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NEWTON — Welcome back, Devron Moore.
That’s the word from Iowa State football Coach Paul Rhoads, who zoomed into Iowa Speedway Wednesday for a stop on the athletics department’s annual and increasingly popular Tailgate Tour.
“The intent is for him to be back and joining us,” Rhoads said of the touted junior college transfer safety who left the team in the spring because of homesickness. “He’s got school work to take care of and we’ve got an NCAA waiver that needs to get worked out and if all those things fall in line, then he intends to be at Iowa State in August.”
Moore will have to pay his own way as a walk-on player. The Carthage, Mo., native who starred at Northeast Oklahoma A&M, was one of three JUCO transfers to arrive in Ames in the winter.
A 5-foot-11, 185-pound junior, Moore officially signed as a mid-year recruit in early February, but left campus by early April.
“Very excited,” Rhoads said of Moore’s planned return. “We’ve certainly wanted him all along. That’s why we aggressively recruited him and were thrilled to get the commitment and sign him and were very sorry to see him go.”
Moore recorded seven interceptions in one junior college season and once collected three in one game. His playmaking ability made him the early favorite to replace longtime starter Jacques Washington at the top free safety spot.
He received no scholarship offers out of high school, but developed into a 3-star recruit who chose the Cyclones over Wisconsin, TCU, West Virginia, Texas Tech and Kansas, among others.
“I pretty much knew when I first took a visit (to Ames) that it was going to be hard to beat what they had to offer me,” Moore said shortly after committing to ISU.
Still, it wasn’t home, which beckoned — for a while, at least. Now Moore’s poised for a return, as long as he fulfills the aforementioned obligations.
“There’s a lot more to this than just the football decision,” Rhoads said. “I’m happy (with) the spot Devron’s in right now and encouraged that he and his family are pursuing this like they are.”
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Rhoads said during the Tailgate Tour that fans have most wanted to excitedly talk about the South End Zone project — which is expected to be complete for the 2015 season.
Also high among crowd talking points? Who’s going to win the three-man quarterback derby between Grant Rohach, Sam Richardson and Joel Lanning, of course.
“They think they’re going to get it out of me, too,” quipped Rhoads, who has said repeatedly the race will stretch into fall camp.
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