TOPEKA, Kan. — Not long ago, a 23-year-old football player at Washburn University was behind bars, serving time for robbing a bank.
Vershon Moore was known as inmate #21275-031. He wore a prison uniform.
Now, the running back is #41 and he wears the school colors: blue and white.
As a freshman, Moore led the MIAA Conference in yards per rush. As a sophomore, he was named honorable mention All-American and was a first team all MIAA selection.
Then, two years ago, he robbed a bank and risked robbing himself of a future.
The young star pleaded guilty to pulling a gun on two bank employees who were refilling an ATM and robbing them of $50,000 cash.
“Total shock. You know it was really out of character,” said Craig Schurig, head football coach at Washburn University.
And even after Moore served nearly two years of a 30-month sentence, his coach has hope.
“When you are in something that tough, you have to have a time frame and I think he had a goal, hey, in a couple of years maybe Ill have an opportunity if everything works and I do my part to get a second chance,” Schurig said.
Moore is still in federal custody, now part of a residential re-entry program. And thanks to a coach who visited him in prison and a program that never gave up on him, Moore is getting that second chance.
“I hope that its about giving a kid a second chance and giving a kid a future. You try not to cloud your mind. It’s a benefit that he is a really good player. But it’s more the way he is inside. The type of person he is. I think we all believe in that, more than his ability out here,” Schurig said.
Kansas U.S. Attorney, Barry Grissom, who’s office prosecuted Moore’s case, said in a statement to FOX 4, “I wish Vershon Moore well in his efforts to re-enter society and rebuild his life after serving his sentence for bank robbery. He has served his time.”
The team isn’t allowing Moore to talk until he is released from federal custody in October.