SEC INSIDER

South Carolina LB Moore needs neck surgery

The Sports Xchange

June 01, 2016 at 8:01 am.

South Carolina  linebacker Skai Moore (10) comes in for the stop  during the second quarter between Vanderbilt and South Carolina last year at Williams-Brice Stadium. Photo Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina linebacker Skai Moore (10) comes in for the stop during the second quarter between Vanderbilt and South Carolina last year at Williams-Brice Stadium. Photo Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina senior linebacker Skai Moore will miss the 2016 season with a herniated disc in his neck.

The Gamecocks’ three-time leading tackler will redshirt the upcoming season and return to school in 2017. Moore is currently projected as an early round pick by NFLDraftScout.com.

Moore almost entered the 2016 NFL Draft, but instead chose to return to the Gamecocks for his final year of eligibility. However, his injury requires surgery and will keep him sidelined for at least six months.

Moore is scheduled for surgery on Friday in Charlotte but according to Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp, his future remains bright.

“He’ll be fine. This is not a career-threatening situation,” Muschamp said. “This is a very common procedure for a herniated disc. It’s unfortunate that it didn’t heal on its own.”

Moore has been the best player on the South Carolina defense the past few seasons, leading the team in tackles each of his three seasons in Columbia, including a career-best 111 stops in 2015. He has a lean-muscled frame and lacks prototypical bulk for the position, but his range, loose athleticism and play speed are above average.

Moore uses his long arms and flexibility to halt, wrap and drive through his target, showing sound tackling technique. He also floats well in coverage with a keen sense for baiting throws, collecting 11 interceptions the last three seasons.

According to Muschamp, Moore initially suffered the injury last season and aggravated it this winter in the weight room. He was held out of spring practice and the training staff thought the injury would heal on its own.

One of the top NFL prospects in the SEC, Moore was a player with legitimate first round aspirations for the 2017 NFL Draft. But due to his season-ending injury, it seems he will be part of the 2018 draft class if he returns healthy next year.