Pair of Vandy athletes to embark on Pac-12 journeys

Justin Moore is part of the Stanford University baseball team.

By CARSON FIELD, Four Points News

Over the past few years, Vandegrift has established itself as a stepping stone for NCAA careers, and that did not change this year.

Vandegrift’s Alex Stadthaus and Justin Moore are two of the most successful athletes in the class of 2018. In January, Stadthaus committed to University of Southern California for football, and in late March, Moore chose to play baseball at Stanford University.

While Stadthaus ultimately chose to be a Trojan, he had multiple other prestigious offers — from Cal, UCLA and Rice.

He has lived in Austin for the entirety of his high school career, but Stadthaus said the main factor for his college choice is USC’s location in Los Angeles.

“I wanted to be in Los Angeles, and that narrowed it down to UCLA and USC,” Stadthaus said. “USC has an incredible alumni network, a fantastic athletic program that is world-renowned, and the school itself has a lot of clout.”

Stadthaus turned heads his senior season, making eight of the 11 field goals he attempted, but he earned the attention of national scouts at kicking camps.

“If you can show up at these national camps and outperform your competition, it puts you at a serious advantage,” Stadthaus said.

One of the camps Stadthaus attended, the Chris Sailer camp, rated him as a five-star kicker and the No. 17 kicker in the class of 2018.

USC is one of 12 member schools in the Pac-12, a conference considered to be one of the “power five” conferences in college football. Stadthaus said the conference’s presence on the college football landscape was another factor in choosing USC.

“Pac-12 football is very exclusive to the rest of the country,” Stadthaus said. “The style of football is different; the personnel contrasts what you might see in the ACC or Big Ten.”

Not only does the competitive nature of Pac-12 football excite him, but Stadthaus said he was also entranced by the academic rigor of the member schools.

Four Pac-12 schools placed in the Top 25 of the 2018 U.S. News and World Report National University Rankings, and Stadthaus said he has respect for the other member schools because of these rankings.

“USC, Stanford, UCLA, Cal and Washington are extremely rigorous schools when it comes to academics, so when I line up against them on a kickoff, I can respect them and know they put time in the classroom as well,” Stadthaus said.

The Southeastern Conference may have won nine of the last 12 national championships, but Stadthaus said he doesn’t like their lack of focus on academics.

“I’m not a big fan of the SEC,” Stadthaus said. “They don’t put emphasis in the classroom like they do here.”

Just as Stadthaus left to begin his football and academic career at USC, Moore moved to Palo Alto this summer to begin his career with the Cardinal.

In his time at Vandegrift, Moore was a star athlete.  He graduated as a three-sport varsity athlete, starting in baseball, basketball and as quarterback in football.

Moore’s primary baseball position is third base, but he also has experience on the mound and at shortstop. Other offers he received included Cornell and Davidson, but Stanford was his clear favorite.

“Stanford was kind of my dream school,” Moore said. “My dad went there and we’re originally from the Bay Area, so it’s a dream come true.”

Moore’s twin brother, Garrett, who also played on the Viper baseball team, will attend Stanford as a student this fall as well.

“It will be fun,” Moore said. “We’re not rooming together, but having Garrett there will definitely help ease the first few weeks of freshman year.”

While he isn’t rooming with Garrett,  Moore said his whole family has been supportive and crucial to his journey as a student-athlete.

“There are a lot of people I should thank,” Moore said. “I’d like to thank my family for getting me where I am. They have been really supportive.”

In addition to his family, Moore said he thanks some of the coaches who have helped him improve as a baseball player.

“Coaches Luke Smith and James Ellison have played key roles in helping me improve,” Moore said. “And Vandegrift’s Allen McGee has been a great mentor and helped me a lot along the way.”

Moore’s ultimate goal is one most baseball players dream about from a young age — to be selected in the Major League Baseball Draft.

“I would love to get drafted, that is my dream, but I just want to be the best player possible,” Moore said.

Through their years in LISD schools, Stadthaus and Moore have become very close friends. As student-athletes, Moore and Stadthaus will certainly have busy schedules, but Stadthaus said they will make sure to visit each other on occasion.

“I’m definitely going to find myself in the Bay at some point to see my boy Justin (Moore) go yard at the plate,” Stadthaus said. “But he’s definitely going to be in Los Angeles for the Celtics vs. Lakers game, especially with LeBron being in LA.”

Alex Stadthaus, with NFL kicker Phil Dawson, has started football training at the University of Southern California.