Jackson State quarterback Clayton Moore has pretty much seen it all.
The senior from Louisville, Miss., committed to Ole Miss out of high school in 2009 but, after a sideline incident with his coach, his scholarship offer was rescinded and he was invited to Oxford as a walk-on.
After spending a year on the Rebels’ scout team, Moore transferred to Mississippi Gulf Coast Junior College, where he racked up more than 2,500 total yards and 29 touchdowns, leading the school to a junior-college state championship.
From there, Moore transferred to Akron in 2011. After spending a season directing the Zips — who went 1-11 and ultimately fired coach Rob Ianello — Moore transferred back to his home state at Jackson State in the summer of 2012.
New Akron coach Terry Bowden preferred his quarterback to be a traditional drop-back passer, not the dual-threat type.
“I’ve met a lot of different people, and I’ve been around a lot of different athletes,” Moore said. “I think, if anything, the experience of knowing how to handle a team, keeping everyone on the same page, is the one positive I can take from going to school at so many different places.”
Though Moore eventually ended up at Jackson State, it was never a thought in his mind when he was recruited out of high school by a Southeastern Conference school.
“It wasn’t a place that I thought I would be,” he said. “But now that I’m here, I love it.
“I’d had some familiarity with Jackson State before coming here.
“I had some teammates that I played with in high school that went there, and some players that I’ve come in contact with through my connections that went there. It’s just a blessing that I ended up at Jackson State.”
Moore has a 9-5 record as the starting quarterback for Jackson State the past two seasons including a 9-3 mark in Southwestern Athletic Conference play. Through four games this year, he has accounted for more than 700 yards of offense and four touchdowns.
Moore credits his dual-threat abilities in helping him complete downfield passes.
“It goes back to my high school days of running the football, running that type of read-offense,” he said. “I think my rushing ability keeps the defense honest. Any time you can run and throw, the defense has to account for both. As a quarterback, sometimes it’ll help you get bigger windows to throw into.”
In preparations for Saturday’s 6 p.m. matchup at A.W. Mumford Stadium, Southern coach Dawson Odums has taken notice of Moore’s special qualities.
“He runs decent and throws the ball very well,” Odums said. “If you allow him to sit in the pocket ... without a little pressure on him, he can throw the football and throws it very well. He’s more dangerous, I believe, when he gets outside the pocket.”
Moore is looking forward to Saturday night’s showdown.
“They came to our house last year and put it on us,” he said. “They put it on us big time. Now we’re going to their place. We want to do the same thing. But we know it’s going to be a hard-fought game. ...
“This could be a matchup you could see in the SWAC championship.
“You try and not put too much into one game, but this is probably one of the biggest ones we’ll have all year.”