Marist kicker Justin Moore commits to Georgia Tech

It has become increasingly rare to see place-kickers land full-scholarship offers right out high school. Marist’s Justin Moore ended up with two — and he accepted the one he got from Georgia Tech this weekend.

“Yeah, I’m a Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket,” said Moore, who had been committed to Miami of Ohio since mid-June. “It all happened pretty fast.”

Tech has known about Moore for a long time — he attended their kicking camp the last two years — but was unable to offer him a scholarship when they were maxed out at 12 scholarships most of the fall. But that was before Morgan Burnett, Jonathan Dwyer, Derrick Morgan and Demaryius Thomas declared themselves available for the NFL draft.

That the Jackets were willing to offer up one of the four precious grants-in-aid is a testimony to how coach Paul Johnson and his staff feel about Moore as well as their concerns about the state of their current kicking game.

“I’m pretty sure I was always high on their rankings but they didn’t think they were going to sign a kicker,” said Moore, who earned a Top 12 ranking from the prestigious Chris Sailer kicking camps he attended in Las Vegas each of the last three years. “So there wasn’t really any contact for a long time. But after those four guys went to the NFL, they called last Wednesday and basically offered me. I went to Tech on Friday and did a little unofficial visit. I talked to Coach Johnson and I committed while I was there.”

Moore plans to take his official visit to Tech this weekend.

Tech’s current kicker Scott Blair is will be a senior next season. But Johnson assured Moore he would be given the opportunity to compete for immediate playing time.

“That was one of my questions going in,” Moore said. “Coach Johnson said you wouldn’t be sitting there in that chair if not.”

Blair has been solid but unspectacular during his tenure. The Calhoun native was 14 of 20 on field goals last season and 9 of 14 from beyond 30 yards. He’s a career .667 kicker, .500 (5-of-10) between 40 and 49 yards.

Moore was only 3-of-5 kicking this past season with one attempt blocked. He had 48 touchbacks and also averaged 42-plus yards punting.

Moore’s news was just one pebble in what was a pile coming out on Sunday. Following is a brief summary but check back all day for detailed updates on all the scenarios:

  • As reported Sunday, Gainesville quarterback Blake Sims re-committed to Alabama. . . .
  • Former Tennessee commitment Michael Taylor, a linebacker from Westlake, officially announced his commitment to Florida. “I actually committed last Sunday [Jan. 10] but I wanted to talk to the Tennessee coaches and had some other things to do. But I made it public today,” Taylor told me Sunday evening. More on all that later. . . .
  • Taylor’s teammate, cornerback Darius Robinson, has been offered a scholarship by Georgia Tech. The longtime Clemson pledge says he remains “100 percent committed” to the Tigers but is considering a visit to The Flats. A month ago, Robinson said he’d seriously consider flipping to the Yellow Jackets if they ever offered. . . .
  • Daunte Carr, a longtime Stanford commitment, switched to Arkansas on Sunday. There were some questions about whether Carr, a good student, was going to meet the Cardinal’s rigid academic requirements. . . .
  • Also heading to Arkansas is Greater Atlanta Christian athlete Julian Horton. Horton, a wide receiver and defensive back, is expecting to play offense for the Razorbacks. . . .
  • There were numerous reports that Henry County wide receiver Markeith Ambles abruptly canceled his official visit to Tennessee this past weekend in order to visit North Carolina. Ambles, who has long been committed to the Vols, could not be reached. . . .
  • All indications Sunday were that North Gwinnett tackle JaWuan James returned to Tennessee and intends to remain with the Vols. . . .
  • Southwest DeKalb’s Marcques Dixon and Troup’s J.C. Copeland reaffirmed their pledges to the Vols after visiting Knoxville this past weekend. . . .
  • Stephenson defensive tackle Michael Thornton did not travel to Miami as expected this past weekend but said may still go next weekend. Meanwhile, there are reports out of Alabama that Thornton has eliminated Auburn, though he would neither confirm nor deny. . . .
  • Warner Robins defensive tackle Jeff Whitaker visited Auburn this past weekend but said he still plans to visit Georgia and Miami before making a decision on Feb. 1. . . .
  • Port St. Lucie, Fla, linebacker Deon Rogers remained a Georgia commitment after he left a visit to Louisville this past weekend. UGA coaches are slated for an in-home on Monday, then Rogers is set for a trip to Mississippi State on Jan. 29. . . .
  • Marcus Smith, a 6-3, 205-pound quarterback from Hardaway High in Columbus, did commit to coach Charlie Strong’s Cardinals. Also signing up for Louisville was four-star offensive tackle Torrian Wilson of Miami-Northwestern.

