Penn State's Derek Moye: The Big Ten's Most Under-Appreciated Receiver

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Penn State's Derek Moye: The Big Ten's Most Under-Appreciated Receiver
(Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

Drop the talk about Arrelious Benn of Illinois or Keith Smith from Purdue.  Say goodbye to Eric Decker.  It’s time to say hello to the most under-appreciated receiver in the Big Ten, and perhaps all of college football.

Some fans in Happy Valley like to call him “D. Moye.”
   
And while in real life, the “D” is short for Derek, more and more each day the true meaning of the “D” would be more fitting as “disrespected.”

Whatever it’s short for, there’s nothing short about the young man.

Moye, a 6’5”, 195-pound redshirt sophomore receiver, has made a splash in 2009 (27 receptions, 472 yards and 4 TD’s), breaking onto the scene and filling a major void left by arguably the best trio of receivers (on one team) in college football last season.

Yes, while Derrick Williams, Deon Butler, and Jordan Norwood are all gone… it’s safe to say that Nittany Nation doesn’t miss them as much as they thought they would.

But as the season moves along, Moye’s name keeps hitting the stat pages, but never the headlines.  Heck, when the season began, Moye wasn’t even projected as a starter in most college football publications (e.g. Phil Steele, who usually nails everything).

Currently third in the Big Ten in yards per catch (17.48 average), Moye leads a balanced Penn State passing attack that features four players with 20 or more receptions.  And while his name may be climbing the Big Ten’s receiving leaderboard, Moye and the Nittany Lion receivers are channeling their inner Rodney Dangerfield...by getting no respect.

But if you ask Moye himself, he doesn’t mind one bit.  In fact, when asked about all the focus being on Eric Decker in last Saturday’s matchup against Minnesota, Moye had a simple response.  “He’s a good player, and our defense did a great job against him, but it has nothing to do with me.”

It’s safe to say that Moye has no problem with being an unknown commodity that is seldom talked about by other teams.

Minnesota head coach Tim Brewster drove this point home, but not without trying.  “He’s just a big body,” Brewster said.  “He doesn’t run real fast, but he does a great job of using his body and shielding his body.  We had a smaller corner on him and he used his 6-6, 230-pound body on a much smaller defender.”

First off coach, he’s an inch shorter and about 35 pounds lighter. 

Trust me. 

Okay, so maybe it’s nitpicking a tad because a coach has to recall the size of all kinds of players, but one would assume that if a coach studied a player significantly, perhaps the young man’s statistics would be glued to the brain.

On top of the size, there’s also Derek’s speed.  Moye just isn’t a big target, but is sneaky quick.

“He has great speed and great height, and he has real good judgment on the ball,” Penn State Quarterbacks Coach Jay Paterno said.  “People don’t realize because of his speed that he’s a guy who runs sub-4.4.”

Size?  Check. 

Speed?  Check. 

Okay, so what about work ethic?

“He practices hard every single day,” teammate Graham Zug said of Moye.  “He gives a lot of effort and that’s why he’s getting so good.” 

Combine the aforementioned size and speed in the body of a redshirt sophomore, add in some solid work ethic, and you have yourself a talent that will wreak havoc on the Big Ten for years to come.

And as much as the growth has been visible in Moye’s game, most notably his acrobatic touchdown catch near the end of the first half against Minnesota last Saturday, it becomes easy to feel comfortable tossing out statements about how talented this young man is.

Yes, Moye is certainly coming into his own very quickly.

In fact, when asked if he was ready to be the top wide receiver for Penn State, Moye responded by saying, “There are other guys who are just as capable as I am.”

Okay, so let’s recap: Moye’s got size.  He’s got speed.  He has the work ethic, plus runs great routes…and to top it off, he’s a class act on and off the football field. 

Just don’t tell him that.

But someone may want to drop a call to the rest of the Big Ten, in case they haven’t noticed yet.


Penn State fans: Have an opinion on Terrelle Pryor? Here’s my two cents :

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