Northeast Tarrant

Dramatic build-up to National Signing Day for Northwest wide receiver

You’re the parent of a teenager, and in the middle of your day, you get a text from him saying he’s at Love Field in Dallas, about to board a flight to Kansas City.

When you left for work that morning, there was no reason to think that you weren’t going to be seeing him later in the evening. But that’s how fast everything moved for Justin Northwest wide receiver Emmanuel Moore in December, and now he’s heading to play for Power 5 conference school.

Fortunately, Moore’s text message didn’t prompt shock or fear. Rather, it summoned excitement and hope.

Moore became a beneficiary of college football’s coaching turnover season in December. New Kansas coach David Beaty and his staff looked to make something out the final weeks of the 2015 recruiting season and needed a wide receiver who could contribute.

Northwest coach Bill Poe worked for Beaty when Beaty was the head coach at Irving MacArthur in the early 2000s. Poe placed a call, sent some film and just wanted Beaty to take look and see what they thought. The timeline from introduction to interest to visiting was a few days.

“There really wasn’t a lot of time to think about it,” Moore said. “I couldn’t talk to my parents about going up there because they were at work. But when I texted them, they were pretty excited. It was a pretty amazing experience and I’m glad it worked out.”

On Wednesday, Moore, who changed his verbal commitment from North Texas to Kansas, will be signing his national letter of intent with the Big 12 school. Moore is one of at least nine players from our coverage area who will be signing with Division I schools on Wednesday’s National Signing Day. It’s college football’s version of Christmas. There will be other football players as well as other athletes signing.

The day features the highest rated player to ever come out of this area in Keller offensive lineman Maea Teuhema. Rivals ranks him as the No. 29 prospect in the nation. Teuhema’s teammate, offensive lineman Bobby Reynolds, is signing with Louisiana-Monroe.

Keller Fossil Ridge has safety Montrel Wilson (TCU). Keller Timber Creek is presenting linebacker/safety Camden Ross (Houston). Carroll will have three in quarterback Ryan Agnew (San Diego State), defensive tackle King Newton (UT-San Antonio) and defensive back Andy Chelf (Purdue).

Stories like Moore’s were the ones making everybody scratch their heads. The size to play at the Division I wasn’t the issue. He is 6-1, 195. His hands were among the best I’ve ever seen. And I’m not the only one saying that.

“You never hear the ball touch his hands,” Poe said. “That’s something either you have it or you don’t. That’s how good they are.”

Moore’s ability to make plays after the catch also stood out. Anytime there was a jump ball, he’d usually win it. He finished the season with 1,291 receiving yards, led all of Dallas-Fort Worth receivers with 93 receptions, and had 19 touchdowns.

Yet questions about his speed lingered as the difference-maker. He ran a 4.5 but coaches weren’t sure if he could separate from defensive backs. Plus, Moore didn’t have much exposure because he didn’t attend many summer college camps before his junior and senior year.

“People were wondering if he was fast enough to be in the Big 12 or SEC,” Poe said. “But David trusted in what I said about E-Man and his ability to his job. David saw what I told him. Emmanuel can move his hips and create leverage. He’s a playmaker.”

If not for the coaching change at Kansas, Moore would have likely ended up signing with North Texas. He would have had no problem with that.

But things happen for a reason. Moore turned out to be one of those unknowns uncovered late in the recruiting process. Regardless of his rating or media attention, he earns the same opportunity as every other player across the country signing his LOI: a chance to succeed.

“The message the Kansas coaches sent to me was that they wanted me to finish up strong and keep working,” Moore said. “I want to do all that. But I also want to be a leader for that program, too.”