Elijah Moore’s goals are lofty
Elijah Moore knows a thing or two about big surprises; after all, the New York Jets‘ newly minted receiver surprised his mother Elisa with a large check to pay off her debts shortly before departing for Florham Park.
This season, Moore wants to bestow different kinds of surprises – ones that would take place on the field.
Moore had a big one in store for those who ventured to 1 Jets Drive for New York’s first public training camp sessions, hooking up with fellow rookie Zach Wilson for an 80-yard score that let out a metropolitan cheer nearly two years in the making.
The receiver beat Lamarcus Joyner to get open before waltzing in.
— Optimistic Jets (@OptimisticJets) July 31, 2021
One day prior, Moore also caught Wilson’s first camp toss on an otherwise tough day for the rookie quarterback.
Despite the fans’ joyous reaction – the first unofficial Jets touchdown the fanbase has played witness to in New Jersey since Robby Anderson’s 23-yard score at MetLife Stadium in December 2019 – the Mississippi alum felt his weekend showing was simply all in a day’s work.
“I have high expectations for myself,” Moore said on Friday, per notes from the Jets. “I’m taking it day by day, moment by moment, second by second, you know, and that’s all I can do.”
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Moore was chosen in the second round of last spring’s draft and has been seen as a steal by many observers. He’s lived up to the hype in a small sample size, developing early chemistry with Wilson and impressing his coaches.
“He’s doing a really nice job,” head coach Robert Saleh said on Saturday. “What’s exciting about Elijah is his mindset. We’ve talked about it. He absolutely loves football and when you love football, you’re going to do everything you can to protect it. We’re just excited to work with him and fortunate to have him.”
Saturday scores are second nature to Moore. In a shortened 2020 season, the former Ole Miss Rebel tallied eight touchdowns in eight games, giving him 14 over the last two seasons. Moore’s success (2,043 yards over his last two collegiate campaigns in Oxford) came after A.J. Brown helped rewrite the Rebel record book.
Moore has had some “powerful” conversations with the current Tennessee Titans playmaker as he prepares to make his debut. Locally, Moore has already found himself a new, “super cool” mentor in Jamison Crowder, one of the most experienced returning members of the Jets’ roster.
“He gives me advice all the time, he’s just real receptive,” Moore said of Crowder. “Whenever I go out there and make a play, even if I win, he always tells me something I could have did better. It’s just good to have those outlets.”
Further motivation has come from taking yet another step back in time: St. Thomas Aquinas High School.
The Fort Lauderdale-based Catholic prep school is well-known for its gridiron endeavors, having won a dozen state titles since 1992. Lamarcus Joyner is among its current NFL representatives, as well as Joey and Nick Bosa, Geno Atkins, and Michael Irvin.
Moore hasn’t lingered in the past forever – professional football, after all, is a “non-stop” affair – but he’s hoping that parts of the NFL’s next generation have yet to reveal themselves on his former high school’s current roster. If he can help any prospect realize the dream of hearing their name called on draft day, he’s going to do what he can to provide a guide for that journey.
“When I was there, I wanted people to do that for me,” Moore said. “I’m gonna do that for them. I’m not going to be that person that never comes back. I want to show my face.”
So far, he’s doing exactly that in New York – and Jets fans couldn’t be happier.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags