Fans in DeKalb, Illinois became acclimated with the name Marlon Moore shortly after he arrived on campus as a babyfaced teenager. Not only did he step on the field and see playing time as a true freshman, he played a key role on the Northern Illinois MAC Championship and Orange Bowl team of 2012.
Appearing in 12 games and starting the final six, Moore provided stability across the field from NFL bound, lockdown corner Rashaan Melvin. Earning MAC West Defensive Player of the Week honors after a two interception performance against Buffalo, Moore far exceeded expectations as a freshman.
However, 2013 proved to be a different story. After tallying a would be season high six tackles and two passes defended in an opening win at Iowa, Moore struggled to find his form of the previous year, eventually losing the starting job to Jhony Faustin.
A position change back to his high school position of safety before the 2014 season was exactly what the doctor ordered, and it lands him at #27 of our countdown of best players in the MAC.
The Mobile, Alabama native started every game at strong safety for the Huskies in 2014, and led the team with 99 total tackles. In the Huskies biggest games, Moore was at his best.
He tallied six stops and a forced fumbled in a 23-15 over Northwestern. Against SEC foe Arkansas, Moore made a career high 14 tackles, including a pair for loss. In key conferences victories against Toledo and Western Michigan, the five foot nine inch safety combined for 16 tackles and three passes broken up. Finally, in the Huskies' triumph over Bowling Green in the MAC Championship, Moore posted seven tackles as well as a tackle for loss on fourth down, thwarting a potential Falcon scoring opportunity.
Moore combined with cornerback Paris Logan to complete one of the defensive highlights of the year for Northern Illinois. With just over five minutes to play, the Huskies were clinging to a slim 41-34 lead over UNLV in the Nevada desert. The Rebels marched deep into NIU territory, facing first and goal from the seven yard line. Blake Decker lofted a fade intended for Davante Davis, but Logan reached in to deflect the pass and Moore came down with the interception in the endzone.
The Huskies proceeded to march 80 yards in 10 plays, with Cameron Stingily plunging into the endzone from two yards out to give the Huskies a commanding two touchdown lead with under two minutes to play.
Having to replace first round draft pick Jimmie Ward would be a tall task for anyone, but Moore filled in admirably. With his experience as a corner, it was expected Moore would excel in pass coverage but struggle to fill in against the run. However, he surprised with his tackling ability, evident by his 49 solo stops and 50 assists.
With fellow safety Dechane Durante gone to graduation, Moore and Logan will be expected to lead a group of defensive backs which returns Anthony Brooks, Albert Smalls, Mayomi Olootu, and Shawun Lurry.
The Phil Steele preseason Second Team All-MAC selection looks to improve on a rock solid 2014 season and help the Huskies reach their sixth consecutive Mid-American Conference championship game.