The remarkable journey of TCU’s Caylin Moore from poverty to Rhodes Scholar

Caylin Moore sat in the rare books room at the Los Angeles Public Library on Saturday evening, his heart beating out of his chiseled chest, awaiting the news that could change his life forever.

Earlier that afternoon, Moore, a senior safety on the TCU football team, had interviewed for a Rhodes Scholarship, one of the world’s most prestigious academic honors. He was one of 14 finalists competing for two awards in District 16, which covers Southern California, Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands.

The winners — and 30 more honorees from the country’s 15 other districts — would go on to study for two years at Oxford University in England. And while Moore, a 2011 Children’s Defense Fund Beat the Odds honoree, 2014 Fulbright Summer Institute Scholarship awardee and recent Rangel Scholarship recipient, felt optimistic about his chances, the rest of the room felt at least as good about theirs.

“While everyone else is talking and bragging about what they had done, I just sat there quietly,” Moore told FOX Sports this week, recalling the tense three-hour wait between the end of his grueling interview and the announcement of the winners. “And when they’d ask questions to compare themselves to me, I would just kind of keep it short because I didn’t feel it necessary to do that.

“I think half the people that were there, they kind of slept on me,” Moore continued. “They didn’t see me as a threat. They probably just thought I was there for charity.”

If such misguided suspicions did exist among the other finalists, one could understand why.

A child of poverty, Moore is the second of three children, raised in a single-parent home in a gang-ridden neighborhood of Carson, California, and for parts of his life he shared a bed with his mother, Calynn, his big sister, Mi-Calynn, and his younger brother, Chase. His father, Louis Moore, was abusive, Moore's mother says, both before and after she left him in 2000, when Caylin was 6. Nine years later, Moore’s dad was arrested for the murder of his then-girlfriend, and in 2012, he was convicted and sentenced to 50 years to life in prison.

But there’s far more to Moore’s story than simply using football to escape his own rough neighborhood and hard-luck circumstances.

An economics major pursuing minors in mathematics and sociology, Moore carries a 3.9 grade point average and is on track to graduate in May. While at Marist, where he played quarterback for three seasons, Moore worked as a janitor. After transferring to TCU, Moore founded an outreach program called S.P.A.R.K. (Strong Players Are Reaching Kids), in which Moore and his Horned Frogs teammates visit elementary schools in disadvantaged Fort Worth neighborhoods, stressing the importance of education.

And as he sat down for his Rhodes Scholarship evaluation, Moore said he did so as prepared as he’s ever been for anything in his life.

“Walking into that interview, I felt as if my whole life had led up to that moment,” Moore said. “It was kind of weird. I felt like I was watching a movie of myself. And when I sat down, I said, ‘Let’s get it.’”

Once the interviews were complete and the panel finished deliberating, the candidates — 14 of some 2,500 Rhodes applicants nationwide — were asked to form a circle in the room as the winners were announced.

“At first they called another girl’s name,” Moore said of Nicole Mihelson, a Johns Hopkins neuroscience major who was the first to be recognized by the board. “And I was just sitting there, nervous as all outdoors. But I just kept saying, over and over in my head, ‘Caylin Moore is a Rhodes Scholar. Walk by faith, not by sight.’”

Finally, they announced the other scholarship recipient. His name was Caylin Moore.

“When they told me I kind of just stood there and looked at the ground because at first I didn’t want to believe that I really had won,” Moore said. “Because that would pretty much say that anything is possible, and I don’t know if I was ready to accept that yet. So I just kind of stood there. I was overwhelmed. I literally got on my knees and prayed and cried and thanked the Lord.”

And then he called his mom.

“He was in tears,” Calynn Taylor-Moore said of her son. “I said, ‘Hallelujah,’ and he said, ‘Hallelujah, Mom, I’m a Rhodes Scholar.’ And the next words out of my mouth to him were, ‘God is who he says he is, and this is bigger than you. We needed this.’

“‘We’ are those who are underserved, those who have very average minds, very average lives, very average financial means,” Taylor-Moore continued. “‘We’ are the regular, common, average people who needed to see that this was possible, needed to dream dreams that are so big, that are so colossal, that are so nearly impossible that it would take divine intervention for them to occur.”

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For those who have never experienced the hardships that Moore and his family have faced, it can be difficult to truly appreciate how much he’s overcome to become the second Rhodes Scholarship winner in TCU history.

