By Phil Anastasia

Inquirer Staff Writer

Lonnie Moore was willing to travel to find the right place to continue his athletic and academic careers.

But he found what he wanted close to home.

Moore, a senior all-purpose star at Paul VI High School, on Tuesday committed to attend Monmouth University on a football schoalrship.

Moore said he will sign with Monmouth on National Signing Day on Feb. 3.

Moore made his official visit to Monmouth last weekend and said be "loved" the school in Long Branch, N.J.

"The campus is beautiful," Moore said. "I got a chance to interact with the coaches and players and it just was a good experience. I knew it was place I wanted to be."

Moore said he also seriously considered Temple, Army and James Madison.

He said he had no aversion to attending a college far from his home in Sicklerville.

"My mom works for an airline so we get to travel for free so that wasn't even an issue," Moore said of staying close to home. "Still, it will be nice to not be so far away."

Moore said he likely will major in business or communications.

Monmouth, an NCAA Division I FCS program, is a member of the Big South Conference in football, competing with schools such as Liberty, Charleston Southern, Coastal Carolina and Virginia Military Institute.

Moore said Monmouth coaches projected him as a wide receiver who also can contribute as a return man.

The 5-foot-9, 175-pound Moore has been one of the most dynamic open-field players in South Jersey during his career.

This season, Moore caught 49 passes for 889 yards and eight touchdowns as Paul VI went 6-4.

In a 33-17 loss to eventual Non-Public Group 4 state champion Don Bosco Prep n Nov. 13, Moore caught a touchdown pass and was "the best player on the field," according to Paul VI coach John Doherty.

For his career, Moore caught 112 passes for 2,101 yards and 18 touchdowns.

"I remember thinking when I was a freshman or sophomore how great it would be to play Division I football," Moore said.

-- Contact Phil Anastasia at panastasia@phillynews.com

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