Brandon Moore was part of a UCF program that won 41 games over the last four seasons and he could have returned for a sixth and final season on a Knights team that is once again expected to compete for a conference championship in 2021. Instead, Moore opted to enter the transfer portal at the end of the 2020 season and finish his collegiate career at Florida State.
“I decided to enter the portal just because I’ve got one year of eligibility left, I wanted to fulfill that as far as using everything I feel that could help me prepare myself to get to the next level,” Moore said on Tuesday. “I felt like here it was a good fit. I got a chance to talk to the coaches once I entered the portal, got word that they’re interested in me and it kind of just kicked off from there.”
Moore sustained multiple injuries in the Knights’ 2019 season opener, which caused him to miss the rest of that season and all of the 2020 season. But he says he is ready to go now.
“Yeah, I’ll be ready to go,” Moore said of being able to participate in spring drills. “I was cleared during the season, but me just feeling how I felt, knowing I had an extra year, I decided to shut it down myself. As far as here, I’m 100 percent ready to go. I’ll be ready, I’ll be fine.”
According to one of his former UCF coaches, FSU is getting a reliable cover corner who excels playing in man-to-man coverage and does so with confidence. And Moore agrees with that assessment.
“I feel like I can cover really well, I can come up and tackle and if they need me to take away the No. 1 guy, I feel like I can do that,” said Moore. “I feel like I play the cornerback position really well, I feel like Coach (Marcus) Woodson and Coach (Adam) Fuller have a good plan here. I’m ready to just attack that, buy in, rally around the guys that are already here and try to make that room one of the best rooms in the country.”
And while he is confident about what he will be able to do on the field next fall it has been a bit of an adjustment after spending the previous five years in Orlando.
“I honestly can say that,” Moore answered when asked if transferring made him feel like he was starting college all over again. “I hate to admit it, but I do feel like a freshman again. I don’t know anyone and I’m just learning everyone’s names, I don’t know everything yet. I wouldn’t say I’m lost, I’m just not very familiar with everything that’s going on. Everything is definitely a good vibe so I do feel comfortable at the same time even though it’s new to me.”
While his new surroundings and terrain are much different in Tallahassee than they were in Orlando there is one person he is very familiar with: McKenzie Milton. The UCF quarterback was in the same recruiting class as Moore at UCF and has also more famously come back from an injury that also forced him to the sidelines for two years.
“It’s honestly crazy,” when asked about he and Milton’s parallel journeys. “A lot of people don’t even know, but (McKenzie) was my first roommate at UCF. We had already been cool when we were like 18 years old and we’re 23 now. We got hurt together, kind of similar injuries, a little different, but the knee. We rehabbed together for two years every day in the training room. We literally looked at each other every day for two years once we both got hurt. I can literally call him for anything. I’m grateful to know somebody like him. Just a special relationship and it’s crazy that we get to spend our last year together.”
Moore says he learned a lot about football watching from the sidelines that he thinks may make him a better player than he was before the injury.
“I feel like I learned more as far as what offenses wants to do,” said Moore. “Whether they want to see if you’re in zone, see if you’re in man. Just try to do little stuff to see what the defense is giving you. I definitely learned more but it’s nothing like actually being out there either. It has its pros and cons.”
He also learned a lot about FSU’s new quarterback, who served as a motivator for Moore as they rehabbed together.
“I just learned he really is a warrior,” said Moore. “McKenzie, his injury was worse than mine. But days I didn’t want to go through the rehab he’s pushing me. I’m looking at him on the other training table, getting his legs stretched, in pain and it’s like, ‘Dang, if he’s going through it. I know I can get through it too.’ He just came every day, saying, ‘We’re gonna get through this, bro. We’re gonna play again. Everything’s gonna be fine, bro. It’s a small step in a row.’ He’s just motivating me. I tell him every day, ‘Thank you for you don’t even know how many days I didn’t want to do it and you helped me.’ Seeing him run around when everybody said he couldn’t do it and there were reports that he might lose his leg. It’s just crazy.”
Moore also said that Milton will bring a winning attitude with him to the FSU locker room.
“He’s just going to bring that winning mentality,” continued Moore. “That’s one person I know who you don’t have to tell him to get ready. You don’t have to tell him this is a big game, ‘Come on, 10, let’s go.’ It’s just in him. I can honestly say being around him, rehabbing with him and watching him on the sidelines, 2017 and 2018 before he went down, it’s literally in him. We never felt like the game was over, we knew we could win every game just because it was in him. No matter who the other team had on defense, we knew we had McKenzie. His play speaks for itself. He’s just a warrior, man, and I feel like that’s just motivating him more. He’s just gonna be that edge to the team, that winning mentality and I feel like everyone’s going to buy in when they see him work.”
He also see similarities between where FSU is now and where UCF was when he arrived on-campus and that he and the other transfers, Jammie Robinson, Jermaine Johnson, Keir Thomas, DJ Williams, Jarques McClellion and Milton must lead by example.
“I feel like they are going to have to see us work,” Moore said of what he and the other transfers can bring to the 2021 FSU team. “It’s not just all talk at the same time. But at the same time it’s going to be telling those guys, like I say, we were once in their shoes. It was guys like, back at UCF, some guys didn’t buy in at the time. And then guys like Shaquem (Griffin) and the rest of those guys told them, ‘If you’re not going to buy in, bro, leave. We’re not going down this road again, especially when we got the talent.’ The talent is here also. These guys can play, man. It’s all about just believing you can win the game. Everybody got to put their pants on the same way. It’s about how you prepare. Just coming out, believing and trusting the game plan that Coach Norvell and Coach Fuller and everyone puts together. Once we do that, we’ll start winning a lot of games.”
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