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Maryland WR D.J. Moore declares for NFL Draft

The Terps’ biggest star is off to the pros.

NCAA Football: Maryland at Rutgers Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

After putting together one of the most productive seasons ever by a Maryland wide receiver, D.J. Moore is going pro.

Moore will forgo his last year of college eligibility and enter the 2018 NFL Draft, he announced Tuesday.

The Philadelphia native came to College Park as a high three-star prospect, and he improved drastically every season. In Moore’s freshman campaign, he finished second on the Terps with 25 catches for 357 yards and tied for the team lead with three receiving touchdowns. As a sophomore, Moore was Maryland’s undisputed top target, catching 41 passes for 637 yards and six scores.

In 2017, Moore made an even bigger leap. His 80 receptions and 1,033 yards led the Big Ten, and his eight touchdowns tied for fourth. Those numbers earned him all-conference first team honors, and he was named the Big Ten’s top wide receiver at season’s end. Moore’s signature performance came on Oct. 14 against Northwestern, when he tallied 210 yards and two touchdowns on 12 catches.

He did all of this with more turbulence at quarterback than should be possible. In Moore’s three years, Maryland rolled out nine different quarterbacks; he caught passes from eight of them. This season, he became the first Power 5 wideout to finish with 1,000 receiving yards on a team with no quarterbacks reaching 1,500 passing yards since Hakeem Nicks at North Carolina in 2008.

His draft situation reminds many Maryland fans of Stefon Diggs, whose talent was clear but who never had a stable quarterback situation (Diggs also dealt with injuries in college; Moore was as durable as they come). Diggs was a fifth-round pick of the Vikings in 2015 and has become a key cog for a first-place team. Moore has a different skill set, but he’s definitely an NFL talent.

Scouts’ evaluations of Moore are currently varied. ESPN’s Mel Kiper ranks him as the No. 2 receiver in the draft behind Alabama’s Calvin Ridley, while CBS Sports doesn’t have him as a top-100 prospect. Moore has over four months to make a name for himself, and if his rise at Maryland is any indication, his professional future is bright.