The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

April 25, 2012

HERTZEL COLUMN - Moro pushing to start in WVU secondary

MORGANTOWN — If you were among the brave and hearty who found the West Virginia Gold and Blue Spring game important enough to sit through the rain and cold of a Morgantown night, you were rewarded midway through the first quarter when you were sent scurrying toward your program to see who was wearing the blue No. 7 jersey.

He, you see, had just ruined your image of quarterback Geno Smith’s perfection by stepping in front of a receiver and picking off a badly timed pass for an interception.

When you looked to your program you saw the name Matt Moro and surely a quizzical look crossed your face as you tried to recall who Matt Moro was, for he did not log a lot of playing time a year ago after coming to West Virginia.

So it was after the game that I approached him to get his story.

Turns out we didn’t have to talk about it, because it was written all over him.

There are tattoos almost everywhere.

“To tell you the truth, I don’t know how many,” he answered when asked about it. “It’s over 30.”

And this is not just body art for body art’s sake.

“This is how I express myself,” he said. “I like to represent where I came from, my family and my career and, of course, Jesus Christ.”

They run down his right arm and part of his left, across his chest and abdomen.

“It represents my county, Miami Dade,” he said, pointing to a large tattoo on his right forearm that reads “Dade County.” “It represents football. It represents Jesus Christ. I got my mother’s name and my father’s name. It inspires me, looking at myself.”

His story should inspire, too, for this is a kid who was on the wrong path in an area where that often seems to be the only path.

There is no Sesame Street in his Miami area neighborhood.

It’s an area where there was drugs and crime and the inner city stuff that turned the TV show “Miami Vice” into a hit a couple of decades back and he was kind of lost in it, not going bad but not going anywhere.

In high school he played only one year of football and that came about after he realized what he had been doing.

“I didn’t start,” he said. “In fact, I didn’t play very much,”

He was a good athlete, though, but was inexperienced, and his grades were so low that no major college would think about touching him.

“If you don’t get your mind right you’re going to end up either dead or in jail,” Moro said a year ago in a radio interview with MetroNews. “So somebody has to wake up.”

It was then he discovered religion. Oh, he’d gone to church before, but he suddenly discovered that it was his way out, that there was a path to success and it led through California.

He would go to junior college and learn to play football the right way.

So it was he played at College of the Desert as a freshman and El Camino College in Torrance, Calif., as a sophomore, being known as a hard-hitter and good cover man out of his safety position, catching the eye of then Coach Bill Stewart’s staff.

Last June, after finishing one final class, he picked up his associate’s degree and came to WVU.

“The junior college route is not easy at all,” he said. “You have to stick with it and stay positive and confident. If you don’t have confidence you won’t make it through out there.”

Now he’s in the mix for playing time, getting more of it than he might have since Terence Garvin, the starter, has been out with an injury. That, actually, has been a blessing for the Mountaineer secondary because Garvin is expected back but Moro now is far more experienced.

He is thinking big.

“I expect to start. I’m just going continue to listen to Coach [Joe] DeForest, to get bigger, get stronger, improve in the weight room, on the field, off the field and take it from there,” he said. “As a senior, this is the last year and you want to make the biggest impression you can. You want to play on. Of course, everyone’s ambition is to go to the NFL, and that’s mine.”

Who knows? Perhaps someday he’ll have to make room for a Miami Dolphins tattoo.

If not, it won’t be because he didn’t go after it.

“It is always motivation coming from where I came from. I’ve always been at the bottom. It is nothing new to me, and I just have to continue working and continue improving on and off the field,” Moro said.

“Hopefully this will be my destiny.”

Email Bob Hertzel at Follow on Twitter @bhertzel.

Text Only
WVU Sports
  • Arrest warrant out for WVU recruit

    West Virginia University’s newest men’s basketball recruit, Tarik Phillip, has an order out for his arrest in North Carolina, according to a story in The Dominion-Post, which said three Gaston County Magistrate office spokespersons confirmed.

    April 20, 2014

  • WVU baseball powers past Oklahoma, 9-5

    The WVU baseball team tied a season high with 18 hits to defeat Oklahoma, 9-5, on Saturday afternoon at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
    The win gives the Mountaineers their second Big 12 series win of the season and improves the overall record to 19-16 and 4-7 in conference play. Oklahoma drops to 25-16 overall and 5-7 in Big 12 play.

    April 20, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Under pressure, NCAA decides to change rules

    At first glance, it appears that they do not go hand-in-hand, a pair of rules changes the NCAA’s Legislative Council approved this week, sending them off for what seems to be smooth sailing toward becoming rules.

    April 18, 2014

  • Means, WVU baseball shut out Oklahoma

    Junior left-hander John Means of the WVU baseball team threw eight shutout innings and the Mountaineers had a five-run first inning en route to a 7-0 victory over Oklahoma on Thursday evening at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
    The Mountaineers (18-15, 3-6 Big 12) broke a six-game Big 12 losing streak after being swept by TCU and Oklahoma State in back-to-back weekends. WVU had 16 hits and did not make an error for the second-straight game.

    April 18, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Dr. Graber disagrees with Gee’s stance on Turnbull firing

    Dr. Stephen Graber, an associate professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, is among the latest WVU teachers to deplore Oliver Luck’s firing of veteran wrestling coach Craig Turnbull.
    He raised some significant questions about that issue last Monday in a meeting of the WVU Faculty Senate.

    April 18, 2014

  • Huggins signs junior college guard

    Coach Bob Huggins completed his 2014-15 West Virginia University recruiting class on Wednesday and deemed it a success after receiving a signed letter of intent from junior college guard Tarik Phillip.
    Phillip joins Jevon Carter of Maywood, Ill., and Daxter Miles of Baltimore’s Dunbar High and out of Notre Dame Prep in Massachusetts in the 2014-15 recruiting class.

    April 17, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU gymnast hopes to stick her final landing

    The reaction, one suspects, was the same as most people who see either a picture of West Virginia University gymnast Hope Sloanhoffer or meet her for the first time in person — a quick double take, maybe even stumbling over the first few words of an introduction.

    April 17, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Comparing pay of coaches and professors

    Stringing together some odds and ends which may be of interest to you:
    • A beautiful lady came up to my table last Sunday at brunch in the Village of Heritage Point’s main dining room with a message.

    April 17, 2014

  • Bussie looks forward to WNBA

    On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
    It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.

    April 16, 2014

  • WVU’s Harlee named Big 12 Scholar-Athlete

    The Big 12 Conference announced its Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipients for the 2014 winter sport season, and West Virginia University senior Jess Harlee earns the honor for women’s basketball.
    Harlee was selected as the award winner based on a vote of each respective sport’s head coaching group, with coaches not permitted to vote for their own student-athletes.

    April 16, 2014

Featured Ads
WVU Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos