When TCU faces Georgia in the Liberty Bowl on Friday, it will be the final football game of TCU safety Caylin Moore’s life. However, it is just the beginning of the next chapter in Moore’s life, which, ironically, was made possible because of the values football taught him.
Moore was recently one of 32 people nationally to be named a Rhodes Scholar and get an opportunity to study at Oxford University in England next fall.
“I was just super humbled,” Moore said of receiving the prestigious honor. “Still, I cannot feel the words to accurately describe how I was feeling because I have never felt like that before, to be honest.”
Being named a Rhodes Scholar is quite amazing accomplishment in its own right, but the path Moore has taken to get there makes it all the more astonishing.
Not only has Moore excelled in his studies while playing football, but he had to beat the odds just to get to college. The 6-foot-2, 211-pound senior grew up on the border of Carson and Compton, Calif., an area with a bad reputation.
The expectation when you grow in that kind of environment isn’t very high, according to Moore, but his mother is credited with making sure he went down a different path.
“I would say the societal expectation was for me to end up in prison or dead or selling drugs or something crazy like that,” Moore said. “But I didn’t live in society. I lived in my mom’s house.
Her expectation was always it’s not a matter of if we were going to college, but which one. She always pushed academics on us. We always had the mindset that we were going to college even though that was probably not the norm outside of our high school.”
And that’s exactly what happened. Moore began his college career at Marist, where he spent three seasons before transferring to TCU.
But just because he was in college didn’t mean he would be successful.
However, it was once again Moore’s mother who played a role in seeing her son thrive not only athletically but educationally as well.
“Because coming from the environment I came from where you have gang violence, people that sell drugs and all these different lifestyles, my mom always wanted to put me on the path to success and pretty much always made education an important thing,” Moore said. “We had a very diverse upbringing despite our circumstances of not having finances and being in a safe environment.”
That educational focus that his mother instilled in him hit so close to home for Moore that he would actually email each of his professors throughout college at the beginning of each semester.
“What do I need to do in order to get an A in this class?” Moore said he would ask them.
It was his “obsessive work ethic” and determination that led Moore to becoming TCU’s first-ever Rhodes Scholar, but it’s the game of football, along with his mother, that gave Moore the values to get to where he is today.
“(Football) has given me a platform for my voice to be heard,” Moore said. “It’s given me positive activity instead of standing on the corner and doing drugs.”
That’s just the way Moore looks at things.
He knows he has beaten the odds. He knows most people who grow up in his situation don’t get to where he’s gotten. But he doesn’t let his successes slow him down from achieving more in life.
“The race is not won to the swift but to he who endures to the end,” Moore said is his favorite phrase to live by.
Moore has lived that phrase throughout his entire life, and when the clock ticks down to zero at the Liberty Bowl on Friday and his football career comes to an end, Moore will move on to the next chapter in his life.
His mother’s wisdom and football’s values will carry him through whatever comes his way. It’s what he’s done his entire life, and it’s what he’ll continue to do going forward.