Today is July 6, 2019, which means we are officially just 56 days away til the Virginia Tech Hokies open the college football season at Boston College. Yesterday, we profiled Wyatt Teller, one of the more talented and fun Hokie players in recent seasons. For No. 56, well, it is an easy one.
Corey Moore came to Virginia Tech in 1996 via Holmes Junior College in Memphis, Tn. After not playing a ton in his first two years, Moore emerged as a star in 1998, his redshirt junior season. He finished with 13.5 sacks and was selected as a member of the All-Big East first team.
Moore’s true dominance emerged during his senior season of 1999. As we all remember, that was the greatest season in Virginia Tech history as the Hokies reached the national championship game. Moore was a major reason for Tech’s magical season.
At 6’0’, 226 pounds, Moore wasn’t physically overpowering like some NFL defensive ends, especially from this time period. However, he was faster than any defensive lineman in college football and his power was underrated. Moore’s first step was too much for collegiate offensive linemen and by the time they would get their arms up Moore would already be past them heading toward the quarterback.
Moore would finish his senior season with 17 sacks and he would once again be a member of the All-Big East first team. However, that would be the smallest honor for Moore as he was named a unanimous first-team All-American, joining Jim Pyne as only the second Hokie to earn that distinction. He would also win the Bronko Nagurski Award, given annually to the top defensive player in college football and also the Lombardi Award, given to the nation’s top lineman.
Moore would go on to earn a place in the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 2010 and the Hokies also retired his jersey.
While Michael Vick received most of the attention in 1999, Moore was the defensive version of Vick. Fast, dominant and unstoppable. Moore’s 1999 season would rival Bruce Smith’s final season in Blacksburg as the most impressive individual season for a defensive player in Virginia Tech history. That team was loaded, with players like John Engelberger, David Pugh, Chad Beasley, Carl Bradley, Willie Pile, Ike Charlton, Ben Taylor and many more on defense, but it was Moore who simply dominated.
Moore’s “Welcome the the Terrordome” speech is still remembered vividly by Hokie fans.
There have been so many great defensive players in Hokie history. But Moore is right up with there with Bruce Smith and Cornell Brown as the best. Moore’s 1999 season was as impactful as any individual performance in school history. He was added to both the 1999 and 2020 College Football Hall of Fame ballot and should be inducted someday.
For younger fans who didn’t get to watch that 1999 team, they missed something special. And Moore was as fun to watch as Vick was. It was a terrific time in Virginia Tech history.