OSU football: Receiver C.J. Moore looking for opportunity to make impact
STILLWATER — C.J. Moore’s arrival at Oklahoma State last year was highly anticipated, but came a little late.
The Tulsa Union star receiver spent the summer finishing up his academic work and hit campus in August, minimizing his time to get settled in with the Cowboy offense.
So the 6-foot-5 playmaker redshirted, though he was dressing and traveling with the team by the end of the year.
Halfway through his first spring in Stillwater, Moore is beginning to establish himself.
“His biggest addition is 25 pounds,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said. “He came in at about a buck-58, and I think he’s at 185 now, something like that. That’s helped him considerably.”
Oklahoma State’s wide receiver rotation did little rotating last season.
Five receivers caught more than two passes, and one of them was Jalen McCleskey, who had 15 catches in four games before deciding to sit out the rest of the year and transfer.
But Gundy and receivers coach Kasey Dunn envision more players getting involved in 2019.
Three of the top four pass-catchers return in Biletnikoff Award finalist Tylan Wallace and inside receivers Dillon Stoner and Landon Wolf.
This spring, the Pokes are auditioning outside receivers to determine who might help expand the rotation. Gundy wants to see at least six wideouts regularly used.
The outside spot vacated by Tyron Johnson is of high importance, helping to draw attention away from Wallace, much like Marcell Ateman did for James Washington in 2017.
A young version of Ateman might be a fair comparison for Moore.
“He has some of the skills Ateman had early in his career,” Gundy said. “Not as physical, because he’s still 15 pounds lighter, but that’s the direction we want him to go, and we need him to be there by October.
“That might be a push, but it’s a nice goal for us.”
Braydon Johnson is expected to be in the receiver rotation. He got more involved over the second half of last season, and can play both inside and outside. He, too, has been impressed with Moore’s development.
“C.J. has come a long way,” Johnson said. “I feel like everybody else on the offense would say that, too. When he first came in, he was small. He’s been in the weight room getting bigger. He’s in meetings, listening. He’s getting his technique down, trying to overcome his flaws. I think he’s gonna be a great player here.”
Patrick McKaufman, now a junior, is working his way back from a torn ACL in August, and is beginning to show progress.
“I don’t think he’s 100 percent,” Gundy said. “I think he’s somewhat cautious subconsciously of his route-running, but he’s coming along.”
Moore, once a four-star recruit pursued by Alabama, Georgia, Florida State and dozens more, has a unique elusiveness for a guy with such a wiry frame. Plus, good hands, speed and leaping ability.
He’s showing progress in his grasp of the offense as well.
“He’s much better than he was last October,” Gundy said. “Whether he plays 20 plays or 45 plays, based on how quickly he matures, he’s got to get in the rotation. He’s a guy we need.”