As a child, Moore lived in Fontana, about an hour east of L.A., and eventually the family moved to nearby Moreno Valley, where they lived in a sprawling five-bedroom, four-bath house. From the outside, Taylor-Moore said, the family had “the perfect Brady Bunch life,” but inside the atmosphere was toxic, and the situation only worsened as the kids got old enough to understand the life they were living.

“My husband was abusive,” Taylor-Moore said. “He never laid a hand on me, because had he laid a hand on me, one of us would be in the morgue and one of us would be in jail. But he was verbally abusive, he was financially abusive and he did everything in his power to break my spirit.

“He would tell me that I was dumb,” she continued. “He would tell me that I was ugly, I was stupid — which, by the time I met him I had a BA in psychology, a master’s in clinical psychology, and I later went on to get another master’s in theology and a law degree — and I realize, in retrospect, that he was not a whole person.”

Eventually, she says, things reached a point where Moore’s father began threatening violence against both Taylor-Moore and the children — although she said he’d shown those tendencies years earlier.

“Caylin was still a baby and I remember (his father) would go check in the middle of the night and see if he was wet,” Taylor-Moore said. “And if he was wet, he’d wake my baby up and spank him. This happened on two occasions — spanking a child because he’s wet in a pull-up, which is something that children do. And I told him that this was unacceptable.

“I said, ‘You will never lay a hand on my child again, and if you do this, I will end you,’” she continued, her voice pointed. “And that’s exactly what I meant.”

Finally, in November 2000, Taylor-Moore decided she’d had enough, and while her husband was out of town on a weekend trip, she gathered the kids — at the time 3, 6 and 8 — and left for her mom’s house in Carson.

“He would threaten to kill me, threaten to kill the kids, and I said, ‘No, this ends and this ends right now,’” Taylor-Moore said. “I had to show my children strength and show them that this was not what life is about. It’s better to be in a single household with one parent that loves you a whole lot than to be raised in a household with two parents who can’t show love at all. I did it to save our lives.”

For the next seven months, Taylor-Moore made the 75-mile drive back to Moreno Valley almost every day. While the kids were in school or in taekwondo — Caylin, as it happens, is a black belt — Taylor-Moore would take law classes at Trinity College in Santa Ana, and it was on those long hauls that Caylin and his young siblings got their first true taste of higher education.

“When we were taking that ride from Carson to Moreno Valley, I would give them my law books and we would brief cases together,” Taylor-Moore said. “They’d read cases to me and I would IRAC it — address what the issue was, what the rule was, what the analysis was and the conclusion. So they were reading law books to me, briefing law cases for me at 4 years old, 6 years old.

“I’ve always spoken to them as if they were adults,” Taylor-Moore continued. “I never spoke baby talk to them. So they had the ability to reason and apply knowledge and rationalize. Who they are now is who they were by the time they were 3 years old.”

At the same time, Taylor-Moore also did her best to keep the lines of communication open between her children and their father. On Sundays the family would meet for breakfast, or to see a movie, or to play at the park — an effort, she said, to give them as “normal” a childhood as possible. But eventually that, too, came to an end.

“It had gotten worse for me because my ex-husband was attempting to reconcile with me after me telling him that, ‘No, this is over, this is done, there will never be anything between us,’” Taylor-Moore said. “And one of those days I offered, ‘You know what I can do? I can drop the kids off at your mom’s house on a Friday and I’ll come back and get them on Sunday, so you can have them on the weekends and do anything you want.’ But I told him, ‘I can’t be a part of this,’ because I could see his abuse flaring up again.

“I had all three kids in the back seat of the car at the time, and he looked at my babies and said, ‘If I can’t have you, I don’t want them. What am I supposed to do with them?’” she continued of the conversation. “And I said, ‘Get out of my car. That’s it, I’m done.’”

It was from that point on that Caylin, a second-grader, effectively became the man of the Moore household.

“He taught me how to read at a young age,” Chase Moore, now 19, said of Caylin. “He taught me how to tie my shoes, ride a bike, play football. We did so many things that you would expect a dad to do (with his son) at a young age, so I’ve always seen him as a father figure, and it made us extremely close. It developed a level of accountability with everything that we did, and he gave me the ability to be honest with myself.”

At the same time, Taylor-Moore said, the boys’ actual father continued to terrorize the family. According to Taylor-Moore, he called child protective services on three different occasions, claiming that Taylor-Moore had threatened to kill herself and the children.

