September 21, 2011

Receiver Darrin Moore shines early

There's no doubt Texas Tech junior wide receiver Darrin Moore is the most dominant receiver on the roster this season.

By his own admission though, he's no Michael Crabtree. That's not a bad thing.

"I've heard the comparison before but I don't think me and Crabtree are much alike," Moore said. "I'd say he's more elusive, more of a run after the catch kind of guy. I know I've got a long touchdown, but I don't really get too many of those."

In a short period of time with Moore it becomes clear he'd rather be known as himself as opposed to fans shouting down to him that he's the second coming of Crabtree.

Moore and Crabtree both established themselves as game changers while at Tech but they did it in different ways. Crabtree shook defenders off with athletic moves and then turned on the jets. Moore stays committed to his route and uses his long frame to get the ball over a defender.

With that skillset, Moore said he's not surprised with his early rise as quarterback Seth Doege's No. 1 target. Through two games, Moore has 339 yards on 21 catches and four touchdowns. He missed almost the entire second half of last week's New Mexico game with a bruised tailbone.

The six-foot-four, 214 pound receiver had been under the radar prior to this past spring.

Moore came to Tech last season after winning a NJCAA National Title alongside future Heisman winner Cam Newton at Blinn College after spending a redshirt season at UTEP. But last season Moore had just 117 yards on 15 grabs last season, giving fans the impression he might just be a bit player.

It's easy to be overshadowed by more experienced guys like wideout Lyle Leong -- who had 19 touchdowns and more than 900 yards receiving -- ahead on the depth chart.

But when spring football came around -- and with Leong and Detron Lewis out of the picture -- people started realizing the potential Moore had.

Junior college transfer Marcus Kennard was recruited to be an adequate replacement for Leong's and Moore was projected to work on the opposite side of the field.

Instead, it was Moore making the big plays while Kennard battled minor injuries and adapted to the Division I game. Moore's success carried over to fall camp and now Moore can only be considered Tech's go-to guy in critical passing situations.

"It feels good being the No. 1 guy," Moore said. "Every receiver wants to be the No. 1 guy. It feels great to have the quarterbacks' trust and the coaches' trust, feels good. It takes consistency and hard work. Every day is a grind from the time the season ends to the time the season starts."

Moore's early success has even caught the attention of Newton, now the starter quarterback of the Carolina Panthers.

"Cam's a good dude," Moore said. "I just talked to him (Monday) and it was real fun playing with him but better to keep up with him. We just caught up on old times and stuff. I didn't really ask him about the (NFL), we didn't want to get into all of that, I'm sure he's happy there and I'm happy here."

Moore has the chance to draw even bigger numbers against the Nevada defense if he can get through the cornerback jam at the line of scrimmage. The Wolf Pack likes to play dangerously close to the receivers they cover.

"Last year they had a pretty good defense," Moore said. "Coach said they were like No. 13 in the nation or somewhere in there. They play a lot of man coverage with press corners. So we're looking to expose that."

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