ATHENS - It was two years ago, near the end of Corey Moore's freshman year, when he was first anointed the next man up.
Then-junior Shawn Williams, who at the time was considering turning pro, pointed at Moore during a media session. Fellow safety Bacarri Rambo was also thinking of going pro, so Williams suggested Moore was Georgia's future at the position.
But things haven't turned out that way. Williams and Rambo came back for their senior years. And this year Moore has yet to solidify a spot at safety - though his recent play may finally be doing that.
Moore's sack against Florida last Saturday ranks as one of Georgia's best individual defensive plays of the year. It so happened that Williams was there to see it, enjoying a weekend off from his rookie year with the Cincinnati Bengals.
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"I did lean on Shawn a little bit last year, man, and he took my hand and led the way," Moore said. "I just try to find the ins and outs of his game. I still watch the old film of how he played so I can put that beside my game."
Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham signaled in an all-out blitz for Moore, so all the safety had to do was read the play and decide which gap to run through. The Florida tailback was on the other side (Moore's right), and an offensive lineman was forced to pick up Amarlo Herrera.
Moore also did a good job of not showing the blitz too soon - a mistake that freshman safety Quincy Mauger made against LSU, allowing the Tigers to switch up the play and burn the Georgia secondary for a touchdown.
"(Moore) did a very good job of being disciplined and waiting for the indicator that the lineman used to say that they were fixing to snap that ball, and he came at that point, and it was too late (for Florida) to change anything," head coach Mark Richt said. "He was disciplined to do it properly and the result was a big sack."
Williams told Moore it reminded him of one of Rambo's sacks off a safety blitz.
"He said, 'Man that was a good play,'" Moore said. "He said he liked the way we didn't quit, and most of all kept our poise at the end. ... He thinks overall that we're playing all right. You can always improve. You know Shawn Williams, he gives it to you straightforward. He told me what we needed to improve in, as well as the team."
Moore, now a junior, is one of the few veterans in this year's secondary. But unlike senior safety Connor Norman and junior cornerback Damian Swann, Moore can't lean on two years of heavy playing experience. Sometimes, he has felt like as much a rookie as all the freshmen.
"It was an interesting job to take, I would say, because you've got characters like Shaq and Tray," Moore said. "But it's a fun process."
Moore also had an interception at Vanderbilt, though it came in a losing effort. Still, he's showing signs of being the kind of playmaker Georgia sorely needs on defense.
"I tell the guys that normally the biggest plays aren't usually something that's spectacular," Richt said. "You basically do something that's relatively normal, but you do it at an extraordinary time. That's kind of what happened."