"He'll look right at a defender, and go elsewhere with the ball," marvels Broncos nickelback Hunter White. "He's throwing to another receiver while he's staring at you. Try reading that."
"Rare accuracy. Rare pocket presence. Rare production," says one NFL scout. "Unbelievable kid. He slows the game down. He has the it factor—whatever you want to call it—that everybody's looking for."
Note that, while no one uses the word, everyone is talking about Moore's brain.
"He's a cerebral guy with an amazing football intellect who's been doing this forever," says Broncos senior wideout Tyler Shoemaker. "He ran a similar offense for his dad in high school. So when he got here, he had an easy transition."
Tom Moore won 21 league championships and four state titles in 23 seasons at Prosser High before resigning in March 2009 so that he could watch his sons play. Kirby Moore is a 6'2" Broncos sophomore receiver whose 95 touchdown catches at Prosser set a national high school record.
"My dad always wanted to talk about the big picture when he taught players," says Kellen. "It was never just, 'You run a hitch route.' It was more like, 'You run a hitch, and here's why you're running it and how it complements this other route. Here's how this coverage works, and what are its strengths and weaknesses.' He didn't just want to teach you your assignment. He wanted to teach you football."
His eldest son was eager to learn.
He still looks boyish, with the easy grin and mop-top 'do, but Kellen Moore has taken some adult steps this year. In July he married Julie Wilson, a former Prosser High three-sport athlete and valedictorian. The two had been dating since she was a senior and Moore was a sophomore at Prosser. The wedding was at the St. Regis in Park City, Utah. Moore's bachelor party consisted of four hours taking bobsled, skeleton and zip-line rides. The boys all came back with raccoon eyes, recalls Kris Moore, Kellen and Kirby's mother.
Moore is also working on his master's in kinesiology. And this fall he's immersed in an independent study project with left tackle Nate Potter. They're steeping themselves in the subject of "what highly successful people do to become successful," says Moore.
Among the books he's read on this topic: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and Talent Is Overrated by Geoff Colvin. Moore's preliminary conclusion: "There's no magic. A lot of times there's this misconception that people are just given this talent, that they never had to work hard to get where they are." Their common denominator, he says, is the willingness to submit to "that grueling, grinding, not-fun task, and to do it over and over. That's what successful people do."