D.J. Moore (Imhotep/Philadelphia, Pa.) knows the exact moment he was ready to commit to the University of Maryland. Earlier this week, following a weekend visit to College Park, Md., his third in the last month, the 6-foot-1, 210-pounder wrote down his top five schools – in order – on a notepad. Meanwhile, Moore's mother, whom he's especially close to, did the same.
The list was almost identical, and both had the same exact institution sitting at the top.
"We were both on the same page – the same wave length," Moore said. "It was Maryland all the way."
Moore held offers from the likes of Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Virginia, Wake Forest Illinois, Temple, UConn, Northwestern and others. But he whittled that down to a clear top three of UMD, Temple and Pitt, with Illinois, Wake and RU on the outside looking in. The Owls were appealing to both Moore and his mother as they were the hometown team and a program the family was familiar with and comfortable at.
"But Maryland, the coaches there pushed the hardest for me and showed they really wanted me. Maryland just had so much to offer, and I couldn't say no," Moore said. "And the environment there, how they treated me and my mom when we were down there – it just felt like home. Maryland really feels like a second home."
Well, it should after three trips to College Park in a month. Moore and his Imhotep team first visited Maryland June 1 for the school's initial one-day camp. While there, Moore and his coach took to head coach Randy Edsall's program so well that they joked afterwards Moore would eventually end up a Terp. The Imhotep wideout saw about eight more schools after that first UMD visit, but after every program he took in – the Carolina schools, Michigan, Ohio State, etc. – his mind kept drifting back to College Park.
In the middle of June, Moore decided to take a return visit to Maryland, and this time he brought his mother. The pair toured the campus with the staff, had a long sit-down with Edsall, learned about the academics and viewed plans for Maryland's future goals in the Big Ten.
"I got a really good feel for the coaches and the school after that [second visit]," Moore said. "Coach Edsall had a talk with me, and then he talked to both me and my mom. He was saying how academics come first for his players, and that really stood out. Then he said how they're losing a couple receivers after this year and that I'd have a good chance to play early there, and I really liked that. I saw it as a great chance to play right away in the Big Ten."
Moore, however, wasn't sold quite yet. The Philadelphia product returned to Maryland a third time June 27-28 for the Terps' Big Show event, featuring around 50 primetime athletes from around the country. The Show itself was impressive, but for Moore's purposes it was another chance to work closely with receivers' coach Keenan McCardell.
"Coach McCardell, he gets on you and really knows his stuff. He's a great teacher," said Moore, who has completely shut down his recruiting after double-digit visits this summer. "I really enjoyed working with him, and I think he can take my game to another level. He's a guy who played in the NFL for a long time, so he knows what he's talking about."
While at the Big Show, Moore believes he gave the UMD staff a taste of what it can expect from him in the future. He said he performed well against the top cornerbacks in attendance and separated himself from the other receivers.
"The coaches loved me out there. I did very well, and they were saying how smooth I was and how well I caught the ball," Moore said. "It was a lot of fun, and I really got a good feel for the coaches there."
Of course, Moore already had a good feel for John Dunn, his area recruiter. Moore said he and Dunn stayed in contact "almost daily," and UMD's recruiting coordinator played a significant role in the receiver's choosing Maryland.
"Coach Dunn helped me along in the process and gave me a lot of advice. I enjoyed talking to him," Moore said. "He kept telling me how much I'd like it at Maryland when I saw it, and he was right. I really did like it down there."
Moore went on to note UMD's Big Ten move, academic reputation -- he wants to major in kinesiology and noted Maryland's strong program – and new facility plans as factors in his decision. The Under Armour connection and uniforms didn't hurt the school's chances either.
"Maryland has a real bright future and they're doing big things there," Moore said. "I mean, the Big Ten is second only to the SEC; there's a lot of tradition and I wanted to be apart of that."
Add it all up, and Moore decided not to delay. He initially said he wanted to wait until after his senior season before committing, but with spots filling up, and his and his mother's mind set on UMD, well …
"It just hit me – I had to commit. It just sort of happened," said Moore, who could graduate early. "I called up my coach and he said, ‘You ready?' You know, he loved it down at Maryland when we were there [June 1]. Then I talked to my mom and she was all on board. I was like, ‘OK, it's a go. Let's do it.'"
And with that, Moore became Maryland's 16th class of 2015 pledge and its third receiver commit. He is coming off a season where he hauled in 39 catches for 832 yards and 13 touchdowns.
"This [playing Division I football] has been a dream of mine since I was little. My mom sent me out to play football when I was four years old, because she thought it would take some of the energy out of me," Moore said laughing. "But it didn't work, and I've been playing with a ton of energy ever since (laughs).
"Now I'm going to college for free. I stretch the field, I can separate from defenders and I have real soft hands. I have to work on my route running and getting my patterns down, but I'm getting there with that."
As far as his role at Maryland, Moore said he could fit in anywhere the staff lines him up.
"The Maryland coaches, they think I can play both inside and outside there. But I just see myself fitting in real good anywhere I play," said Moore, who runs track. "I'm quick enough to go inside and big and fast enough to line up outside. I like how they spread the ball around and use all their receivers and let them be playmakers."
If Moore develops as planned, he believes he could be another Stefon Diggs or Deon Long. He has never spoken to either current Terps receiver, but he's well aware of their talent and impact on the UMD offense.
"Hopefully one day I can get to that point – that's the idea," Moore said. "But I'm coming in humble and ready to work. I haven't proven anything yet."
Moore Called Maryland 'My Second Home'
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