Two qualities that Purdue sophomore wide receiver Rondale Moore has made famous are ankle-breaking jukes and his inability to be tackled. These traits have transformed Moore into a college football household name.
Growing up on the same street as former Indiana University basketball star Romeo Langford, Moore has always been a talented athlete. Langford, a current Boston Celtic, and Moore played basketball together at New Albany High School in New Albany, Indiana, until their sophomore year.
Moore later transferred to Trinity High School in Louisville, Kentucky, and committed to the University of Texas not long after. Just months later, the four-star recruit retracted his commitment from Texas and reopened his recruitment.
During the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, Moore chose Purdue to the delight of Boilermaker fans, coaches and players. Getting a four-star recruit to commit was a big step for head coach Jeff Brohm, especially in only his first year at the program.
Moore rose to stardom very quickly in his freshman season. He led the Big Ten in all-purpose yards and set the true-freshman record at Purdue for all-purpose yards. He gained major national attention when Purdue upset then No. 2 Ohio State.
Moore had two highlight plays that were seen across social media and television. His first highlight included a spin-move that caused a Buckeye defender to miss a tackle and ended with a long touchdown. His next highlight came after a long pass from former quarterback David Blough. Three Ohio State defensive players hit Moore but he broke the tackle and went in for the score, igniting the fans and players.
That game cemented Moore’s talent and abilities in fans’ and coaches’ minds. Moore became Purdue’s go-to weapon in times of need. Plays were installed just for him, and the offense began to revolve around Moore as well.
With all the attention came pressure and responsibility. Moore was faced with pressure to deliver on offense and special teams, and he knew it.
The Boilers are coming off of a bye week, something Moore thinks the team needed.
“I think it was a good chance to sit back and see what we’ve done and how far we need to go,” Moore explained.
Brohm agreed that the bye week was helpful.
“We need to do a lot of work, and we need to improve a lot, and we need to go back to the basics and fundamentals, which is what we tried to do,” Brohm said.
With opposing defenses game-planning specifically for Moore when they prepare to play Purdue, he has to work extra hard to get open on routes and provide for the offense, especially after injuries have taken a hold on the team.
Recently, freshman wide receiver David Bell and junior wide receiver Jared Sparks have been injured during games. With the loss of two offensive threats, Moore doesn’t believe extra pressure will fall on him.
“I really just think its next-man-up mentality,” Moore said. “It’s college, so there’s a guy below you who knows the playbook just as well. I think it’s just time for some guys to step up, and I think they will.”
Moore’s faith in his team has made him a leader and a mentor to players young and old. With a national spotlight on him and the team relying on him, Moore will look to keep performing and providing where he can for the Boilermakers.
Big Ten play kicks off for Purdue at 3:30 p.m. this Saturday, and Moore will be a big player to watch as the Boilers take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers at home.