Maryland secured a commitment from Imhotep (Philadelphia, Pa.) receiver D.J. Moore July 2, and afterwards we spoke to his head coach, Alby Crosbie, to gain more insight into the three-star wideout.
Here's our Q&A session with him:
Terrapin Times: One of the more interesting things D.J. told me, Coach, was that when you guys came down for the June 1 camp at Maryland, he was talking to you and you guys were joking that he didn't need to see any other schools – he would be a Terp. So did you know right then and there D.J. would end up at Maryland?
Alby Crosbie: No (laughs); we weren't that sure just yet, but we did think Maryland was a really great place. Everything just felt right. It was a great feeling there, D.J. enjoyed it, he loved all the coaches there, and he wanted to get up and back down the highway to see it. It's a beautiful campus and a great school to be around.
We talked about it, and we looked at other schools, but Maryland just felt right. It was the perfect fit.
TT:Yeah, speaking of getting up and down the highway, D.J. was in College Park three times in a month. Most recruits visit maybe twice before deciding, but he came three times in less than 31 days. Any reason for that?
AC: The first time we came as a team, and he did the camp and had a chance to work with the coaches. But Maryland wanted him to come back with his mom to see the school and get a proper tour and see the academics. And the third time was for that elite camp, and that let the coaches get more eyeballs on him, and for D.J. to work with them again.
So, really, all three trips had a specific purpose, and the more times he was down there, the more comfortable he felt there. It really did begin to feel like a second home to him.
TT: When did you know D.J. was leaning towards Maryland? Was it a week or so ago when he gave an indication?
AC: No, not really – it was the night he did it. I mean, we talk about all the schools looking at him, and he didn't [indicate] he was going to be committing until then. But when he did talk about Maryland, whenever I brought them up, he lit up. He just lit right up about the school. The coaching staff, the feel of the place, the opportunities there – Maryland had a lot going for it.
Playing for Coach [Keenan] McCardell, who played in the League and has great experience, had D.J. really excited. Then after working with him, D.J. just raved about Coach McCardell and his personality. [McCardell's] personality and enthusiasm is amazing. Then Coach John Dunn, he did a phenomenal job recruiting D.J., reaching out to us, and making D.J. feel comfortable about Maryland.
TT: I want to hit on that last point. We've heard a number of kids talk about Coach McCardell, but what was the process like with Coach Dunn? What's your guys' relationship like with him and how was he in recruiting D.J.?
AC: I've been a head football coach at Imhotep for three years, and Coach Dunn has a really good relationship with the guys at our school in general. He always pops in, and he liked a lot of our players. He would always laugh and joke with me: ‘Coach, we've gotta get one of your guys to be a Terp.' And he finally got one in D.J., and I couldn't be more proud to send him there. Coach Dunn, he's a great man, and Coach [Randy] Edsall as well. D.J. is in good hands at Maryland.
TT: So does Maryland have a shot at your next big guy, tight end Naseir Upshur?
AC: Oh yeah, Naseir likes the school. [Maryland has] offered him, and he likes it. So we'll see.
TT: OK, back to D.J. I noticed talking to him how close he is to his mother. How important was she in this process, and how important was it to D.J. that she be able to see his games?
AC: It was extremely important. When you start looking at all the factors that played into his decision, that was one that definitely played a major role. He's very close to his family. Him and his mother, they're each other's rocks. And [his mother] is an amazing, amazing woman, and she's by D.J. side all the time. It gave him great comfort knowing that she'll be there and be able to see his games.
And she talked about how great an academic university Maryland was, and how the staff would take care of him. She had a major influence in his decision, and really she saw nothing wrong with Maryland at all. She and D.J. both loved it.
TT: Was there anything else specific that sold D.J. on Maryland? The Big Ten move? The chance to play early?
AC: I really don't think either one of those things had as big of an impact as you might think. Maryland was in the ACC and it's not like they're going from a bad football conference to a good one. I mean, the national champion came out of the ACC, so D.J. knew it was going to be good football regardless of the conference. And the chance to play early, we talk about that all the time – redshirting or playing early. But my guys, and D.J. especially, are very open minded about it. It's not something that's going to make or break a school – redshirting or playing right away.
TT:D.J. did say that Temple finished second to Maryland. How close of a second was it?
AC: Oh, it was close. D.J. really, really liked Temple and the coaches there. Temple was his first offer, and he appreciated that and wanted to explore that program further. But then Maryland came along and it just felt right to him. He got that "feeling" when he stepped on campus at Maryland.
TT: Physically, what does D.J. bring to the table? What can he do for Maryland's offense?
AC: D.J. is a very smooth and strong receiver. His routes are smooth, he gets in and out of his breaks well, he has soft hands, and he has great body control. He's also a very good blocker. He gets downfield, and allows the running back to get to the next level and break long runs.
Off the field, D.J. is very passionate and works extremely hard. He's just a very good football player.
TT: Just watching D.J., the name Anquan Bolden keeps popping into my head. Is that an apt comparison?
AC: You know, I like that. I really like that. You talk about a guy like Anquan Bolden, he dominated the game with three different teams with the way he played. D.J. obviously isn't at that level, but the physical tools are definitely comparable.
TT: And what does D.J. have to do to take his game up a notch to be ready for Big Ten ball?
AC: He just has to keep working and keep an open mind. D.J., his sophomore season, his biggest problem was getting off of jams. But he came back, worked on his release, and became really, really good at defeating press coverage. So if there's a deficiency, he's going to work really hard to fix it.
TT: I'm assuming Maryland wants D.J. at that outside receiver position considering they have two slots, correct?
AC: Yes, that's correct. But D.J. can play multiple positions. He can play inside, he can play the X, and he can move around on the line of scrimmage. This year we'll line him up at the X, the Z, all over the place.
TT: And what kind of a guy is D.J.? What's he like in the locker room around his teammates?
AC: When you talk to him, you'll see this bright smile right away. Everything is always positive. He's a mamma's boy, a very respectful young man and a humble young man. I'm very, very proud of him and the person he's become. I'm going to be sad the day he leaves Imhotep because he's been a joy to coach.
TT:Was there a time you knew that D.J. was going to be a big-time FBS receiver? Was there a play he made or something along those lines?
AC: I saw D.J. in little league football, and he was a running back. He was very explosive, and he just kept making plays. It wasn't one particular play, but the whole collection of them. He'd just keep breaking off long run after long run, and he'd get to the end zone and have this big smile on his face. He didn't boast or anything like that – he just walked to the sideline and had this great, big smile. I was like, ‘This kid gets it. He gets it, and he has so much passion and loves what he's doing.' When I saw the humility, combined with the joy, that was special.
TT:And one fun thing for you here, Coach. Can you tell us something about D.J. maybe other people don't know? Something unique about him?
AC: Yeah, definitely. You know, D.J., when he was younger, he used to break out all these Michael Jackson moves. He's a really, really good dancer. Now he's kind of shy about it, and he might try to dance by himself in the locker room where no one can see him. Someone might come in, though, and he'll stop really quick and act like he wasn't doing anything (laughs). But this young man can really, really dance.