Player Spotlight: Derek Moye
It has been quite some time since Penn State has possessed a big, playmaking wide receiver. Not since the early 1990’s with guys like O.J. McDuffie and Joe Jurevicius has there been a playmaker at the wide receiver position for the Nittany Lions. This year, senior Derek Moye looks to join this elite group and cement himself as one of the Nittany Lions’ greatest receivers of all-time.
Moye’s 6 foot 5 inch and 210 pound frame and impressive speed offers a combination that few other receivers in the country can boast. However, when he first stepped on campus as a freshman, many critics questioned whether Moye would ever be strong enough to become an effective receiver in the Big Ten.
Upon graduation from Rochester High School, the three-time all-state wide out entered camp as a lanky 185 pound speedster that did not have the mass to get off the line against a physical defensive back. He was a four sport star excelling in football, basketball, and baseball as well as winning multiple state championships in track. But to become a capable receiver at the college level, putting on some weight would be a must.
After redshirting his freshman year, Moye came into the 2008 season fourth on the depth chart behind the “Big Three” of Deion Butler, Derek Williams, and Jordan Norwood, all of whom would go on to have professional careers. He saw action in all 12 games, but only recorded three receptions. He managed to attain his first career touchdown in a game against Syracuse.
With the graduation of three of the most successful wide outs in Penn State history, much greater pressure rested on the shoulders of the redshirt sophomore Moye. A career high 8 catches for 138 yards in the season opener against Akron quickly put to rest any doubt that fans had regarding the wide receiver position.
Throughout his sophomore campaign, Moye began to demonstrate an uncanny ability to leap over defenders for balls, something that Penn State fans had not seen in quite some time. Unlike Butler, Williams and Norwood, who were all less than 6 feet tall, Moye’s frame made him a great target inside the red zone. The patented fade route became Moye’s go-to red zone play.
Moye has led the team in receptions, yards, and touchdowns each of the past two seasons, and his 16.4 yards per catch in 2009 and 16.7 yards per catch in 2010 ranked second in the Big Ten for each respective season. The senior is on pace to move into the top-five in school history for every receiving statistic.
Entering the season opener against Indiana State, Moye received the news that he had been elected a captain for the season.
“It is a great honor to be elected as a captain at a school like Penn State,” Moye said Tuesday. “And to have my teammates vote for me shows that they have a lot of respect for me.”
Heading into this weekend’s showdown with Alabama, Moye knows that he and the rest of the receiving corps will have to step up and help whoever is under center Saturday afternoon.
“[Alabama likes] to bring a lot of pressure and play man on the outside,” he said. “As receivers we have to win the one-on-one battles. Obviously we expect to win on Saturday and from there on out, just take it a week at a time and win each game each week.”
If Moye can manage another stellar performance this weekend, it will bring the Nittany Lions one step closer to pulling off the upset.
Matt Lawrence is a freshman majoring in Communications. To contact him, email email@example.com.