Back for Moore: Purdue's Rondale Moore is Feeling Good, Back to 100%

JD Arland

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue fans, you can stop holding your breath. Rondale Moore is back on the practice field this spring. After being crowned as the first true freshman consensus All-American in Big Ten history in 2018, Moore missed the last eight games of the 2019 season, and the Boilermakers struggled without him.

So it's great to have him back.

“I feel good. I’m at 100%,” Moore said Wednesday.

Rondale Moore at full health is a deadly offensive weapon. The New Albany, Ind., native broke two school records during his freshman year at Purdue — most all purpose yards in a season and most all purpose yards in a single game. 

That single game? His collegiate debut over Northwestern, where he racked up more 300 all purpose yards. Moore also tallied 14 touchdowns on the season, and had 1,258 receiving yards and an additional 213 rushing yards.

That was enough to earn him the Paul Hornung Award for the nation’s most versatile player. 

Sophomore wide receiver Rondale Moore had two huge games in 2019 before getting injured. (USA TODAY Sports)

He was supposed to have another record-breaking season in 2019, and it looked like act two in Week 1 against Nevada. Moore had 11 receptions and 124 yards. 

The next week, in the home opener against Vanderbilt, he had Ross-Ade Stadium on fire, making 13 catches for 220 yards, including a 70-yard catch and run.

But then the star wide receiver suffered a hamstring injury two weeks later, and he never got better. He missed the remainder of the season, and without him, Purdue struggled to a 4-8 record and missed a bowl game.

During  the offseason, he also dealt with a finger injury, and Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said that Moore would be “limited” in practice this spring.

In Moore's absence, David Bell stepped up and turned into a star, earning 2019 Big Ten Freshman of the Year accolades. Bell slid right into Moore's role as the go-to receiver for the parade of Purdue quarterbacks who played all year. Bell played through a shoulder injury that required surgery after the 2019 season concluded. He is projected to return to the lineup this fall, and the two of them on the field together already has opposing defensive coordinators scared to death.  

“This year we’ll be exciting to watch,” said Bell, who had eight touchdown catches last season.  

Sophomore wide receiver Rondale Moore had 13 catches for 220 yards in the home opener against Vanderbilt in 2019.

There is plenty of talent in Purdue's wide receiver room after Moore and Bell, but it's mostly young. Freshman Milton Wright (18 catches) and sophomore Amad Anderson (31 catches) played well last year, too.  Moore says he’s stepped up as a leader this spring to be a teacher to the fresh faces on the receiving corps.

“I think they took the role of wanting to learn. They've been asking questions, and I’ve been that guy to answer those questions,” Moore said.

Wide receivers coach JaMarcus Shephard says that Moore has been working on improving his game while he recovers. He’s picked up some new moves that Purdue fans could see soon, if not this spring, then certainly in the fall.

“He’s been learning some different techniques for getting thinner, decreasing surface area so that he can turn his shoulders faster out of breaks, and make himself more efficient as a route runner,” Shephard said Wednesday. 

A more dangerous Rondale Moore? Now that's a scary thought.