Maryland’s DJ Moore, who was named the Big Ten wide receiver of the year earlier this month and established himself as one of the country’s premier players at the position this fall, will skip his senior season and enter the NFL draft.
Moore’s departure, which he announced Tuesday on Twitter, was considered imminent after he produced one of the best seasons in program history during Maryland’s 4-8 campaign. Moore set a school record with 80 receptions, a statistic made all the more remarkable given that he caught passes from four quarterbacks.
The 5-foot-11, 215-pound Philadelphia native was a consistent target during Maryland’s quarterback carousel over his three seasons in College Park. He started 35 consecutive games and caught passes from eight quarterbacks since his freshman season of 2015, which included a run of 33 consecutive games with a reception.
Moore became just the third player in program history to eclipse 1,000 yards receiving in a season (he finished with 1,033) and, more remarkably, he became the first player in the Football Bowl Subdivision since 2008 to do so despite not having a quarterback throw for more than 1,500 yards.
Maryland is hopeful that its top two quarterbacks — sophomore Tyrrell Pigrome and freshman Kasim Hill — will be ready to return next fall after each suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament early last season. But they will have to do so without their top threat on the perimeter. Moore caught eight touchdown passes in 2017, tied for fourth-most in a season in school history. His 17 career touchdown receptions also rank fourth in program history.
Moore made waves as a junior for his ball skills and his ability to run after the catch. His physical tools and strength — Moore has played as heavy as 225 pounds during his college career — caused offensive coordinator Walt Bell to compare the junior to former Oklahoma State wide receivers Dez Bryant and Justin Blackmon. Analysts have also taken note: Moore is projected by some NFL draft sites to be a potential second-round pick, and he was included on CBSSports.com’s midseason “all-underrated prospect team.”
Moore is the second Maryland player to declare for the 2018 draft. Junior corner J.C. Jackson announced earlier this month that he would skip his senior year.
Maryland is also waiting out other potential early-entry losses to its roster. Junior running back Ty Johnson, Maryland’s leading rusher over the past two seasons, didn’t rule out entering the draft early following the team’s 66-3 loss to Penn State in November. Other candidates include tackles Derwin Gray and Damian Prince, both of whom arrived in College Park as highly touted recruits during the Randy Edsall era.
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