BOONE, N.C. — Jalin Moore overcame difficult odds in going from a low-profile reserve to a record-setting running back at Appalachian State.
A serious leg injury cut short his senior year, but that was just another obstacle for Moore to clear in his pursuit of a professional football career.
The 2019 NFL Draft continues this weekend, and the 5-foot-10, 212-pound Moore is a candidate to be selected by one of 32 NFL franchises. Earlier this month, 28 representatives from 23 NFL teams attended App State's Pro Day in Boone, where Moore worked out alongside fellow pro prospects Clifton Duck (early entry cornerback), Austin Exford (safety), MyQuon Stout (defensive tackle), Tae Hayes (cornerback), Elias McMurry (long snapper), Dominique Heath (receiver) and Anthony Flory (linebacker).
A recipient of the 20th-best grade among draft-eligible running backs, the hard-working and powerful Moore rushed for 3,570 career yards, scored 34 total touchdowns and averaged a school-record 6.13 yards per carry before suffering an ankle fracture and dislocation that ended his senior season on Oct. 9.
"It humbles me every time I'm down because I remember where I came from," Moore said. "When I first came here, I was like sixth string on the depth chart. Man, look how far I've come. I just try to keep myself going — it's all a part of the story."
With a one-star rating, Moore had the lowest recruiting ranking among App State's Class of 2014 signees coming out of Crest High School. He redshirted that year and made a splash late in his redshirt freshman season, coming off the bench to rush for 244 yards at Idaho in the Mountaineers' 10th game.
Moore led the Sun Belt Conference in rushing as both a sophomore (1,402 yards) and junior (1,037 yards in the equivalent of 10 games) before gaining 400 yards in the first five-plus games of 2018. His final college carry was a 27-yard touchdown run in which he pulled the defender the final 10 yards before fracturing his ankle at the goal line, proof of the strength and determination that allowed him to be ranked No. 1 among running backs on NFL.com's 18-player list of "college football's most freakish athletes."
Measurements in several areas, notably a 650-pound squat, showed that Moore was both productive (four games of at least 235 rushing yards) and explosive. Despite the injury, he received the first official invitation to the Reese's Senior Bowl and attended the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, where he ranked No. 2 among the 28 invited running backs with 27 reps on the 225-pound bench press.
His first official on-field work at App State's Pro Day, which included extensive drills to reveal his pass-catching abilities, drew lots of interest and made a strong impression on NFL personnel.
"Coming back from the Combine, I just had that extra chip on my shoulder," Moore said. "Not being able to compete with those guys (in Indianapolis), it did something to me. I came back and hit it harder right after the Combine. That's when it was all go. No more setbacks."
Moore, who has said he plans to be ready to compete by the time NFL minicamps begin, used a positive, motivated approach to make the most of his rehab process over the last six months.
That doesn't mean there weren't tough times, but Moore's maturity and outlook helped him tackle the process with a healthy, commendable perspective.
"Some coaches have wanted to know how I'm doing mentally," Moore said. "It takes a lot out of some people, but I still have that same dog in me, and that's why I've really come as far as I've come. I've still got a lot to prove, because I know this won't be the last time something bad happens."
Photo Courtesy: Jalin Moore, App State Sports