107 comments Add your comment

Lewis Buzzard

January 18th, 2010
5:09 am

I know a lot of people feel that a kicker is a risky scholarship offer, but I would venture that is the case with any high school athelete making the jump to college. I laud Coach Johnson for getting a kicker on scholarship. If Tech had a decent kicker in 2009-2010, there is a distinct possibility the UGA and Iowa outcomes may have been different. Now if he can use the rest of the recent open scholarships to round out this fine class, I see nothing but good things for this program in the near future.

USS Know it all

January 18th, 2010
5:51 am

Ambles appears to be ok with the Vols. At least that is what I heard.

Frank

January 18th, 2010
6:03 am

Congrats to Justin Moore on his scholly, and THWGT!!!!!

BAMA FAN #2

January 18th, 2010
6:14 am

From Alabama sources Ambles will visit Tuscaloosa next weekend Jan.22-23!! RTR

Yellow Fuzz

January 18th, 2010
6:45 am

Two Questions

One: How many uga players could earn a degree from Georgia Tech?
Answer: Very few, if any

Two: How many Georgia Tech players could earn a degree from uga?
Answer: Most, if not all

Come again?

January 18th, 2010
6:50 am

Darius Robinson remains 100 percent committed to the Tigers but would consider flipping to the Yellow Jackets if they offered.

100%, eh? Alllllrighty then.

Otis the drunk

January 18th, 2010
7:23 am

I got me some of them thar degrees from the North Avenue trade school. Found it at my favorite pawn shop down on Metropolitan Blvd. It has Sammy “janitor in a” Drummer name on it. Say did’nt he flunk out of Georgia but get a degee or job certificate whatever they give over there at he joke by the coke or little Nam

Stin

January 18th, 2010
7:25 am

Two Follow ups:
Well there are 4 that won’t get a degree from either…and you are dreaming if you believe that all your remaining Rhodes Scholar would matriculate from either school. Go get your IM major with the pre release practice exams so you remain qualified from the tutors…Your dreaming about the past significant superiority and what it means for our degrees….

Santa Cruz CA Dawg

January 18th, 2010
7:34 am

It would be awesome if UGA could land Thornton and Whitaker!
What % of chance do you think they have, now that Grantham is the DC?

Paddy

January 18th, 2010
7:37 am

I believe giving a good kicker a full-ride is a great idea. Schools give scholarships to many players that never contribute on Sat. But a good kicker can make the difference in your whole season. Never did understand coaches trusting their jobs to walk-on kickers in the first place. If I was in that position I would offer a kicker every 3 years just to be on the safe side.

Jacketman

January 18th, 2010
7:45 am

The past few years the Jackets have suffered with inconsistency in their kicking game. Scott Blair has never been “a sure thing”. Glad to see CPJ get another kicker.

Forrest

January 18th, 2010
8:05 am

Mama always said kickers are like a box of chocolates……

Foothills football fan

January 18th, 2010
8:06 am

Granting a scholarship to a high school kicker has been historically a risky proposition for Tech. Scott Sisson and Luke Manget have been the only successful ones in the last 25 or so yrs. I.I.R.C.

TommyP

January 18th, 2010
8:15 am

That kicker’s stats aren’t exactly great. He must’ve really showed them something at the kicking camp.

Has Charlie Strong made a splash early on at Louisville or what? Wow….gotta be one of the best recruiting jobs in that short of time.

Tech82

January 18th, 2010
8:15 am

Otis – Like most UGA fans, you long on hot air and short on facts. Sammy Drummer attended Tech for two years and did not earn a degree. That was before the NCAA imposed minimum academic requirements for incoming students. Should he have been there? No. Would he be there today? No. That was a different era and regardless, he didn’t graduate.

Just Sayin'

January 18th, 2010
8:22 am

The reason kickers are such a risky venture for most schools is that they get to kick PAT’s and field goals from an elevated block in high school but have to kick from the ground in college. That is a HUGE difference and it’s the reason most schools offer kickers preferred walk-on status until they prove themselves.

Tippy Toe

January 18th, 2010
8:29 am

Thank goodness…. We haven’t had a kicker worth Sh%$ since Manget. Hope this kid doesn’t suck it up like Blair.. Man, that sounded a little harsh, but true!