“They came to take my kids from me and I had to battle — it wasn’t a hard battle, but it was uncomfortable all the same — to prove that I’m a worthy parent,” she said. “And that’s scary, when a police officer and a social worker come to your house and say, ‘Hey, someone said you’re threatening to kill your kids, so we’re taking them for the night.’ But it was all false allegations, and if you think I’m not supposed to fight that, you’ve got the wrong woman. It was, ‘Please, let’s do this now, because I’m more than capable.’”

It was one of several instances where Taylor-Moore said her ex-husband used intimidation to bully her and her children.

“We lived in fear,” she added. “Looking in the rear-view mirror wherever we went, driving different routes to try to get home, staying awake at night to see if he’s out there.”

It was for that reason, in part, that Caylin has described himself as having been “homeless” in the past, going so far as to write the word on his body as part of a photo shoot for the Dear World project last year. That’s not to say Moore didn’t have a roof over his head — he admits he always did — but throughout his childhood, he never felt fully comfortable with his surroundings.

“When I wrote that, I wrote some literal things and some metaphoric things on my arms and body,” Moore said. “And when I wrote homeless, that alluded to me never feeling at home. I never quite fit in. I never quite felt good where I was.”

“You’re living in a house where someone is threatening to put you or your children out,” Taylor-Moore added, “Someone is telling your kids, ‘You’ve got to stay outside all day and you can’t come in the house until it’s dark,’ or I, myself, would stay out of the house until the house was quiet, and then I’d come in and put myself and the kids to sleep. So I can understand why, mentally, Caylin felt homeless. A home is a place where you should be comfortable, where you should be able to rest and close your eyes.”

By 2002, Taylor-Moore and her husband had officially divorced, but their legal separation hardly represented a fresh start. In addition to ongoing threats from her ex, Taylor-Moore, at the time a family and divorce lawyer, was also sexually assaulted by a nurse following open heart surgery to remove a tumor.

Taylor-Moore said she subsequently fell into what she described as a “coma-like state,” and it was Caylin, then 9, who helped pull her out of it.

“It was a 30-day fog, and I really don’t remember much,” she said. “But one thing that I do remember is one day Caylin came to me and said, ‘Mom, come on, you’ve got to get up.’ And when he walked me to the bathroom, he had a chair from the dining room area in the bathtub. He’d taken a plastic trash bag and placed it over the seat.

“He took my clothes off, undressed me, sat me down in that chair in the tub, and he bathed me, head to toe, and I started crying,” Taylor-Moore continued. “And then as he washed my hair, I started feeling alive. I realized that here’s this 9-year-old kid, my child, who had the compassion to know that something’s not right with mom. And I kind of shook myself out of it, re-engaged with society and promised God that I was going to raise my children to the best of my ability, and that’s what I did.”

However, normalcy didn’t come easily — and one could argue that it never came at all. Then in the early hours of Aug. 27, 2009, Louis Moore murdered his girlfriend, Jillian White, in Fontana, and in doing so, put his family through hell one last time.

“Me and my mom, we were in our room watching a movie, it was called ‘The Core,’” recalled Chase Moore, the youngest of the Moore siblings. “My sister, she was in her room, and I remember I didn’t have a T-shirt or shoes or socks on, just some basketball shorts. And my mom had a T-shirt and some sweatpants on. We were just comfortable, relaxing, enjoying a movie in the summer.

“In the movie there were police officers and helicopters and all this stuff, and when we saw them, we were like, ‘Dang, this is crazy, it’s so loud,’ and I asked my mom to turn it down a little bit,” he continued. “So she cut the volume down, but as she did, it got louder and louder and louder. And then out of nowhere, you hear the huge bellow of a helicopter over our house saying, ‘Will the residents of (our address) come outside one by one with their hands up?’ And in that moment we knew it wasn’t the movie.

“Then (my mom) looked out the window and saw police officers with shotguns, automatic rifles, everything, you name it,” he added. “So she said, ‘All right, Chase, come on, let’s go.’ I never even put on my shoes.”

It had been several hours, at that point, since Louis Moore committed the murder, and police suspected he may have been hiding inside the family’s home. Calynn, Mi and Chase were held in police cruisers while officers searched the area.

“It was a big ordeal, and it was very frightening to have a helicopter hanging overhead and to see so many cop cars parked outside, shotguns pointing in your window, with dogs coming through your house looking for somebody who you have nothing (to do) with,” Taylor-Moore said. “I even told them, ‘Look, I have a restraining order. Why would I harbor him?’ And it was several hours before they told us why we were being inconvenienced.”

