It could be 9 o’clock at night, Tank Bigsby said, when he’d peer out onto the field at the Auburn athletics facility and see Koy Moore out there working out.
He could be by himself. He could be out there catching passes from his fellow transfer, Zach Calzada. He’s speedy. He’s driven, so it seems. And if Moore has his way, those nights will be the story of one Auburn football star at the facility passing by Auburn football’s next star in the making.
Moore is Auburn’s new wide receiver transfer from LSU, who has gotten the fans excited — and the Auburn representatives at SEC Media Days certainly said they’re excited, too.
“The work,” Bigsby said, on what makes Moore a big addition. “I see him out there catching — 9 o’clock in the facility at night, catching balls by himself, doing drills, running routes with Zach Calzada. Just seeing him out there.”
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For Bigsby, it’s two-fold: For one, everyone’s fired up to see what Moore can do on the field as an individual addition. He was a four-star prospect coming out of high school, and he’s joining a wide receivers group that needed more weapons entering last offseason. Ike Hilliard was all about him from the start, apparently. Bryan Harsin told the story of Moore flashing his speed in one of his first practices with the Tigers, catching a pass on a short route then splitting the defenders to burn everyone and house it.
The other part of it is, for Bigsby, that work ethic is contagious — and that says something coming from Auburn’s top star.
“If you guys can be around someone and they’re working, if you’re a competitor and you see a guy out there get more attention, getting more stories and stuff, what are you going to say? You’re going to be like, ‘Oh, I need to be on my game,’” Bigsby went on. “That’s how it is on the team right now. When one guy sees someone working, they’re fixing to go work. That’s where I feel like we’ve worked so hard to get to this point.”
Auburn needs new talent at receiver and Moore could be a leading man. In the wide receivers room, only Shedrick Jackson and Ja’Varrius Johnson return with a healthy sampling of receptions and targets.
In two seasons at LSU, Moore caught just 27 passes for 248 receiving yards, but Harsin said Moore has a presence about him that he likes.
“I just like him as a person, first thing,” Harsin said. “I think the first day he was there, we ran a little inside slant, and he snatched it and just took off. So, everyone’s like, ‘Hmmm. Alright,’” Harsin smiled. “So, you’re like, ‘OK, that dude, he can move.’ But he’s just got — I don’t know — he’s just got a presence about him when he showed up. He was a guy that, we were on him for a while. Ike was all about him, and had been from the beginning, just really felt something strongly about him. We were fortunate enough to get him, when it was all said and done. He’s just got a presence about him.”
Harsin also said that, in his experience, transfers who’ve been in multiple places grow up fast — and he’s hoping Moore is bringing some additional life experience to Auburn while employing everything he learned at LSU and mixing it with everything he’s learning at Auburn.
Two of Auburn’s best quarterbacks ever, Cam Newton and Nick Marshall, both transferred in and made an instant impact, lending some credence to what Harsin said about transfer players being a bit more worldly and a bit more mature.
“I think he’s got a certain level of maturity that you feel just from transferring,” Harsin explained. “I think when you transfer, you grow up. You went one place as a high school player; for whatever reason, it didn’t work out. So, when you’re leaving, and a Zach Calzada or a Koy, or these guys come in, you grow up, because that first opportunity didn’t work out.
“Like, ‘OK that didn’t go as planned, so I’m not here to screw this one up,’ or, ‘I’m going to do everything I can to make this one count.’ So, you get guys, when they come in from the portal, you get guys that come in with a little bit more maturity to them, and he’s certainly one of them. I think he’s been a guy that’s been new, that’s been somewhat of a leader for us.”
That’s fine by Bigsby. That’s fine by Harsin.
When Auburn opens practice Aug. 5, the fans will be eager to hear what plays Moore can make as he tries to make an instant impact.
The coaches and players will be eager to see it for themselves, too.