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VARSITY TIMES

Dorsey's Moore is real team player

The standout defensive back, who has committed to UCLA, will play full-time on offense in hopes of leading the Dons to City title.

September 05, 2007|Mike Terry | Times Staff Writer

Rahim Moore strode onto the football field at Los Angeles Dorsey for another day of summer practice, carrying his chiseled physique and ramrod-straight carriage with supreme confidence.

So it's not unusual to suspect that the young man will possess an inflated ego and will respond to questions in a boastful manner.

But Moore doesn't deal in self-aggrandizement, and none of the goals he speaks of for the 2007 season are individual ones.

"I'll play anything they want me to, even lineman," said Moore, a standout senior defensive back. "I just want to do whatever it takes to go to the championship game and give it all for my team. That's pretty much it.

"It's my last year, and I'm tired of losing. I'm feeling lots of urgency. . . . We want the slump to be over."

Moore, 17, racked up 122 tackles and seven interceptions last year and enters this season as the top defensive back prospect in the state, according to Rivals.com.

A 38-20 loss to Carson in the City Section Championship Division quarterfinals continues to motivate Moore.

"It hurt a lot," he said. "The year before we had Stafon [Johnson, now a running back at USC] but lost to Crenshaw in the semifinals. And last year we lost to Carson. To be honest, we all felt real bad about how it ended. So this year we have come out with a new attitude.

"Every day we want to come out with our 'A' game. I'm telling guys, 'If you're not giving 100% when you're out here, then don't get on the field.' We need thoroughbreds and soldiers out here."

Teammate Johnathan Franklin, a senior running back and safety, said Moore has forced opponents to account for him on the field ever since his sophomore season in 2005.

"There was a game against Fairfax our 10th-grade year," Franklin said. "They threw a slant pass, and Rahim just came up and knocked the receiver out. The guy didn't see him coming, and he hit him from the side. When the guy finally got up, he was limping a bit."

Coach Paul Knox describes Moore as a defender with the range to cover wide receivers and the power to cower tight ends. This will be Moore's third year as a varsity starter, "and that's rare in our program," the coach said.

Knox added that Moore will need to be a standout on offense as well as defense for Dorsey to compete successfully in the always tough Coliseum League.

"He started primarily on the defense as a sophomore, and as a junior he was a defensive starter and was part-time on offense," Knox said. "This year, he will go both ways, at wide receiver and safety."

Moore has 4.45 speed, and ran a leg on Dorsey's 1,600-meter relay team last spring. Knox added that Moore has good hands and is not afraid to catch the ball in a crowd. He expects his receiver to be more than just a third or fourth option, but rather a threat to score from anywhere on the field.

The additional duties have quickly paid off. For while Dorsey lost its season opener to Plain City (Utah) Fremont, 27-7, on Saturday, Moore caught a pass that went for a 42-yard touchdown.

Still, Knox thinks he knows what position his prodigy will play in college.

"I'm pretty sure he's going to be in the secondary on the next level," Knox said. "You're seeing bigger cornerbacks now, so he may even play corner. He's a good 6-1, weighing about 190, and can run. His grades are good and he's ready to go."

While Moore has committed to UCLA, he still plans to take his recruiting trips.

"I've never been on a plane before," he said. "I want to see how it is on the other side of town.

"I do want to look at other schools. I've been a Michigan fan since Charles Woodson won the Heisman Trophy. Even though I'm committed to UCLA, I do want to see other coaches. I don't want them to have a bad impression of me."

But those trips, he said, will have to wait until after Dorsey's season ends, which, if Moore has his way, won't be until December, when the City's championship game is played in the Coliseum.

He said he will do everything and almost anything to get the Dons there.

"I don't want to intimidate and hurt people," he said, "but I will lay them down."

mike.terry@latimes.com

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

Head of their class

Rating the top defensive backs in the City Section and Southern Section. For the complete list, go to latimes.com/highschool.

*--* CITY SECTION 1.

Rahim Moore (Dorsey), 6-1, 190, Sr.

Free safety with speed and good judgment 2.

Julio Segura (Southeast), 6-5, 220, Sr.

Free safety who had nine interceptions 3.

Ahmad Wood (San Pedro), 6-0, 185, Sr.

Selected All-City as a junior SOUTHERN SECTION 1.

E.J. Woods (Crespi), 6-0, 205, Sr.

Has toughness, speed, instincts 2.

Aaron Hester (Dominguez), 6-2, 195, Sr.

UCLA commit who shuts down opponents 3.

Vaughn Telemaque (L.B. Poly), 6-2, 220, Sr.

Was outstanding in passing tournaments -- Eric Sondheimer *--*

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