While that scene was unfolding at his family’s home, Caylin Moore was at football practice preparing for the start of the season. Coaches pulled him off the field when they’d learned what happened, but Caylin, as usual, seemed unfazed by the turmoil surrounding him.

“People that come from where I come from, they understand that everybody is dealing with stuff like that,” Moore said. “So that didn’t make the news, that wasn’t the talk of the neighborhood. You see drug busts at houses. You see police coming and kicking down front doors. You see police arresting your dad’s friends and all that type of stuff all the time. So it was not atypical.

“At the high school I went to it was normal,” he continued. “I’d say, 90 percent of the time, when we were at football practice, there would be a helicopter that flew over practice, over the projects, looking to arrest somebody.”

Caylin’s composure soon rubbed off on his brother, as well.

“If it was tough, he masked it very well,” Chase Moore said of the experience. “He didn’t act out negatively. He understood what happened, and I remember when I was crying, he didn’t shed a single tear. He was just motivated, ready to step up, ready to be there for his family. He wasn’t hurt by the fact that (our dad) wasn’t there because he knew that in the long term, he would be.”

Police eventually located Louis Moore in Riverside 12 hours after the shooting in Fontana, bringing his reign of terror over the Moore family to a bittersweet close.

“There was definitely relief,” Taylor-Moore said. “And I actually reached out to (the victim’s) family. I spoke with her sister and tried to answer or address any questions that they might have of me with regard to understanding the tragedy.

“Because, as an ex-wife, when I screamed for help and told people that this is what was going on and what we had endured, people pushed it under the rug as something bearable,” she continued. “But then when he actually follows through on one of his many threats, now you realize what it is me and my children were going through.”

For most people, a childhood like Caylin Moore’s would prove to be an unconquerable hurdle, especially in a community where violence is a way of life and expectations are uncommonly low. Had Moore ended up on the streets or in jail or even dead, it would not have been a particularly surprising fate, given his circumstances.

But Moore, of course, is not a common person.

After all, in the Moore household, the question was never one of whether he’d go to college, but where, and from a young age, he dove headfirst into his education. Still, there were those who had doubts about his potential.

“In the seventh grade, he was going to a public middle school in an affluent area, and he had a history teacher at his school, and during the course of a conversation, the history teacher told him that he could never get into UCLA,” Taylor-Moore recalled. “I didn’t know that, and the next day when I was driving him to school, he had a sad look on his face and I asked him, ‘Baby, what’s wrong with you?’ and he said, ‘Mom, Mr.’  — and he said his name — 'he told me that I couldn’t get into UCLA.’

“I hit my brakes on the freeway and pulled over to the side of the road right then and there,” she continued. “And I told him, ‘Baby, you are only limited by your dreams. You don’t allow anybody to tell you what you can’t do. You can show them better than you can tell them, and if you desire to go to UCLA, you will be able to go.’”

And while Moore was a good student in elementary and middle school, it was once he was accepted to Verbum Dei, a prestigious prep school in inner-city Watts, that he truly began to blossom in the classroom.

“It’s a school for kids that are underserved and who fall into a particular poverty level in order to gain admission, but once they get in there, it’s a newer version of boot camp,” former Verbum Dei football coach James Durk said. “It’s like, ‘OK, whatever study habits that you thought you developed that weren’t good, we’re going to get them right. We’re going to teach you to exist in the workplace so that you might be able to keep a job when you get a real job. And we’re going to educate you and show you that, yes, you can qualify for college and go if you choose to.’”

“It really allowed my intellectual abilities to flourish,” Caylin Moore added of his time at Verbum Dei. “But mainly it allowed me to flourish as a young man, understanding what it means to walk with pride, to carry yourself with swagger, to have confidence, what it means to tell your story and speak with authority and stand up for what you believe in, your morals and principles. And it taught me a very, very, very strong work ethic, in academics, athletics, everything.”

Yet, while Moore thrived in high school — his brother, Chase, even described him as “the face of the school” — it made little difference to many back home in his neighborhood.

“The people that go to my school are from my community, and in that situation, you don’t have people who are going home to parents that are professors, lawyers and doctors,” Moore said. “I don’t even know how to put it in words. It’s more glorified, more respectable, to be a gang member. It’s more respectable to have an arm sleeve full of tattoos. It’s more respectable to have a criminal record before you leave high school. Being smart, that’s not particularly respected.”

The one thing that was held in high esteem, he said, was sports.

