Missouri juniors testing the waters

Saturday, December 29, 2007 | 9:42 p.m. CST; updated 11:09 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

DALLAS – Missouri safety William Moore had just knocked down his third steak Thursday night at Lawry’s Prime Rib restaurant when the coaches finally had to cut him off.

“They told me I had to stop eating because I would get too big and have to move to linebacker,” Moore said. “Those steaks were good. I’m ready to go back there right now.”

Moore devoured the steaks with the same tenacity he used to help shut down opposing offenses this season. Moore finished second on the team with 104 tackles and tied for first in the Big 12 with seven interceptions.

After such a successful year, Moore, along with juniors Chase Daniel, Chase Coffman, Stryker Sulak and Ziggy Hood, submitted his name to the NFL draft advisory board to get feedback on his draft projection.

Of the five players who submitted their names, Moore may have the most incentive to jump early after going from relative obscurity when the season began to second-team All-America. ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. currently has Moore ranked as the second-best safety in the junior class.

Moore said he discussed his options with his family when he went back home for Christmas. He said his family wants him to graduate, but that he also knows opportunities like this don’t come around often for people who grow up in Hayti, a poverty-struck town in the Bootheel.

“That’s the biggest thing about it, coming from down in that area,” he said. “Not too many people even get recognized for a scholarship period. And me having an opportunity to go to the next level, it’s real big. I got a lot of pressure on my back about going or not.”

There’s also the risk of getting injured next year and losing all the stock he accumulated this season. Moore saw first-hand what happened to senior safety Pig Brown when he got hurt. Brown was on his way to earning All-America honors before he ruptured his Achilles’ tendon against Iowa State. Now it’s unclear when, or if, Brown will be selected in April’s draft.

“That’s a tough decision,” Moore said, “because anybody could get hurt.”

Moore said he hasn’t made a decision yet, but that he’ll have a much better idea after the Cotton Bowl when the NFL sends him his evaluation.

“Right now I’m just playing my cards out,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity to even be brought up in this situation. I’m one of those types of guys that just wants to get in the door. If I get in the door I’m pretty sure I’ll prove my point.”

TV STATION ISSUES APOLOGY: KARK-TV of Little Rock issued a public apology on its Web site Friday after airing a report Thursday saying that Arkansas running back Darren McFadden received a Cadillac Escalade with the help of agent Mike Conley.

“We have already personally apologized to Mike Conley for our poor standards of reporting,” the station said on its Web site. “And we want to publicly apologize to Mr. Conley for any distress he has experienced. And we also want to apologize to Darren McFadden and his family for reporting details of this story that were not accurate.”

Conley denied the report, telling KARK, “That is 100 percent a lie. I would challenge anybody to say that I have ever been at a dealership with Darren McFadden.”

Arkansas is still investigating the allegations because they could affect McFadden’s eligibility in the Cotton Bowl. On Saturday, the university issued a statement saying it initiated a review of the matter but that it was inappropriate to comment on the review at this time. It also reiterated that McFadden has not been ruled ineligible.

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