GRIFFIN, Ga. - Over the last decade, Griffin High school has been one of the most dominant programs in the talent rich state of Georgia. With Coach Steve Devoursney's taking over as head coach in 2001, his Bears have gone 91- 26, including a 5-0 start to this season. This year, Coach Devoursney's squad has its first All-American in school history in safety Corey Moore.
"Corey is one of those kids who has gotten better each year, and that is what you want," Coach Devoursney said of his star safety. "He has stepped up, both physically and mentally, and he has become a big leader of this football team over the past two years."
"We knew Corey was a good athlete who would probably be big and tall so we knew he had the potential. Over the years he kept dedicating himself to the weight room and speed training, so he developed into a really good player."
The Griffin head coach was impressed with how well Friday's announcement ceremony was done, and he knows it will be a moment the senior defensive back will not soon forget.
"Obviously the Army is going to do everything first-class, and they did," said Coach Devoursney. "It is a big honor and something Corey is going to remember for the rest of his life, until he is an old man and can't remember anything."
The Army All-American tour goes across the nation, recognizing the top 90 high school seniors on the gridiron. While it is one of, if not the highest honor possible for prep athletes, the exposure is also a big benefit to the community at each stop as well.
"Corey (being an Army All-American) is a great opportunity, not only for Corey but also for our school and our staff. For our school, there are a lot of kids sitting out there who might be thinking about playing football who see this kind of opportunity and make the decision to try and see what doors it can open for them. This is a win-win for everyone," said Devoursney.
Sitting two seats down from Corey during the announcement in the Griffin gymnasium was his father Oscar Moore. The proud parent took the time to reflect on his son's journey and how hard work has been a constant in Corey's life.
"This has been a humbling experience for me, my wife and our entire family. Corey has always had the dream of playing football at the level he is currently playing at, and he has worked so hard. To see it all come to fruition is amazing, and I just thank God for every bit of it," said Moore.
Part of a working family, Corey's father has watched his youngest son grow up and develop the habits that have enabled him to harness his natural talent while also improving his physical abilities that now make him one of the best safeties in the entire country.
"Today was an emotional day," admitted Moore. "His mom could not be here because she is working, and throughout all of these years me and her have taken turns being there for Corey at all of his sporting events. We are just caretakers for Corey, and we know God has a bigger plan for him. As a young child, his older brother would be watching TV at home, and Corey would be outside throwing the football to himself. You could see that he really wanted to play football. He would race all of his older brothers and their friends, and they would beat him. He was always trying to compete and beat the best. All of those times resonate in my mind and remind me how he was always trying to get to where he is now, and how he will be successful in the future as well. We are just so glad that people see something in him that we always knew he had."
One thing that the Griffin standout has not done is brag about his ability or worry about where he is ranked amongst his peers. The camps and combines that Moore attended after making his commitment to the University of Georgia were all about improving his ability and preparing himself for the next level.
"Once this ceremony is over it is over for him," said Corey's dad. "He is worried about winning the next game. If you ever listen to him he is always talking about winning and being a team player. He is a very humble kid, not arrogant at all, so it is a joy just to see him take this whole process in and do it the right way. I am just enjoying watching him grow into a young man."
As he accepted his nomination to the Army All-American game, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound strong safety expressed his gratitude to those who have helped him along the way.
"First of all, I would like to thank God for putting me in this situation in the first place," said Corey. "Second of all, I would like to thank the US. Army for selecting me to play in this game. And third I would like to thank my teammates, my coaches, my teachers and my family for all of the help throughout the process.
The Rivals250 prospect, known as one of, if not the biggest hitter in the Peach State, was very proud for the chance to represent not only the high caliber of talent in Georgia, but also to show appreciation for the people fighting for freedom throughout the world.
"It is an honor to play in this game," said Moore. "I know it will be very exciting to play in the Army All-American game and it means a lot to be able to honor the soldiers out there defending our country. Just representing Georgia and the talent we have in this state, I hope to show out and do my best out there."
A team leader and role model for his younger teammates, Moore is especially proud of being given a chance to give back to the Armed Forces.
"I knew one of the soldiers who presented me with the jersey and talking to him and bonding with him really just makes this moment even more special," said Moore. "I totally respect what they do for all of us, and it just makes being in this game more of an honor as well. I plan to enjoy the process as well as my first time visiting San Antonio."
The U.S. Army All-American Bowl is in its 11th year and will be played Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, and televised by NBC. Over 150 Army All-Americans have been drafted into the NFL, and over 20 have made the Pro Bowl. The game has helped launch the careers of Adrian Peterson, Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, and Georgia native/current Kansas City Chief Eric Berry.