“I remember, when when I was walking down the street with my brother and someone would pull a gun us or something like that — I’m not exaggerating — and say, ‘Where ya’ll from?’ and that’s gang slang, basically asking which gang you’re from,” Moore said. “Because if you’re from the wrong one, they’ll kill you right now. And what me and Chase would say was, ‘We just play ball.’ And then it’s, ‘Oh, all right,’ and then they’d just let us go. Football was literally the only escape.”

As a junior quarterback at Verbum Dei, Moore threw for 1,670 yards and 17 touchdowns, and as a senior he passed for 1,397 yards and 15 more scores. Throughout his career, he kept his sights set on an opportunity at the collegiate level, a goal that may have saved his life.

“Where I come from, if you come from single-parent households, which all of my friends did, football is the place where you get positive male role models,” Moore said. “That’s one of the only places you really see that. And it’s like I said, the only respectable thing where I come from is football. It’s the only way.

“If they ask you, ‘Where you from?’ and you say, ‘I just go to school,’ they’ll ask what school, and if you say Centennial High School it’s, ‘Well, that’s a Bloods school, we Crips, let’s fight,’ or, ‘I’m gonna shoot you,’” Moore continued. “But if it’s, ‘Oh, I play football and I’m really trying to go D-I,’ the same gang member well tell you, ‘Hey, I respect that. I was trying to go D-I too but I ended up getting locked up. So keep going, little man, I believe in you. You give me hope.’”

Initially, that FBS offer never came, but Moore did get into 19 of the 25 schools he applied to — including UCLA. And when he was offered a full ride to play football at Marist, he eagerly accepted.

“You don’t know how many kids I have right now that I coach who will bypass a Division II or Division III opportunity, or NAIA, thinking that, ‘Oh, no, I want to go D-I,’” said Durk, who met Moore in 2009 and coached him at Verbum Dei. “But they’re not D-I material. They’re really D-II material and we’re telling them that. But Caylin was smart enough to see his opportunity.

“Some kids never take full advantage of what’s free for them in front of them,” Durk added. “They kind of waste it away. But he took advantage of every little nook and cranny afforded to him.”

While at Marist, Moore played sparingly. After redshirting in 2012, he appeared in two games as a freshman and two more as a sophomore. He then transferred to TCU, where he never saw the field as a junior. He’s yet to make a sizable impact as a senior, either, but for Moore football has never been about the on-field accolades.

“With sports, I don’t just do it for people’s approval or because they think I should or shouldn’t do it,” Moore said. “It comes from a deep, burning passion to get the most out of every talent God has given me. I’ve been blessed to be given talent in football, so why would I not use it? And I think that’s a testament to my work ethic, my character, that with all the academic things I’ve done, I can still be a Division I athlete.

“I put in more work than football, in sports, than anything,” he continued. “It almost triples or quadruples what I put into academic work. My academic work hasn’t come close to what I’ve put into sports. And I’ve seen the returns, and those are things you’ll see through my character rather than maybe seeing in the NFL draft. The fruits of my labor are going to be long-lasting.”

When asked about Moore’s impact on his team, TCU coach Gary Patterson couldn’t say enough about Moore’s contributions to the program in the short time he’s been at the school.

“Caylin Moore is one of those guys where he impacts a lot of people, not just guys on our team,” Patterson said. “He’s helped them on the academic side, talking about preparing for a game plan in academics in life just like you do on the football field.

“He’s overcome so much,” Patterson continued. “All of us can listen to Caylin Moore and learn something. What he’s been able to accomplish with the least amount of help that he’s gotten, and then to move forward, is truly incredible. A lot of people in his lifetime are going to be touched by what he does. He’s truly an amazing person. I’m a better person right now because he’s part of our team and part of this TCU community.”

That’s a sentiment echoed by Moore’s high school coach, Durk.

“What you get when you have a Caylin on your roster is the glue to keep the pieces together,” said Durk, now an assistant coach at Dominguez High School in Compton. “You know he’s going to be at practice, you know he’s going to be academically eligible, you know you’re not going to catch him out at 4 in the morning doing something he shouldn’t be doing. So he’s an extreme example for college kids that, ‘Hey, I look like you, and you can do things right like I do.’ Every coach wants several Caylins on their team.”

“It’s truly amazing what the young man does and how he gets it done,” added Patterson, whose Horned Frogs visit Texas on Friday (FS1; 3:30 p.m.). “Every day we should wake up and all of us should be a little bit more like him.”

