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Sunday, January 23, 2022

Carl Moore owes his spot on UF's roster to his hatred of high school chemistry.

After receiving a D in chemistry, Moore, now a wide receiver for the Gators, failed to qualify academically to play football at a four-year school. He was forced to attend junior college instead.

"I'm not really one of those DNA, tRNA (people)," Moore said. "That's not me. I'm not really a science guy."

A couple years later, Moore said attending junior college was the best thing that could have happened to him.

"Me going to junior college is definitely a blessing, because it gave me a chance to grow up," Moore said. "I wasn't mentally prepared for D-1 football. My freshman year, I would have been running around, acting stupid, not being focused on football. Going to juco gave me the opportunity to grow up."

Since transferring to UF this off-season, Moore's maturity hasn't been called into question, and neither has his talent.

It hasn't taken long for the 6-foot-4 wideout to begin turning heads at practice.

"At one point in time, coach Meyer was saying I had the best hands on the team, but I see Carl the same way," senior tight end Cornelius Ingram said. "Carl Moore has basically been doing the same, same exact thing."

Moore said he was being recruited by several Pacific-10 Conference schools and Nebraska out of high school, but his stock really began to rise after a Tennessee scout saw him in a junior college game. The Tennessee recruiter was there to see Woodny Turenne, who later signed with Louisville. When Moore dominated one of the top cornerback prospects in the nation, it became apparent that he was a special talent.

Moore said Tennessee tried to offer him a scholarship on the spot, without realizing he was only a freshman.

"They thought I was a sophomore, just because they figured a freshman wouldn't be able to do that to him," Moore said.

The five-star prospect was clearly coveted by UF, and his recruitment led to accusations of two separate recruiting violations.

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UF officials investigated after the Gainesville Sun quoted Moore's girlfriend, Maranda Smith, as claiming that Meyer called her daily during the recruitment of Moore and Smith. Smith, who attended Sierra (Calif.) Community College with Moore, is now a gymnast for the Gators.

UF also investigated after an article in the Sacramento Bee reported that Meyer phoned Moore moments after quarterback Tim Tebow won the Heisman Trophy and handed the phone to Tebow. That would be an NCAA violation.

Meyer has since been cleared of any wrongdoing.

Moore appears to be the logical choice to fill the void in the starting lineup left by Andre Caldwell, who graduated and is awaiting the NFL Draft. But Moore said trying to replace the school's all-time receptions leader is the last thing on his mind.

"I'm not really going after any role at all," he said. "I am just trying to learn the offense and learn the routes and everything and learn how to read the DBs and everything.

"The thing I'm lacking is running the schemes and reading and stuff like that. In junior college, you didn't have to do that. It was just, 'Beat the man in front of you.' You don't have to worry about where he is going to be or anything like that, like disguised coverages. There isn't anything like that. You just have to show that you're better than the guy in front of you, and that's it."

Ingram said that Moore has a great chance to be a major factor from Day 1, but he expects him to see a lot of competition, particularly from redshirt freshman Deonte Thompson.

"You can just see that (Moore) wants it, and he's really trying to focus in on his job," Ingram said. "That's what our coaches want us to be: aggressive. They want us to want the ball, want to come in and watch extra film on your own. He's been doing all the little things."

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