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Top MAC Football Players of 2014: No. 26 Marlon Moore, Northern Illinois Safety

The junior safety is poised to become one of the defensive leaders for the Huskies this season.

Moore defends a pass against Akron last season
Moore defends a pass against Akron last season
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Marlon Moore, a 5-foot-9 junior defensive back, had been overshadowed by ex-Huskie Jimmie Ward for the past two seasons. But now, with Ward off playing in the NFL, Moore has an opportunity to be seen and heard.

A product of C.F. Vigor High School in Mobile, Alabama, Moore came to the Northern Illinois Huskies two years ago as a cornerback, and as a true freshman he made an immediate impact in the secondary. He moved up the depth chart quickly and had become a starter by mid-season—playing in 12 of the 14 games that year. He compiled 39 tackles (30 of which were unassisted), four pass breakups, and two interceptions in 2012.

This past season he did more of the same. Moore saw action in all 14 games, and led the team in pass breakups with 11. He also had an interception and 34 tackles (26 unassisted).

After two years of playing cornerback, it was announced this spring that Moore will be moving to the safety position this fall to fill the void left by Ward. In high school Moore did play the position, but he admits it's a bit of a change, telling Huskie Wire, "at corner you just go off what the safety says, they give us the calls and things. At safety I’m giving the calls, I’ve got to be more loud, be more of a leader also, and just make plays."

Although Moore has yet to be in the top-10 tacklers on the Huskies roster, by joining Dechane Durante as a safety, Moore will have more room to roam and better chances at getting picks and tackles. He has already shown a great ability to bring down a runner without any help—76.7 percent of his tackles have been unassisted—and that he can disrupt passes. Expect more of the same this year, only with better numbers (hopefully).