With Boston College commencement at the start of the week Malachi Moore has a quick turnaround.
After a spring spent solely in the classroom, on his own in the weight room and away from spring football as he awaited his graduate transfer, Moore packed up his belongings shortly after the commencement ceremony and closed the book on his days as an Eagle.
But with Memorial Day marking his start at Rutgers for the first wave of summer football workouts, Moore begins a new journey with coach Chris Ash and the Scarlet Knights.
“Definitely feels like a fresh start for me, definitely a breath of fresh air,” Moore said. “Everything that has occurred in my last four years of undergrad, I definitely feel very happy and blessed that Rutgers has allowed me to have this opportunity. So, it’s definitely a new beginning and I’m very happy.”
After four years spent in Chestnut Hill, Mass., Moore returns to his home state at Rutgers for one more year on the collegiate gridiron, providing reinforcement in the trenches at defensive end for the Scarlet Knights’ experienced defensive group.
The Hackettstown, N.J., native refreshes the page on his college football-playing career under the direction of a new coaching staff at Rutgers after playing three seasons in four years at Boston College.
He started six games as a true freshman, but a blood clot derailed that early momentum and forced Moore to miss all of 2013 before playing 23 games over the course of his final two seasons.
But now, Sparta (N.J.) Pope John XXIII Regional High School head coach Brian Carlson believes his former player is back and better — in a situation that mutually benefits Moore and Rutgers.
“He’s a tall, lanky kid with a big, athletic frame,” Carlson said. “(Moore) wasn’t as big as he is now, obviously. I saw him (Wednesday) … he’s just strapped. He looks like a Big Ten, SEC type of defensive end.
“I mean, he’s … very athletic, long, rangy kid, intelligent kid. He’s a kid that, it’s great that he’s at Rutgers and I think it’s a great opportunity for both of them — for him and the program.”
Moore, now standing at 6-foot-7 and weighing in at 278 pounds, has come a long way since his playing days at Pope John XXIII. On top of that, he acknowledges his ups and downs experienced at Boston College ultimately added onto his overall growth as a player, outside of playing the likes of Clemson and Florida State in the ACC.
“When I think of my 18-year-old self, I think of someone who was just very wide-eyed and didn’t know the whole process and everything that goes in with playing Division-I football,” Moore said. “It’s not just getting on the field, it’s not just playing on Saturday — it’s about practicing and mentally preparing yourself for everything.”
“I think the wisdom that I’ve gathered and the experience that I have has definitely helped me out and I plan to help out — especially with the coaching change, too. I’ve been through that as well and I think that helped me out with how Rutgers saw me because I’ve been through that. And I know what’s about to happen at Rutgers, overall, with the change of the whole program. It’s not something that’s easy, but it’s something that can be done and it’s something that we did at Boston College.”
While it remains to be seen where Moore stands on the depth chart at Rutgers, the summer session gives coaches a first impression. But with the need for depth, Carlson believes Moore fills the void on the two-deep.
“Now at the Big Ten, you need to be two-deep at everything,” Carlson said. “I mean, that’s the biggest transition. Guys are gonna get banged up, guys are gonna be out for a quarter or a game. You really need to be two-deep. And a guy like Malachi brings that depth right away. He’s mature guy.”
As for Moore, his approach is much simpler.
“I’m really just looking to help in any way possible,” he said. “If they need me to do outside, inside, I think they know I’ll work my ass off to help the defensive line. Already having a very talented defensive line at Rutgers, I just wanna do my best and help everyone out.”