James Moore’s path did not start as one that traditionally leads to a career in the NFL.

From not playing a snap of football until his senior year of high school, losing scholarship offers for basketball because of a broken foot and freshman year at Central Washington University, losing focus in the classroom and on the field.

But the senior offensive lineman made some permutations, paving the way and became one of the most sterling student-athletes at CWU during his time. He has officially declared himself for the 2019 NFL Draft, ignited by one of his best seasons.

He concluded his prosperous senior season as one of the best tackles in all Division II football. Moore earned American Football Coaches Association All-American First Team honors, the AFCA announced on Dec. 5. He was Great Northwest Athletic Conference Offensive Lineman of the Year and an All-GNAC First Team selection.

Moore didn’t allow a single sack in the 2018 campaign, as he helped lead the way for the CWU offense. Central ranked fourth in all NCAA Division II for total offense and had two running backs (Michael Roots and Cedric Cooper) each rush over 1,000 yards. CWU’s rushing attack ranked 10th among Division II.

“It is just one of those things that takes some time to think about,” Moore said. “I thought a lot about it with my family, I thought a lot about it with my coaches. I just felt like it would be a good idea for me to enter my name into the draft just through other people telling me, talking to some scouts.”

“I feel like I have a great chance to have an opportunity to play in the NFL.”

Moore will be graduating this spring, but has opted to take the winter quarter off and focus on getting himself ready, mentally and physically for the draft.

There is a potential pro-day at Central, but he has not decided when or where he will partake. There have been a couple pro-days at CWU in the past, but smaller schools sometimes will joint with a bigger school nearby so all prospects can be seen by NFL personnel.

The league will look at approximately 3,000 student-athletes and 335 will be invited to the combine. In the draft, only 224 will be selected with 32 teams and seven rounds. But, the NFL allows compensatory picks, and can be as many as 32 free agents who did not get selected in the draft. These are for clubs who have lost free agents during the offseason.

As of October 2018, there are 83 NFL players (active/practice squad) who competed in Division II football. Some of these names include Adam Thielen (Minn. St.) and Tyreek Hill (University of West Alabama).

“I’m just going to be taking it to the next level, regarding the work ethic and the work load,” Moore said. “I’m going to be eating a lot more than I ever have in my life. The whole process is going to change, I’m going to have to change my entire body and love doing it.”

Moore has had a couple trainers in mind this winter to work with, but he is leaning towards Tracy Ford, at Ford Sports Performance in Bellevue.

“I firmly believe that Tracy can help me achieve what I’m trying to achieve … get my body to where I need to be,” Moore said.

Prior to his senior season at CWU, some of his other accolades include: 2017 D2CCA All-America selection, 2017 D2CCA All-Region First Team honoree, 2017 All-GNAC First Team, 2016 D2CCA All-Region Second Team, and 2016 First Team All-GNAC.

He was part of two GNAC Championship seasons.

“My time at Central has been absolutely amazing,” he said. “I loved every second of it. It has its ups and downs, but that’s life. That’s how the ball rolls sometimes, but it’s how you fight through the adversity when it hits you. I have been through some adversity regarding school, certain situations…and Central has helped me through everything.”

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