A Little Star
BC Receiver Stepping Up As A Freshman
BRIDGEWATER – Bridgewater College freshman wide receiver Jeff Moore is resigned to the fact that he is never going to be a big, physical pass catcher.
In fact, his 5-foot-7, 140-pound frame is closer to the ideal size for a jockey than a college football player, but that has not stopped Moore from becoming a threat for the Eagles as they search for playmakers on offense.
As BC (4-4, 1-4) prepares for a matchup with Old Dominion Athletic Conference power Randolph-Macon (6-2, 4-1) today, Moore has been one of the few bright spots for an offense that ranks seventh in the league in pass efficiency (117.7) and has just five passing touchdowns in conference play.
“You have a poor man’s Wes Welker,” BC coach Michael Clark said of Moore. “When Jeff gets to 160 pounds versus 144 or whatever he weighs now, if he buys into that… right now he’s explosive without being strong. I think that’ll give you a matchup problem.”
Clark believes Moore is among the ODAC’s best rookies this season, up there with the likes of Shenandoah receiver Brandon Adams (35 catches, 326 yards, four TDs) and Washington & Lee tailback Matt Hollerith (761 yards and nine TDs). In the 10 years the ODAC has named a Rookie of the Year, no Bridgewater player has won the award.
Moore ranks second on the Eagles with 25 catches for 325 yards and two touchdowns.
“When I came in this fall, I honestly didn’t know what to expect,” Moore said. “I was just coming in, I didn’t know if I was going to be on JV, varsity, I didn’t know anything. I came in and I was going to do my best and see what happens from it.”
Moore, who played high school football at 6A South power Colonial Forge in Stafford, did not get the same level of interest that some of his teammates did. Moore played alongside Tim Scott (North Carolina), Blake and Eric Frohnapfel (Marshall) and Nick Easter and Trey Reed (William & Mary), and against Woodbridge linebacker E.J. Levenberry, a four-star Florida State 2013 signee and Stonewall Jackson’s Greg Stroman, a current Virginia Tech commit.
“It was every game that there was one kid on the other team that was a D-1 prospect,” Moore said.
Unfortunately for Moore, major colleges were not interested in him. Even playing on a 10-4 team that reached the state quarterfinals his senior year, Moore’s interest came from Division II and III schools, but mostly to play defensive back.
Moore’s only opportunity to play receiver was at Bridgewater, he said.
“There was a teammate who we thought was a little better than Jeff, and they didn’t come over here until March [for a visit],” said Clark, who has said this year that Moore is a D-1 player in a D-3 body. “Usually 135-pound kids don’t show up and say ‘I’m here to visit and look about football.’”
Early on in preseason practice, coaches and teammates realized Moore could play.
Moore said BC coaches told him he would play receiver to start, and if things did not pan out, he could try defense.
Leading up to the season-opener against St. Vincent, quarterback Willie Logan highlighted Moore as a freshman to watch in 2013.
“Probably early and often in camp they recognized my skills, but still saw that I wasn’t the biggest person, but they realized that I could play a little bit and they gave me a shot and I took advantage of it,” Moore said.
Undersized at all times, Moore takes a different route to getting open.
“I really have to outsmart people and then use that along with my quickness and stuff like that,” said Moore, who said he had a 3.3 GPA in high school. “That’s really the only way that I can play is with smarts and speed, because I’m not the strongest person in the world, so it’s not like I’m going to manpower somebody.”
The scrawny Moore is an easy target for the short jokes from his teammates. He’s heard everything from “mighty mite” and “baby Jeff” in high school to “High School Harry,” a nickname his roommate Darrin Jackson, a freshman defensive back, calls him.
Even as he sat outside the BC locker room before practice on Thursday, teammates walking toward the field smiled and cracked jokes at his expense.
Moore lets it all roll off his back.
“I don’t really let that stuff get to me,” Moore said. “I know everybody is going to have their own opinion and have their own say, so I just don’t let that bother me.”