Nate Moore and Sam Jenkins were always close friends throughout high school. They were football teammates who also checked in on each other to make sure they were staying on the right path to playing college football.
So it made sense Moore and Jenkins would share the stage on national signing day. The two Falcon seniors signed their national letter of intent to accept football scholarships to four-year universities on Wednesday.
Moore is headed to Concordia University in Nebraska as a safety and Jenkins will play football at the College of Idaho as a defensive lineman.
“It was cool to share the same day,” Jenkins said.
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Both serve as inspirations for younger players in the program. An example of what can be accomplished with hard work done on the field, in the weight room and in the classroom.
Moore had examples like that when he was a freshman. He remembers former Atwater players Noah Torres and Nathan Gilmore sharing with him what it takes if you want to play football at the college level. Coincidentally both Torres and Gilmore ended up at Concordia University.
“Hopefully I can help set an example to for anyone who may look up to me as well,” Moore said.
Moore almost looked exclusively at midwest schools when trying to choose his college destination. Schools like Bethany College (Kansas) and Hastings College (Nebraska) showed interest.
“Mainly I was looking to get out of California,” Moore said. “I just want to experience something else completely different.”
Concordia became a good fit. He has a sister who lives near and his parents plan to move to Nebraska with him for a year to help get settled in.
Moore said he felt comfortable on his visit to the campus.
“As soon as I walked in, it felt like home,” he said. “The coaching staff was really welcoming, the players were really welcoming. I just felt the brotherhood right away.”
Moore was an all-Central California Conference first-team selection at defensive back, who finished tied on the team with 61 tackles.
“He’s a hard-hitting player, he’s heady, smart,” said Atwater coach Seneca Ybarra. “I think he can play in the box. He’s improving as a player in space. He’s great in the weight room. They’re getting a smart kid, number one., and they’re getting a great player.”
Like Moore, Jenkins will have some familiar faces near him when he goes off to college. He has a brother and a longtime friend who will be close b.
Jenkins loved the small-town feel he got when he made his visit. He feels it’s very similar to Atwater. The vibes he got from the coaching staff make him feel like he’ll be able to establish similar relationships with them that he has with the Falcons coaches.
“I’m really excited to go play,” Jenkins said. “One of the things I was worried about was I want a coach who cares for me like my high school coaches. I can tell that the coaches at the College of Idaho fit that role.”
As a Mormon, Jenkins also wanted to find a school that was comfortable with him taking time off to complete his mission. Jenkins plans to enroll at College of Idaho and play football this fall semester before leaving school for his mission. The coaching staff has agreed to offer his scholarship when he comes back.
“I think it’s exciting for the program,” Ybarra said. “This is what we’re trying to build. This is an example of what hard work and dedication inside and outside of the classroom. It’s nice to see kids get rewarded.”