Ole Miss football didn’t throw the ball much in 2019. Neither Matt Corral nor John Rhys Plumlee attempted more than 200 passes, and neither threw for more than 1,500 yards. Even with the lack of attempts and targets, wide receiver Elijah Moore still managed to carve out an 850-yard season on 67 catches. While his name may most be recognized for his heroic leg hike in the Egg Bowl, the rising junior from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. is a rising star at the position and poised for a breakout season in Lane Kiffin and Jeff Lebby’s offense.
Moore’s talent has put defensive backs on notice since high school, and he has been named to the Biletnikoff Award watch list for the second straight season, an honor given to the best receiver (regardless of position) in college football at the end of the year.
Though he suffered from a lack of looks last season, and has only been in Oxford for two years, Moore has assembled a stellar highlight reel at Ole Miss thus far.
Let’s take a look at some of his best moments:
Out of St. Thomas Aquinas high school, Moore was a highly-touted four-star recruit and selected to compete in the 2017 Opening Finals. Going up against some of the best defensive backs in the nation, he shook everybody.
He recorded 407 receiving yards and five touchdowns as a 17-year-old senior, and played in the 2018 Under Armour All-America Game.
Moore was a tremendous get for Ole Miss. He was a part of three 7A championship teams coached by former NFL greats like Sam Madison and Jason Taylor and flipped from his original commitment to Georgia on signing day.
Freshman Year — 2018
At the end of his freshman campaign, Moore finished third on the team with 36 receptions for 398 yards and two touchdowns. His first career catch and touchdown came in week two against Southern Illinois. Jordan Ta’amu found his man streaking over the middle of the field with a step on the man coverage he was presented and no safety in sight.
Moore recorded his second career touchdown a few weeks later against Louisiana Monroe, but had his coming out party against South Carolina in November. In his first career start, No. 8 led the receiving corps with 11 catches for 129 yards, the most single-game receptions and yards by a freshman in school history.
He got to work early and hit the secondary with the shimmey shake.
As the game went on, Moore dazzled with his vision, awareness and quickness.
His body control was next level and the NFL toe-tap was on display.
When he wasn’t moving up the depth chart on the receiving end of a Throwin’ Samoan missile, Moore was dicing defenses as a kick returner. The dude is twitchier than a hummingbird.
The first cut he throws against No. 28 is seriously insane.
Sophomore Year — 2019
With AJ Brown, DK Metcalf and Damarkus Lodge graduating to the NFL, Moore was set up as the number one option split out for the Rebels entering his sophomore season. Corral was supposed to keep the gunslinger tradition going under center, but lost his starting spot to Plumlee after getting injured against California Berkeley, which hindered Moore’s production down the stretch.
Despite the limited opportunity, he came out of the gates hot and went for 130 yards and two touchdowns on seven catches against Arkansas. The change of direction and acceleration makes the Hogs secondary look ridiculous.
Three weeks later, he laid out for a Sportscenter top-10 catch against Alabama.
Elijah Moore goes FULL EXTENSION. pic.twitter.com/Fyg0QrKc6r— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) September 28, 2019
Luke and Rodriguez ran a two-quarterback carousel two weeks later against Missouri and Moore was the benefactor, going 102 yards on eight catches with a touchdown. He has an uncanny ability to stop on a dime and leave his marked man in the tracks. When he can’t move laterally or burst through a seam, Moore is not afraid to lower a shoulder.
Against the eventual national champions, Moore had nine catches for a career-high 143 yards and a touchdown. There were very few instances where the Tigers could keep a body on him.
Here's Elijah Moore spinning Delpit with this out from the slot. Second time he's gained this much separation on the first drive of the game. Drops the ball though pic.twitter.com/EGvmIqxlPV— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) February 13, 2020
While he couldn’t hang on to the ball in this instance, he puts second round NFL Draft pick and Jim Thorpe Award winner (the best defensive back in college football) Grant Delpit on skates and throws him in the spin cycle. Moore did that all night.
There is a reason that Elijah Moore is on the Biletnikoff watch list for 2020, a year where Ole Miss is transitioning to a new offense that caters well to the junior wide receiver. He is fluid and defined through his route breaks, elusive in space, and able to get big when challenged.
Moore has put in the work this offseason and is only getting better. SEC corners beware.