COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — D.J. Moore is best known at Maryland for his ability to catch the football and take it to the end zone.
The talented junior out of Philadelphia has at least one reception in 23 straight games and has 12 touchdown catches in 25 career starts.
Over the past two weeks, however, Moore has received accolades and high fives because of an eye-opening run that has already generated more 2,000 hits on YouTube.
In a game against Towson on Sept. 9, Moore took a handoff on a play called Jet Sweep. After shedding the grasp of a linebacker in the backfield, the 5-foot-11, 215-pound Moore broke five additional tackles on his way to a 21-yard score.
“You can just see how strong he is, whether he’s blocking somebody on the perimeter or that Towson play that everybody’s been talking about,” Terrapins defensive back Josh Wood said Tuesday. “That was ridiculous.”
That was Moore’s third touchdown in a 63-17 rout . He finished with seven catches for 97 yards, a sufficient encore to his performance in the opener at Texas, when he caught seven passes for 133 yards and a TD in Maryland’s 51-41 upset.
As a result, Moore leads the Big Ten with an average of 115 yards receiving per game, and Maryland (2-0) is averaging a whopping 57 points per game heading into Saturday’s matchup against visiting Central Florida (1-0).
Moore’s work in the weight room, combined with his speed and on-the-field awareness, make him a formidable moving target after he catches the football.
“D.J. is a physical guy. He’s built big for a receiver and still has the ability to run and change direction,” Terps coach D.J. Durkin said. “You don’t see many guys like that.”
Moore’s 12 touchdown catches is tied for seventh in school history. That lofty number is as much a product of his strength as his determination to make something happen.
“I look at it as, there are two parts to every play. If I catch it, then the next part is for me to go execute and not get tackled,” Moore said. “I don’t really like going down.”
That is evident — to the opposition, his teammates and the Maryland coaching staff.
“When he catches that ball, he wants to do something with it,” Durkin said. “That’s a mindset.”
Moore prides himself in doing the little things that make a player great. That includes being on time for team meetings, attending every class, eating well and getting the proper amount of sleep. Maryland awards student athletes with those qualities by making them members of the elite Champions Club.
“He’s the only guy on the team who’s been a Champion every quarter since we’ve been here,” Durkin said. “That speaks to his work ethic, accountability, all the things we talk about as a program. He’s the model guy for that.”
On the field, Moore is impressive in a different way.
“Even though we see him every day,” Wood said, “D.J. still makes plays where we go, ‘How did he do that?'”
(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)