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A learning swerve for ex-Simeon star Zach Moore

Updated: March 24, 2014 6:52AM

INDIANAPOLIS — When football came easily to him at Simeon, Zach Moore thought he was going to the big time, but he ended up at Division II Concordia-St. Paul (Minn.) — another victim of poor grades.

Moore paid the price in anonymity. But after learning from some hard lessons, the 6-5, 269-pound defensive end has emerged as a college graduate-to-be and a rising prospect in the NFL draft.

A two-time All-American whose 33 career sacks are ninth all time in Division II, Moore is ranked from 25th to 30th among defensive ends heading into the NFL Scouting Combine, which puts him on the fringe of being drafted. The combine at Lucas Oil Stadium this weekend is his best chance to move up.

‘‘It’s been a great, humbling experience,’’ said Moore, who had attracted interest from Northern Illinois, Ohio State, Michigan, Illinois and Colorado while at Simeon. ‘‘Everyone back home is rooting for me since I’m the only one from my school who has been [to the combine]. So it’s great to be here.’’

Moore, 23, who attended Doolittle Elementary School in Bronzeville, is working out as a linebacker and defensive end. The Bears are among several teams that have shown interest, he said.

But until recently, he was more concerned with school and football, not the NFL.

‘‘It was after my junior season [when] I had 14 sacks and I started generating some buzz,’’ said Moore, who’s scheduled to graduate in May with a degree in criminal justice. ‘‘At first . . . I just wanted to play football. As the [2012] season progressed, more and more scouts started to come. Then I realized I could take this thing pretty far.’’


Twitter: @MarkPotash

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