Josh Moore has seen a lot. One of four children, the Olathe (KS) North junior was diagnosed with cancer at just 8 years old, as his mother worked tirelessly to keep the family afloat. Moore talks about the struggle and his subsequent rise as a Division 1 prospect with FOX Sports NEXT.
Josh Moore’s Twitter profile reads simply “D1 prospect. Cancer survivor.” After being diagnosed at 8 years old with the disease, the Olathe (KS) North junior wears the words like a badge of honor.
“I think about how lucky I am all the time,” he said, quietly. “I had a tumor on the back of my ear. I did radiation for like three months, and I had to do checkups for about three years. I was lucky enough to recover just fine.”
“I actually had to sit out of sports for a while because of it. But I was fortunate enough to come back.”
Since completing his treatments, Moore has thrived. Standing 6-foot-5, 255-pounds, the big tight end prospect is one of the most physically imposing players in the Sunflower League. Olathe North head coach Gene Wier has told the 2015 prospect he has the potential to play at the highest level.
“He sees me as a blocking tight end he told me,” Moore says of the Kansas high school legend. “It was pretty crazy. He told me he could see me playing in the NFL when it’s all said and done. It makes me excited to play even more.”
Moore caught 13 passes for 208 yards and 3 touchdowns for the Eagles in 2012. He also saw time on the defensive line, and takes great pride in his work at the defensive end spot.
“I’m not sure yet,” he said of where he might play in college. “I like both the same. I like scoring touchdowns the most, but I like getting sacks as well. I like it all. I think if I put on more weight, I’ll play defensive line.”
“Everybody likes to compare me to Braden Smith and Austin Chambers,” he said of the top two defensive linemen in the Sunflower League. “I think I had more sacks than them last year, but nobody knows it.”
Moore’s Twitter profile is set over a photo of LeBron James that bears the quote “Maybe my pain was my motivation.” The line holds a lot of significance for the Olathe North prospect.
“It’s pretty big to me,” he said. “I grew up in the inner city most of my life. I never had much. We were so poor my mom was working two jobs just so we could keep a house. Seeing her work like that, seeing her tired all the time hurts me. I always made promises and I still do, saying I’m going to take care of her one day.”
“Without football, I’m not getting into college. If I don’t get into college, I can’t take care of her. So playing football in college is a must for me.”
Moore watched his mother’s tireless efforts over the years to provide for the family. He watched as his two older brothers left for the Army four years ago, and as they headed to Afghanistan. All of it made the criticism he heard in 2012 sting even more, fueling his efforts in the weight room this offseason.
“People said I was a little lazy last year as a sophomore. I’m working pretty hard now, and things will be a lot better for me this year. I’m moving a little faster, got a little stronger.”
As his strength and conditioning improves, so should his blocking. With his size, Moore can be a major key to the Eagles’ ground game, something the perennial Kansas power is known for.
“I take a lot of pride in that,” he said of his blocking. “I’m trying to take care of my running back, Venus Triplett. It’s great to have a guy you can lean on that can carry the team. He’s always getting on me. I’m trying to make him happy with his yards in the game. He’s going to do his job, you’ve just got to do yours.”
Moore is early in the recruiting process, but several Big 12 programs are already showing interest in the big tight end. Kansas, Kansas State, and Oklahoma are all recruiting the 2015 prospect.
“Oklahoma is the biggest school,” he said of the programs he is hearing from. “I talked to the tight ends coach a couple of times. He asks how I’m doing, and if I’m coming down to visit.”
As he gears up for the Eagles’ season opener against hated rival Olathe East, Moore’s goals are simple.
“Trying to win state this year, that’s what my goal is. If we can go deep in the playoffs, I’d be satisfied, but I’m trying to win state this year.”