “Mike (Boyer, Moore’s agent) called me this morning, and said a fullback bowed out and that I was the guy.

“I went home, packed up some stuff, called Stack and asked him to overnight my pads, and it all worked out.”

It was big news for Moore, who had a promising senior year – he ran for 375 yards and four touchdowns in Montana’s first four games – sidetracked by a serious ankle sprain.

He finished his final season with the Griz with 413 yards rushing and 203 receiving, but he attracted plenty of attention with some highlight-reel plays – like his hurdling, 87-yard touchdown on a screen play at Appalachian State.

Boyer, out of Washington, and Moore both said 28 of the 32 NFL teams had contacted either or both of them.

“I know teams a lot of teams have said they see him as a fullback,” said Boyer. “The thing they like about him is his versatility – his hands in addition to his toughness and strength and blocking. He can do a lot of things.

“Teams that don’t necessarily use a fullback have still called him.”

Moore has been in San Diego training alongside Griz teammate Gerald Kemp, under the tutelage of former NFL quarterback Akili Smith.

Smith put Moore in contact with long-time NFL fullback Lorenzo Neal, and that almost led to Moore playing in the Jan. 19 NFLPA all-star game in Los Angeles. At Neal’s suggestion Moore drove up from San Diego and met several coaches, though he didn’t get in the game.

“But I’ve got a second chance,” he said. “I’ve got practice tomorrow (Tuesday) at 3 o’clock. I’m going to try to show ’em what I’ve got.”

The Texas vs. The Nation game began in 2007 in El Paso, moved to San Antonio in 2011 and then became the NFLPA all-star game in Carson, Calif., in 2011.

Now comes a different Texas vs. The Nation, played back in the Dallas suburb of Allen. Moore will be one of 15 or so non-Bowl Subdivision players on the Nation squad. Unofficially, no other Big Sky Conference players are headed to the game.

There hasn’t been a glut of Big Sky players playing in these senior showcases. Montana State defensive end Caleb Schreibeis and Portland State kicker Zach Brown went to the East-West Shrine game; Sacramento State tight end Taylor Knowles and Southern Utah quarterback Brad Sorensen went to the NFLPA game.

The Texas-Nation game is a good sign for Moore: the last two Griz who played in the game, Colt Anderson in 2009 and Shann Schillinger in 2010, are playing in the NFL (the first Griz to play in it was Josh Swogger in 2008).

“It’s a great opportunity for him,” Griz coach Mick Delaney said in a release from UM. “I’m just so excited and happy for him, because you know Dan – this is what he’s lived for, just to get a chance.”

Fritz Neighbor can be reached at 523-5247, at fneighbor@missoulian.com or @Fritz_Neighbor.

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