Dec. 16, 2008
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Nashville, Tenn. -- Vanderbilt cornerback D.J. Moore became the first Commodore standout in 11 years to receive All-America recognition from the Associated Press when the organization named him to its second team defense Tuesday.
Moore, a junior from Spartanburg, S.C., also was named to SI.com's First Team All-America squad on Tuesday. SI.com became the second key Web site to pick Moore, following a similar decision published last week by Rivals.com. A third highly regarded college football Web site, PhilSteele.com, also recognized Moore as a second team All-American on Tuesday.
"I'm real happy to hear that," Moore said. "I want to thank my teammates and our coaching staff. The coaches really gave me an opportunity to get on the field early in my career and did a great job getting me prepared to play."
Head Coach Bobby Johnson praised Moore's playmaking abilities on the field and his contribution to Vanderbilt's first postseason bowl appearance in more than 25 years. The Commodores will play Boston College in the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl on New Year's Eve in Nashville.
"I've seen a bunch of guys that thought they could do what D.J. does on a football field, but I've never had anyone who could do so many things at such a high level," Johnson said. "D.J. has tremendous ball skills and has a fantastic feel for the game. D.J. just has a knack for making plays, no matter if he's playing offense, defense or on special teams."
Moore becomes the first Commodore recognized as an Associated Press All-America in more than a decade. Linebacker Jamie Duncan also earned AP second team honors after being honored as the Southeastern Conference's Defensive Player of the Year in 1997.
Last week, Moore became the first Commodore defensive back ever to earn consecutive first team All-SEC honors from the AP.
In 2008, Moore became perhaps the most versatile player in recent Vanderbilt history, seeing action as a defensive back, wide receiver, running back and return specialist. He excelled in every phase, including as a defensive back where he picked off six interceptions, second most in the Southeastern Conference behind Tennessee's Eric Berry.
As an offensive weapon, Moore caught seven passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns, rushing for a 9.1-yard average. On punt returns, he averaged 14.4 yards, ranking among the NCAA's best in the category.
Moore had a huge impact in several games this season for the Commodores, beginning in the opener at Miami (Ohio) where he contributed a quarterback sack, 91-yard punt return and interception in a three-minute span that resulted in 14 Commodore points.
Late in the season, he achieved a rare and remarkable feat in Vanderbilt's bowl-clinching victory at Kentucky. Playing both ways against the Wildcats, Moore became the first major college player in decades to collect two interceptions and two touchdown receptions in the same game.
The touchdown catches also came on Moore's first career receptions. Besides receiving Walter Camp Football Foundation National Defensive Player of the Week and SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors after the game, Moore also earned the rare distinction of also getting consideration for SEC Offensive Player of the Week recognition.