Top Dawg

January 18th, 2010
8:31 am

Chip: Let us know what Grantham will doing as far as recruiting, if possible.

Smoke Rings

January 18th, 2010
8:33 am

I DON’T THINK UGA CARES IF SOME LITTLE KICKER LIKES THEM OR NOT! GIVE ME A BREAK DUDE. ITS’ LONELY AT THE TOP OF THE STATE BOYS

DamntheButcher

January 18th, 2010
8:41 am

Yellow Fuzz you ran your mouth about what Tech was going to do all year and it was proven that you don’t kbnow crap. Why don’t you stay off of the blogs and let people who know what they are talking about like me speak. You are stupid. Georgia Tech gives the players grades!!! Don’t you remember the scandal of about a year ago you idiot.

Gator Nation

January 18th, 2010
8:50 am

Welcome Michael Taylor! Will be good to see you in the Swamp right along with the other members of the #1 class!! We have had great success with Georgia players and look forward to cheering you on!

SMH

January 18th, 2010
8:54 am

Marist sucks, Tech sucks, and no one cares about a kicker accepting a scholarship.

messin with sasquatch

January 18th, 2010
9:02 am

love the all caps comments. unfortunately its still the AFATO conference. No g in AFATO.

al

January 18th, 2010
9:03 am

Wow Ramblin Wrecker, If little Moore hates UGA, it is going to be a very very looooong 4 years for him.

Senior Discount

January 18th, 2010
9:04 am

Wow, great news that Tech stole a kicker from Miami…. (wait for it)…… of Ohio. I’m sure this is the one recruit that will put Tech and it’s high school offense over the top. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

collegeballfan

January 18th, 2010
9:12 am

Thornton needs to go to Tech. A perfect fit and he will start in 2010.
No other school can tell him that and not be lying. Look at the rosters!

chuck allison

January 18th, 2010
9:12 am

Yellow fuzz, the bigger question is how many Tech football players can earn a degree from GA. Tech. I suspect that the four who left for the NFL anticipated academic problems, so they chose to be well paid but uneducated.

4th Place SEC East Dawg

January 18th, 2010
9:20 am

ALL are plaerz is smart to dang it

Brunswick-Tech

January 18th, 2010
9:29 am

nice pick up. Got to have a kicking and punting game! Go Jackets

JMar

January 18th, 2010
9:40 am

How exactly does a team go through an entire season and only attempt 5 field goals? Is Marist one of those “go for it on 4th and anything” teams?

Porty

January 18th, 2010
9:42 am

Otis the drunk, you’re all class, considering that Sammy Drummer has passed into heaven. How about laying off the dead, you dumb jerk.

BuzztheKiller

January 18th, 2010
9:55 am

Kickers may not seem to be a big deal, but Johnson realizes, that as important as field goals (Tech makes the two misses in the UGA and Iowa game- they finish 13-1) is deep kickoffs. How many yards did Tech give up on kickoff returns because Blair can’t kick it deeper than the 10 yard line, and often the 15 or 20. I like that More had 48 touchbacks. That alone will make a huge impact.

As for you clowns that have no clue what you are talking about as far as the Tech Management degree- I can promise you it is no cakewalk. I have the degree as a well as an MBA from another top 5 business school, and the BS in Management was not much easier. Now, of course, if you don’t finish it, granted, you have not accomplished what you set out to do, but the four juniors did make it 3 years in the program, no easy feat in itself. Tech “giving” grades…that’s a laugh. Tech gives nothing when it comes to academics, athlete or not. Hopefully they will all come back and finish in the offseason or after the NFL as many other past Tech stars have done. I remember sitting next to Eddie Lee Ivery in class in the early 90’s after his NFL career. Joe Hamilton and Brian Oliver (basketball) finished in the past couple of years.

Who cares!!!!

January 18th, 2010
9:58 am

Tech signs a Kicker?????? So what…………. I guess that’s big news for Tech recruiting. How sad!

1eyedJack

January 18th, 2010
10:00 am

BuzzKiller, How did Joe Hamilton finance that return to school to get his degree? Did he have a part time job?

gatorman770

January 18th, 2010
10:02 am

Welcome to the Gator Nation, Michael Taylor!

Otto

January 18th, 2010
10:10 am

Smaart move by Coach Pajamas to go with a good kicker after the UGA and Iowa games.

