When your grade-point average is stratospheric, your mind never stops considering new possibilities.

That's why Monarch's Wes Moon, despite two standout seasons as a safety, was tinkering with the idea of moving to linebacker this season after he showed up to camp at a burly 6-foot-4, 215 pounds.

But the senior, who first believed basketball was his No. 1 sport and bounced around at multiple positions in the early stages of his football career, finally understood safety was his home after picking off two third-quarter passes against Greeley West in September.

"I had made a ton of tackles but hadn't made any big plays," Moon said. "After that second interception, I realized I could be a pretty good safety. That was the clinching point for me."

Wes Moon
Wes Moon (Mark Leffingwell)

This week, Moon's prominence at the position was validated when he gave a verbal commitment to Princeton University. He had narrowed down to Princeton and Yale, but decided to scrap his forthcoming official visit to Yale on Jan. 13 when he realized Princeton had everything he was seeking.

"Yale's head coach resigned, which was the starting point, and then I was considering how much I wanted to take my official visit," Moon said. "My high school coach, Phil Bravo, asked me what I thought Yale could have that was better than Princeton. It took me a long time to sit down and ponder what I actually wanted, and I realized I was perfectly content with Princeton."


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Moon, who carries a 4.4 GPA, cited student-body size and community feel among his criteria to commit to the Ivy League school located in Princeton, N.J. The Tigers can use the help, too, after finishing 1-9 this season.

"They emphasized that a lot in their recruiting of Wes, that he comes from a program that is highly successful," Bravo said. "Their recruiting class, from what I understand, is such where they have a lot of kids who come from winning programs. And they hope it filters in to theirs."

So, exactly what type of a player is Princeton getting in Moon?

"A very versatile player," Bravo said. "A guy who can play up in the box and play linebacker, and a guy who can drop back and play against multiple offensive formations. He's not a guy who's restricted to one variation of a defense."

Moon was a key cog in a Monarch squad that went 12-1 this season, its lone loss a 20-0 decision to Pine Creek in the Class 4A semifinals. He can be labeled neither a strong safety nor free safety, because Monarch's cover-3 system features two cornerbacks and Moon as the lone safety.

Moon was equally effective in defending the pass and stuffing the run.

"Wes played a huge role in our success as a defense," Coyotes cornerback Trevor Carver said. "He improved a lot from last year to this year, and having him at the safety position made it so teams had to make a game plan around him. Princeton will be getting a great leader."

Moon remains a member of the basketball team, but the sport is no longer his forte. Neither is quarterback, tailback or defensive end. He's gone from a youthful student attempting to find his niche to one with law school ambitions and a spot on an Ivy League roster.

"It's been absolutely surprising," Moon said. "If you had told me in the middle of my freshman year that this is what I'd be doing, I would have said you're crazy. I guess if I looked at it sequence by sequence, event by event, it wouldn't have been too surprising. I always wanted to attend an Ivy League school and be the best athlete I could be, but I never thought I'd have this opportunity."