Photo via Demon Moore

IU football commit DJ Moore combines size with athleticism to be a dominant blocker

DJ Moore’s measurables jump off the page, frankly, because there’s a lot to measure. The rising senior offensive lineman at Fort Wayne Snider is listed on the website at 6-foot-6, 335 pounds, which makes him big enough to play any position on a college offensive line.

But what really makes him valuable, Snider coach Kurt Tippmann said, is his ability to move that weight around. He’s agile enough to play both guard and tackle, to protect against the pass and get upfield against the run and obviously strong enough to manhandle whatever defenders he finds. That’s why he’s a four-star recruit and why landing him Monday was such a coup for Indiana, which had to beat out Ohio State and Oregon as well as Purdue, Arizona State, Cincinnati, Minnesota, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas A&M and West Virginia to secure his services.

“The unique thing about him is his athleticism for as big as he is,” Tippmann said. “He’s a really, really good athlete. He has great feet. He bends, which is always a big measuring stick for a big guy, an offensive linemen. He bends his knees and hips like a DB. He’s very athletic, very limber, and has that unique ability to move his feet very well. Coupled with the size, that leads to him being a very productive offensive lineman.”

Moore played tackle this past season, but he played guard next to Randy Holtz, a 6-foot-7, 340-pound offensive lineman who is going into his second year at Indiana. He’s developed the skillset and the wherewithal to play both positions, which makes him a weapon at the high school level and gives him a chance to play early at Indiana.

“He’s given us a lot of versatility and we’ve been able to play him in a lot of places,” Tippmann said. “… We employ a scheme where we probably need more as a tackle than we do as a guard, but when something happens injury wise, we have the ability to move him on the inside. And we can play him on the defensive side of the ball too, and it’s tough to block a guy that big. He creates a lot of mismatches for the other teams.”

Tippmann said Snider uses a gap-oriented blocking scheme that frequently allows Moore to operate as part of a double-team and also allows him to get into the second level on running plays, which gives him an opportunity to showcase his whole skillset.

“He’s double-teaming and down-blocking on defensive linemen,” TIppmann said. “But where he uses and shows his athleticism more is when he’s getting up to the second level to block a linebacker. Where those guys are more athletic and able to move more, he’s still able to climb up there and get his mitts on some of those more athletic linebackers. It’s tough to get around that big of a body. Once he latches on to you, he’s kind of hard to get away from because he can move so well and because he’s big and strong.”

If you watch highlight video on Moore, you’ll see lots of evidence of pancake blocks when he drives an opposing defensive lineman to the ground. Tippmann said Snider doesn’t keep stats on such blocks, and that they’re also not the whole of what he does well.

“The deal is, what is really truly effective with what is going to translate to being a good college player, it’s not just how many guys he can knock down,” TIppmann said. “At the high school level, he can do that because sometimes he’s going against players who are half his size. The skill that translates well is his ability to move his feet, and to lock on a guy and stay engaged with him through the course of a play. For us, that’s more important than knocking a guy down. We want him on his feet so he can continue to play and find someone else to block.”

Moore has learned that throughout his career at Snider and importantly, improved his technique. Tippmann said Moore hasn’t become satisfied with the fact that he’s overpowering at the high school level and has trained to both be as effective as he can be and prepare for matchups against higher-level competition and for the next level.

“The biggest thing we want to see from him and we have seen from him is more to be in tune with the technique of playing the position,” Tippmann said. “Because of his size and the people he goes against, a lot of guys can just rely on that and be successful. But what we’ve asked him to do is pay more attention to very finite details of playing his position, moving his feet a certain way, keeping his body square through a block so he can get off to another level. Just playing more technically sound, more fundamentally. Even if he’s going against someone he can dominate just because of his size, pay attention to those finer details. That’s been our goal for him, and he’s doing a good job.”

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