David Moore III is supposed to be serving eggs and oatmeal from behind the counter. That’s his assignment, the one he volunteers for over at Springs Rescue Mission. Supposed to be washing plates, shuttling food trays, cleaning up after the homeless men finish their warm, well-earned meals on another frigid October day.

Supposed to, but inevitably he finds the seat next to his buddy, “Chief,” a sweetheart of a man who’s 50 years his senior. When David can’t make his shift he asks about Chief. And Chief asks about David, wonders how football’s going. You learn quick this is what David does. He embraces everyone.

David loves Chief’s stories, says his mom, Marcelle Moore, just as David loved meeting a neighbor who’s retired Marine Corps. The neighbor came through one day when David was outside shooting hoops, came around again the next to thank David’s parents for the visit he had with their teenage son: I want to commend you for raising such a wonderful young man.

Makes my heart smile, mom says. Great way to put it. David Moore III makes your heart smile.

DM3’s supposed to be a lot of things. Supposed to be a pain in the backside to coach after starting at Pine Creek since freshman year. (“And he’s actually become more fun to coach after all that success,” coach Todd Miller says.) Supposed to be an academic liability after messing up his freshman grades by taking AP courses. (“But his grades have gone up every semester since then,” Miller says, to the point David now carries all As and one B.) Supposed to be wrapping up an all-time prep career by leading Pine Creek to another 4A state title, supposed to be prepping for a college career at CU-Boulder (which ceased his recruitment when Mike MacIntyre was fired), Cal, Kansas State, Utah, you name it. Supposed to, anyway.

One problem with that last part: after all the cool stuff you just read about him, David Moore III has only one scholarship offer from a Division I program. One! Northern Colorado, bless ‘em.

That’s it. What gives?

“If you find out,” David says, “let me know.”

I can’t. Can’t figure it out. Can’t figure out how a high school senior with 6,531 rushing yards (ninth in state history, most ever from a Pikes Peak-area player), 79 touchdowns, no knee injuries, an attitude that impresses Marines ... can’t get a proper look from college recruiters.


David Moore Jr., his dad, also was a star running back, gifted enough to earn a scholarship offer at Southern Miss. There were VHS tapes to prove it, he laughs, until David yanked the film out of the tapes as a baby. “That was painful,” his dad says. The replay’s been even better.

“We go back to Mississippi to see family, catch up on my childhood. All David (his son) hears is, Your dad was the best. He’s a legend,” Dad says. “I’m telling you: I pale in comparison to his talent. I was nowhere near him. (He says) ‘Dad, you were a legend!’ I think, ‘No, you are.’”

Anyone who’s crossed paths with David Moore III says the same.

David’s in his fourth season, a three-time All-State pick, two-time Gazette player of the year, and the other day at Pine Creek he’s begging Coach Miller to put him on scout team. Wanted more reps. Wanted to go against the first-team defense. Reminds Miller of all those games in their four years together when David begged his coach to put him in at fullback.

“He wants to block,” Miller says. “Doesn’t even want the ball.”

One time last season David played with a fractured elbow. It’s right when I’m going to ask how he scrunched a broken arm through a jersey he interrupts: “Let’s talk about my linemen.” Ethan Kramer. Andy Earnst. Damon Darling. Jack Zeman. Branyon Murdock. Caleb Nott. David wants their names out there, too.

“Those guys, they’re just phenomenal. I thank them so much,” he says.

Oh, the broken elbow. Pine Creek was trailing in a state playoff game against Skyline when David called his father down from the stands. They snuck into the locker room, David with a plan: shove this jersey over my broken elbow till it’s snug. Second quarter, they tugged and yanked. “Too painful,” Dad recalls. Halftime, same. Third quarter, they got it. Fractured elbow, David had five carries without using a stiff arm before shutting it down. Top-ranked Pine Creek’s got Grand Junction Central on Friday night and David’s playing with a cast on his right wrist. Tore some ligaments, he says, but three X-rays showed no break. Game plan hasn’t changed.

“Pound the ball with David,” Coach Miller says.

“I’ll pray about it,” Moore says. “Then if something happens, oh, well.”

What’s your motivation here, kid?

“Football, it’s just the best thing in life. I can’t explain it. I don’t know what I’d do without it,” Moore says. “Every day is about football. I just really want to continue playing football. I want football to be in my life. I love the bonding. Crying together, working together, running together. I love all of them, especially my O-line. I don’t know. I just love it.”

Any recruiters out there? Sold yet?

“Too small” is what David Moore III hears the most. Size is supposed to be the big hang-up here. Moore’s 5-foot-8, 185 pounds, and the same recruiters who came around when he was a prodigal freshmen at Pine Creek — big-boy programs Auburn, Kansas State, Utah — don’t come around as often when you stayed 5-8.

“It’s about height. That’s all,” says Moore, who plans on committing somewhere in February. “I don’t mean to pick on players, but you ever just know you’re better than them? They get offers from the SEC and you’re like how? They’re 6-5.”

He’s watched Barry Sanders (5-8) on YouTube and Alvin Kamara (5-10) on Sundays, but the relevant names in this conversation are two more: Austin Ekeler (5-10) and Phillip Lindsay (5-8). Those guys were supposed to be too small, too, but Ekeler fooled Western Colorado into a scholarship offer (and led Division II ball with 204 all-purpose yards per game), while Lindsay fooled CU-Boulder into one (and a school-record 5,760 all-purpose yards). Moore’s had a better preps career than both. Isn’t it time Colorado running backs who are supposed to be too small get the benefit of the doubt?

“Something’s going on with the same types of Colorado kids. You can’t just ignore it,” Miller says.

Supposed to be that coaches check three boxes when identifying recruits: talent, academics, character. David Moore III?

Check, check, check. He’s supposed to be exactly what they want.

(Contact Gazette sports columnist Paul Klee at paul.klee@gazette.com or on Twitter at @bypaulklee.)

(Contact Gazette sports columnist Paul Klee at paul.klee@gazette.com or on Twitter at @bypaulklee.)

(Contact Gazette sports columnist Paul Klee at paul.klee@gazette.com or on Twitter at @bypaulklee.)