Who doesn’t love a good homecoming? The Tigers have welcomed back a former blue chip in-state recruit in each of the past two transfer classes. First it was Mookie Cooper, and last year it was Nathaniel Peat. This year, it’s former 4-star defensive end Joe Moore III.
The former Cardinal Ritter star signed with Arizona State in the spring of 2020, and that’s where he’s spent the past three seasons. Moore racked up 3.5 sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss over the past two seasons after redshirting in 2020. Let’s take a look at what Moore can bring to the Tigers’ defensive line in 2023.
Where he’ll play: Finding full games of Arizona State over the past two seasons is nearly impossible, but I was able to watch all of Moore’s snaps against Oklahoma State. He lined up at left defensive end on every snap he played. That lines up with the Pro Football Focus data. Moore lined up at left defensive end on 542 of his 545 snaps last season, according to PFF. So, I think it’s a safe assumption to suggest that will be his role for Missouri.
Moore is a talented player, but I think he’ll benefit from Missouri’s coaching and scheme. The Tigers’ scheme allows defensive linemen to attack, and it felt like the Arizona State defense was a bit more on the “read-and-react” side of the spectrum. He’ll have to improve his pass rush plan, and I think he’ll be better utilized by Missouri’s blitz and stunt packages. Things were stagnant along Arizona State’s defensive line.
Moore does seem to hold up well against the run, and that’s something the Tigers will need with the Tigers losing so many defensive ends from the roster.
When he’ll play: Moore will be an instant impact player. The Tigers are losing Isaiah McGuire (515 snaps), Trajan Jeffcoat (414 snaps), DJ Coleman (371 snaps) and Tyrone Hopper (128 snaps) this offseason. They are hoping to replace those snaps with Northwestern transfer Austin Firestone, Joe Moore and Mizzou also has a couple internal options taking on larger roles in Johnny Walker Jr. and Arden Walker.
Can that group be as productive as the edge rushers from last season? That’s a big ask. McGuire is one of those players a team can’t replace one-for-one. But it’s possible the Walkers will add more juice off the edge than they had a year ago, with Moore and Firestone bringing some of the run stuffing ability Mizzou had in Coleman and Jeffcoat.
What it all means: Moore is still a relatively young player with two years of eligibility remaining, and there is reason to believe he’ll benefit from Missouri’s coaching and scheme. That said, his production to this point has not matched his recruiting profile. For comparison sake, Moore’s production last season was not all that dissimilar from Jeffcoat’s for Missouri. Replacing Jeffcoat’s snaps and production next season should be considered a “win.”
Missouri has a long and storied history with Homecoming, and the Tigers are leaning into those stories over the past few seasons.