Despite all her son has accomplished, Taylor-Moore still describes him not as the brainiac you’d expect, but as an average California kid who has thrived because he’s put forth extraordinary effort.

“Caylin is not a rocket scientist,” she said. “He’s not super-smart. He doesn’t have the highest IQ. He’s an average kid who applies super-average intelligence to get to where he is. And anybody can do exactly what Caylin has done.”

That might not be entirely true, but Taylor-Moore’s point is the same one she always preached to her own kids — that no child should be defined by their circumstances, and that anyone can succeed if they give themselves the chance.

“When he gets to heaven he’s going to stand in front of God and say, ‘Lord, I have nothing to give you because I used every talent you gave me,’” Taylor-Moore said of Caylin. “And I believe that any young person that applies themselves in the same way will reach reasonable results. They may not be Rhodes Scholars, but if you shoot for that star and fall short, you still land on a cloud.

“So I celebrate it,” she continued of his success. “He has just taken every talent that God has given him and has used it for the betterment of himself, his community and this world, and God’s not done yet.”

That same attitude has permeated throughout the entire Moore family, as well. Mi, 24, is a licensed vocational nurse. She will be going back to school in January to pursue her RN. And Chase, a Beat the Odds scholarship winner in his own right, spent his freshman year playing defensive back at Holy Cross and is expected to transfer to an FBS program in the coming weeks.

He says he hopes to follow in Caylin’s footsteps as a Rhodes Scholar when his time comes.

“Coming from where we come from, people don’t go to college,” Chase Moore said. “People don’t even leave a 10-block radius from their homes. So it’s unfathomable for people to achieve this kind of academic excellence that he has, and he’s representing not only the Moore name and not only himself, but all of inner city Los Angeles, all of the people that have been told no. And I aspire to achieve the same level of success, if not greater than he has.”

Taylor-Moore, meanwhile, works as the director of sports operations, director of football operations, recruiting coordinator and compliance officer at Verbum Dei. There, one of her primary goals is to get student-athletes into college and to earn scholarships to help pay for an education. So far, she says, she’s helped more than 150 kids get into school, a number she’s always looking to grow.

“I help any kid that asks, and it changes lives,” she said. “It absolutely changes lives. So what Caylin does, what Chase does, what Mi does — it’s how we breathe. It’s very normal. This is what we do.”

That doesn’t mean the Moores are free of the burdens that may have weighed down a lesser family, however.

Money is still tight, and to this day, Taylor-Moore doesn’t have hot water in her house, which she still shares with her mother. She worries about whether she’ll be able to afford the trip to Fort Worth for Caylin’s senior day celebration next week, and the neighborhood is by no means safer than it ever was. And that’s to say nothing of the myriad health problems Taylor-Moore battles on a daily basis.

But still, she says things are getting better, if only because her Rhodes Scholar son is living the dream he’s been chasing since birth.

“‘Better’ is that he’s safe on a college campus,” Taylor-Moore said of Caylin. “Chase is safe on a college campus. They have their own room. They can eat as much food as they want, as often as they want. They don’t have to worry about anyone walking up to them and hitting them up with gang signs and asking them what set they’re from. They can wear whatever color they want and not have to worry about somebody chasing them down to cause them harm. They’re safe, and my goal is to get every kid safe.”

That’s an objective Caylin has taken to heart, as well. When asked in high school what he wanted to be when he grows up, Caylin once responded, “Great.” By all accounts, he’s already done that, and as a freshly-minted Rhodes Scholar, Moore’s hope is that his capacity to affect change will only grow.

“He’s achieved more off the field than he could ever achieve on it,” Taylor-Moore said of her son. “His impact off the field is so much greater. He could score all the touchdowns in the world, but a touchdown goes in the history book. Now he can live history and he can connect the chains of change.”

“You always want to use him as an example because these kids can relate,” Durk added. “‘Come on man, he has dreads, he looks just like you. He looks like your cousin, looks like so-and-so.’ But guess what? He’s got himself together. He’s ready to move forward. He does the right things and when you do the right things, the right things happen for you.”

You can follow Sam Gardner on Twitter or email him at samgardnerfox@gmail.com.

3.9 College GPA. They told me "just get a job out of highschool, college is not for everybody."

A photo posted by Caylin L. Moore (@caylinmoore_nlmb) on

"It ain't gon' make sense on paper"

A photo posted by Caylin L. Moore (@caylinmoore_nlmb) on