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Kansas State football fans only got to watch Briley Moore for one season, but he delivered more highlight catches during his time with the Wildcats than any other tight end in recent memory.
His best one came during his third game in a K-State uniform when he caught a pass from Will Howard on the right sideline and then rumbled 66 yards before getting tackled from behind for a huge gain that helped the Wildcats win a back-and-forth contest against Texas Tech.
But that wasn’t his favorite moment in Manhattan. Strange as it sounds, that play served as a wake-up call for how much physical improvement Moore still had to make before he could realize his dream of reaching the NFL.
“If I had been at this weight and this speed back then I would have scored on that play and made it into the end zone,” a noticeably leaner Moore said earlier this week. “Then it probably would have been my favorite highlight from last season.”
Moore has transformed his body since he played his final game with the Wildcats last December by losing 11 pounds — “all of it body fat” — while training in Phoenix with current NFL stars such as Odell Beckham Jr. and Saquon Barkley over the past few months. At 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, he looks almost like a different person. He is definitely faster and more agile in space than he used to be. But he still has more than enough size and muscle to help block on running plays.
“It was a much-needed transformation,” Moore said. “I did my training out in Arizona and when I first got there my goal weight was 245, but once I changed my diet and started eating healthier I set another goal for 240 and hit it. It was a tough transition, but once I got in a groove and saw the results I was able to stick with it. I am so much faster now than I used to be.”
That newfound versatility is one of the main reasons why he has been receiving more interest than he expected heading into this week’s NFL Draft.
Moore says he has spoken with 30 different NFL teams via Zoom and he has participated in one-on-one interviews with 19 different NFL tight end coaches. That means more than 90% of the 32 teams in the NFL have at least some interest in drafting him, and he’s holding out hope he will hear from the two holdout teams before the end of the weekend.
The Blue Springs native is expected to hear his name called in the late rounds of the draft or land with a team shortly after it ends as an undrafted free agent.
But he won’t make any predictions about his pro future. As long as he signs with a team by Saturday evening, he will be happy.
“Anything that comes before that is just a cherry on top,” Moore said. “There’s no point in me stressing over the next couple days about it.”
He is a compelling prospect. Before he transferred to K-State last season, he was an all-conference tight end at Northern Iowa. Then he proved himself in the Big 12 by catching 22 passes for 338 yards and three touchdowns last season. Best of all, he showed scouts he could block in a pro-style offense.
That’s something he rarely got to do before arriving in Manhattan.
Moore credits K-State coaches for turning him into a more complete player. That, combined with winning a game at Oklahoma last season, made for a memorable time with the Wildcats, even if it didn’t last very long.
“Oklahoma was my team growing up,” Moore said. “I had a cousin who played tight end there and that is where I wanted to go to school. But I didn’t even have a K-State offer coming out of high school, so that wasn’t going to happen. So to go into my childhood dream school and beat them on their home turf was a dream come true. It was almost unreal when it happened.”
Moore says that was his favorite game with the Wildcats.
But what was his favorite highlight? What moment topped that 66-yard catch he made against Texas Tech?
“It was probably giving Coach (Chris) Klieman a hug on senior day and running out onto the field for the last time,” Moore said. “I was obviously only there for one year, but the appreciation I have for K-State and for Coach Klieman and how he runs a program is unmatched. I am so grateful I was able to play for him and develop into the player I am today.”