Jay Moore was a three-sport standout at Elkhorn High School (when it was just Elkhorn!!!) graduating in 2002. Moore was on the 1999 Antler state championship football team, but his high school career was cut short by a knee injury midway through his senior season when the Antlers were ranked first in the state.
He was a full scholarship football player at Nebraska and was a three-year letterwinner at defensive end before being drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2007 NFL Draft.
We went Next Level with Moore earlier this week.
What are your earliest athletic memories: “I actually grew up in Paxton and we moved to Elkhorn when I was in 3rd grade. But I was just a normal kid. We played football and basketball and baseball and I loved it.
“We just did it all the way through high school. My parents were super supportive. They sacrificed a lot with travel. But whatever we wanted to do, we were able to do it.”
What was it like playing for Elkhorn and legendary coach Mark Wortman: “Obviously Elkhorn is a little different now with all the growth, but he is still going. It’s weird to hear he is changing from the I-formation this year.
“But he was a great man to play for. He was a great communicator and motivator. He always knew the right thing to say and he got the best out of you. He treated everyone so well.
“He was so detail-oriented. I remember he always wanted us to the best team at running our fakes. You had to do a fake at full speed in practice. He always wanted us running perfect plays.”
Moore was a rare sophomore starter on the Antlers 1999 unbeaten state title team. During his junior they lost to Crete in the semifinals and did the same his senior season when he was injured. He ran for 1,742 yards as a junior and 822 in five games (!!!!) before his senior injury.
“I still remember the play,” Moore said. “22 power. We were going in to score. Just planted my foot wrong.”
On playing at Nebraska: “It was my dream just like every kid that plays football. It was what I had wanted to do since I was little. To be honest, it was the best experience I have had in my life.”
Moore was a Senior on the 2006 that won the Big 12 North and lost to Oklahoma in the Big 12 final. He started 30 games in his Nebraska career recording 103 tackles, 38 tackles for loss and 12 sacks.
On the NFL: After Moore was drafted, he spent two years on the injured reserve with the 49ers with a broken ankle, then a torn bicep. He signed free agent contracts with the Rams, Titans but never made an opening Day roster.
“It was a crazy business. I never really got fully healthy. That Andrew Luck news hit close to home for me, I knew right where he was coming from. Football wasn’t fun for me.”
The New Grind: Moore, who works in corporate sales for Ideal Images in Lincoln, now fuels his competitiveness on the golf course. A low single-digit handicap, Moore has competed in several Nebraska Golf Association events and won the 2018 Lincoln City Championship by shooting a final round 64 to beat Creighton golf Nate Vontz.
“Stewart Bradley got me into golf when we were roommates (at Nebraska), Moore said. “I think I shot about 120 this first time I played. Stew could shoot in the 80s and I wanted to catch him. I just started saving all my per diem money to buy golf equipment.
“I just love it. I love practicing; chipping and putting. Hitting balls. The men’s grill at the course is like a football locker room. Getting in a little money game with the guys. Just grinding. I love the whole thing.”
A Message for a High School Football Player: “Embrace the opportunity of playing with your buddies. You never know this will be the last time you do things together. When things aren’t going well, remember you are playing with your best friends. My high school experience, was just phenomenal. It’s so much fun playing with the guys you grow up with. I loved it.”