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Moats chasing down a degree

He spent the balance of his rookie season soaking up all the knowledge he could about how to be an effective outside linebacker in the NFL for the better part of the last calendar year. Now in 2011 Arthur Moats is still in the pursuit of knowledge, but his efforts this offseason are more for his future far beyond the 2011 NFL season.

Moats is back at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia finishing up the last three classes he needs for his degree in political science. Instead of pursuing quarterbacks, Moats is after the last nine credits he needs to graduate.

"I have my senior seminar, which is a political science class that focuses on the correlation between religion and politics," said Moats. "I have a foreign policy class and a biology class that I have to finish."

Getting back into the swing of the college scene has not proven all that difficult for Moats. Education is in his blood with a mother who is a director of a child care center and a father who is a high school teacher.

The reason Moats is short on credits to begin with is because like most NFL prospects he did not enroll in spring semester classes last year. With all the demands of the pre-draft process it just wouldn't work.

"Once I ended my senior season athletically I had decided to take the spring semester off and deactivated myself as a student. I was preparing for the Combine and I thought that would be a good opportunity for me," said Moats.

The Buck Buchanan award winner also got an invite to play in the Texas vs. The Nation all-star game, which enabled him to showcase his talents for a week to NFL scouts against other top talent.

"I knew I would've missed a lot of days of class," he said. "Plus I also had different workouts with different coaches and teams and I knew I was going to be out of town and miss even more class due to travel. So it was better to just focus on football."

Moats was determined to finish up his degree at some point, but with the demands of NFL offseason programs, he wasn't sure if his professional schedule would line up with his remaining course schedule at JMU.

"I was hoping to finish up my degree here in my first NFL offseason, but with the offseason conditioning program and OTAs and it was going to be tough to gauge the timing of everything and if it would work," said Moats. "But with all the uncertainty with the labor situation we all figured it would be best to take care of it now."

The standout pass rusher for the Dukes has been back on campus since late January and has one class Monday, Wednesday, Friday and his other two classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. His senior seminar class that draws correlations between religion and politics is his favorite.

Though his classes have had him focused on his long term future Moats has also made sure to stay on top of his offseason workout regimen as he's been busy putting time in around his class schedule.

"Actually I have my strength coach from college that I've been working with down here before and after class every day to make sure I come back stronger and faster," he said.

Still, Moats is interested in pursuing a career in politics after his playing days are over, and has his hometown of Portsmouth, Virginia in mind.

"I definitely would like to be a mayor in my hometown," he said. "I definitely want to positively affect my community. There are some things I'd like to change in my native area."

Moats admits when he was younger he thought about pursuing a law degree knowing so many politicians come from that background, but ultimately decided against it.

"The whole legal side of things was difficult for me morally knowing lawyers have to represent and defend people that they know are guilty," said Moats. "That didn't sit right with me."

So a degree in Political Science is what he'll be holding in his hand come this May, and though most of his fellow seniors completed their college curriculum in 2010, it's not going to keep Moats from participating in commencement ceremonies this spring.

"I'll definitely be walking," said Moats. "I've thought all along since I've been back that I've got to walk across that stage. I deserve it."

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