“If you’re not going to give it your all, then don’t try.” That is the motto Eric Moats, a senior wide receiver and holder from Highland Ranch, Colo., chooses to live by. “I hate when people do something and just go at it half-speed and don’t put their all in it. It just doesn’t make sense to me,” Moats said. “When I come to football, it’s all about football. When I go to school, I do school. If I’m going to take the time out of my day to be there, I may as well put all of my time and effort into it.” This philosophy applies to every aspect of Moats’ life from football to school to the relationships with those around him.”It’s hard not to be successful if you give it your all, all the time,” Moats said. It’s worked out pretty well for him.After graduating from high school in 2006, he went on to play at the Air Force Academy. After a year there he left on an LDS Church Mission to Guatemala in 2007. When circumstances changed and he ended up home in the middle of the semester, he wasn’t sure what was next on the plan. Going back to Air Force was an option, but not until the next summer. “I wasn’t sure I wanted to go back,” Moats said. “I wasn’t sure the military was necessarily my thing.”It always helps to know people who know people. Moats knew someone who knew Greg Stevens, the former receivers coach at Utah State. All it took was a few e-mails and Moats was granted a walk-on tryout. “I enrolled, got a walk-on spot, and here I am,” Moats said. “I had a couple places I could have walked on, and I’m really glad I picked here.”Being a walk-on isn’t just a walk in the park. There is a lot of hard work involved in proving yourself not only to the coaches, but to your teammates as well. “When you’re a walk-on, you’re the low of the low, but not necessarily in a bad way. You have to make sure you do everything the coaches say. If you listen to their coaching I really think you can impress them easily. In the weight room, the classroom and on the field you just have to work really hard,” Moats said. After a year of working hard in practice for former head coach Brent Guy, but never seeing any action, things turned around with the arrival of head coach Gary Andersen. “When the new coaches got here, I made a big emphasis on learning the playbook. I knew if I knew the plays, I’d get a chance to play that first spring Coach Andersen was here,” Moats said. “I know I’m not the most athletic and fastest, not the quickest. But if I knew the playbook, I knew I’d get a chance to go out there and execute. I did and ended up starting the spring game and that’s when the scholarship came.”Earning a scholarship really came as a surprise to Moats, but it’s something for which he’s really grateful. “Earn your dues and give it 100 percent all the time,” Moats said. “I did that the first year I was here, then it taught me a lot of things that I can translate into life lessons.”Even though he only knows a couple of the Colorado State players, it’s exciting to play a team that is relatively close to his hometown of Highlands Ranch, Colo. In Moats’ time at Utah State they have not played any schools from the Centennial State. “I know a few of their guys. It’s hard to know a lot, since I graduated in 2006. And now it’s 2011, so you do the math and most of the kids I graduated with are gone,” Moats said.Many of the Colorado State players, as well as Moats, came from successful high school programs, so they are at least familiar with each other. “I actually kind of wish, though I may get in trouble for saying this, that this was an away game,” Moats said. “I would have liked to play in Colorado so maybe more of my high school coaches and friends could come, but it will be good to see some Colorado boys up here.”Some of the ‘Colorado boys’ who will be in attendance Saturday are Moats’ best friends growing up, Matt Bouldin and James Tucker. Bouldin went on to Gonzaga to play basketball and was the West Coast Conference Player of the year in 2010, while Tucker went to Colorado School of Mines to play football. As youngsters, the three got into the Harry Potter series, and the trio are still fans today.Other than his love for football, Moats is an incredibly devoted Harry Potter fan. Each time a new book or movie comes out, he will re-read the entire series up to that point. In all, he thinks he has read the first three books at least 13 times each. He has dressed up as different characters for each of the movie premieres, and often wears an “I heart Hermione” t-shirt around campus. Like most people Moats’ age, a huge draw to the series from the beginning was the fact that the characters were 11-years-old, just like they were. “My best friends Matt and James, and I really got into them from the beginning,” Moats said. “We grew up with them. It represents our childhood.”Moats said if he were to ever get a tattoo it would definitely be something from Harry Potter, but the odds of that happening aren’t good. “My dad would kill me,” Moats said.While his father would not approve of a tattoo, he would approve of the work that Moats has done off the field.Over the last few years, Moats has been involved in organizations mentoring and helping other athletes. He has been a part of both the Student-Athlete Mentoring Service and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. “It’s a good way to get to understand how to use your leadership,” Moats said. “You can’t just stand there and just be quiet. You’re kind of forced into that leadership position. It’s helped me break out of my shell and made me a more vocal leader. I’ve learned to be an example and a trendsetter that helped on the field as well. It’s turned into a lot of tangible qualities that I can use in the work force that you can’t really put on paper.”This weekend, in addition to his best friends and fellow Harry Potter fans, Moats will have plenty of people in town supporting him. He’s also excited for his parents and sister, who is a student at BYU, to be in Logan. “I’m the first one in my family not to go to school in Provo,” Moats said. “And I’m darn proud of that.” Moats said he has loved his time in Logan.”I love how everything revolves around the university. I love driving down Main Street and seeing Aggie stuff everywhere” Moats said. “It’s a really great place to go to college, I’d recommend it to anyone.”
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