Buzzwax

January 18th, 2010
10:15 am

From what I have read, Coach Johnson has offered two kickers in his entire coaching career, Moore and Jason Elam……maybe he knows more about recruiting than all of these internet ‘experts’…..

Porty

January 18th, 2010
10:29 am

Yes, he played in the NFL for 4 years as a backup, 1 year in NFL Europe and in the Arena League for 3 years til he blew his knee out twice. He has a Super Bowl ring with the Tampa Bay Bucs.

atl-xmen

January 18th, 2010
10:35 am

waste of a scholly…the king of” going on 4th down” doesnt use his kicker/punters enough anyways. this tech team will have a hard time getting any good recruits on offense as long as pj is the head coach. ga tech had no shot of winning that game against uga anyways..uga players are better and they played like it that night…

1eyedJack

January 18th, 2010
10:43 am

You’ve got limited sholarships and your defense is atrocious. What do you need?…Yes, a kicker!!!

And you don’t need a punt returner either.

You need some big fat linemen so you don’t get pushed around the field like a special olympics flag football team.

ratherBgambling

January 18th, 2010
10:46 am

All this about a kicker? Is this all the news GT can make?

A four start linebacker from Georgia commits to UF and it gets 2 sentences?

By the way dawg fans, brace yourself for Da’Rick Rogers joining the Gator Nation

OptionBee

January 18th, 2010
10:47 am

Hey Otis, don’t take a shot at Sammy Drummer until you get one of your friends that can read to look up “Pulpwood” Smith, a former UGA player that could not even read, but played football for 3 years! When the story broke, they quickly vanquished him back to Douglas, Ga. They got the good out of him, and cast him aside!

Also Stin, the correct grammar would be “you’re” or “you are” versus “your”, so be careful what you say about academics…you are showing your ignorance!

Also, the academic flap at Tech several years ago WAS NOT about giving grades to football players (do your homework!) it was about progress toward graduation, a newly installed mandate from the NCAA which Dave “Brain Damage” did not monitor correctly! These kids changed majors, and subsequently lost graduation credits toward their new majors, and thus fell behind the incorrect time line for graduation the guidelines required!

bigDawg14

January 18th, 2010
10:52 am

i knew moore growing up…the kid said he could hit a 50 yarder in middle school. he’s a good guy so congratulations to him and tech. But marist and tech both suck

OptionBee

January 18th, 2010
10:53 am

Georgia fans need to be aware that their savior Da’Rick Rogers is a problem child! According to several SEC and ACC coaches he is a problem child that taunted the coaches at the allstar game for not throwing more passes his way on TV! Yes Sir, you got a good one! Better put extra security guards on your all night gas stations!

Honestly, I hope someone can reach this kid and save him from destruction! So start now, and stop blowing smoke up his arse about how good he is!!

MR

January 18th, 2010
11:01 am

chuck allison and all you other dawg fans;
J. Dwyer has his degree. The other 3 will complete theirs in time. If you knew what you we talking about you would not be posting here or for that matter be dawg fans.

OptionBee

January 18th, 2010
11:03 am

1EyedJack seems your posts are consistent: they lack research and facts! First of all, Joe Hamilton went back to school on the balance of his scholarship. Tech was one of the first schools to pay for former atheletes to finish their degrees (honor their original promise of a college degree). These players are treated like a player that gets hurt, and can no longer participate, and do not count against the scholarship limits. Second, Georgia has 3 (if I am not mistaken) kickers currently on scholarship, so what is the big deal about Tech giving one??

Seems you got the name 1EyedJack because you made one of famous nobrain comments to Paul Johnson, and he “punched you in the face”!

MR

January 18th, 2010
11:05 am

OptionBee;
Do you really think facts matter to this leg humpers? No, they can’t see past the nose on their pimply faces. They think that just because they have seniors on their team that means they have graduated. I wonder when the two juniors that left UGA will graduate.

Chip Towers

January 18th, 2010
11:05 am

OptionBee: I was at the Under Armour All-American Game and Da’Rick Rogers didn’t taunt the coaches. You’re welcome to state your opinion here but I won’t allow people to perpetuate lies.

1eyedJack

January 18th, 2010
11:06 am

Sorry OptionBee, I guess the coke money was just for pizza and such.

MR

January 18th, 2010
11:06 am

No Tech player can be recognized by the school unless they graduate. no ring of honor in basketball, baseball, or footballl without a degree.