He cites the 10,000-Hour Rule from Outliers, which holds that greatness requires the investment of massive amounts of time. Moore, it turns out, has been investing since at least the second grade. For show-and-tell, recalls Kris, he would draw a play on the whiteboard: "He'd tell the class, 'This is what the [Prosser] Mustangs are going to be running this week.'"
"He'd answer questions," adds Tom. "And he knew what he was talking about."
They recount a childhood that was custom-designed, it seems in retrospect, to turn him into a savant at reading defenses. Every day during football season he and Kirby would go from the elementary school to their dad's football practice, where they served as ball boys and mascots. By the time he was in sixth grade Kellen was doing drills with the varsity quarterbacks.
After games the coaches would gather at someone's house to watch film. Kellen tagged along. "He'd always have a little notepad with him," says Tom. "He was always drawing plays."
Kellen was a good-sized high school sophomore: 5'11", 155 pounds. "He grew fast," says Kris, with a wry smile, "and then he didn't grow again." That year he beat out a senior for the starting job. There was some muttering about nepotism, Tom recalls, until the season opener, when Kellen threw three touchdowns in a win over Mercer Island High, a much bigger school. "And that took care of that," says Tom.
In his final two seasons Kellen called his own plays. His father's only request was that he shout the audibles, "so I would know what was going on."
Kellen's junior year, the Mustangs took on nationally ranked Bellevue High. In Prosser's victory, Kellen threw six TDs—three of them to Kirby. A DVD of that game found its way into the hands of Justin Wilcox, who at the time was Boise's defensive coordinator. Wilcox became a lonely voice in the Broncos' football offices, advocating for Moore. I'm tellin' ya, this kid can PLAY!
Most college coaches who'd fallen in love with the quarterback they saw on film became strangely mute upon meeting him in person. "They'd stand up and shake his hand, and you could see it register," says Tom. While no one flat out told the Moores, "He's too short," they didn't have to. "They just never called back," Tom says.
Still, Moore had offers from Eastern Washington and Idaho, and things were looking up with Oregon State. Beavers coaches had invited him to work out for them to Corvallis. But when he got there, coach Mike Riley and quarterbacks coach Danny Langsdorf "took the 10 quarterbacks who were 6'3"," according to Tom.
Kellen and the other quarterbacks were instructed to go to another field, where "a couple of graduate assistants basically told them, 'You guys just sort of play catch,'" says Tom.