• Joe Broback

Will Rondale Moore ever return to Purdue?

Uncertainty has plagued the 2020 college football season. As I’m writing this, five college football games have already been canceled for Week 11, and that number should only grow as the week progresses. COVID has made a big impact on the season, and added more questions to the season than answers. Purdue’s experienced that already when their game against Wisconsin was canceled, but that hasn’t been the focus for Boilermakers fans. It’s the absence of a big name that’s the talk of the program.

Rondale Moore opted out of a potential spring football season earlier this year, only to opt back in when the Big Ten announced it would play in the fall. If you’ve followed Moore’s story, you understand the excitement fans all over the country displayed when he announced that he’d play. Yet we haven’t seen him on the field, and we don’t know why. Jeff Brohm provided a little clarification for his star receiver’s absence today.

While this tells us a little about Moore, we still don’t know the exact details of his absence.

When it was announced that Moore wouldn’t play in the first game without explanation, rumors spread like wildfire. Questions about his decision to return and then not play were at the top of the talking points, but it turns out he was dealing with an injury. Moore hurts himself last year against Minnesota when he tried to cut and his leg buckled underneath him. His return was the talk of the program, but it’s been a weird year in terms of his status. In September, he did an interview with The Draft Network’s Jordan Reid, and stated that he was ready to go and better than ever. So what changed?

Moore himself has not been available for comment through the first three games, making this situation interesting. Is this a setback from his injury last year? Did he sustain a new injury in the offseason? We don’t really know and might not know until he actually plays. Purdue could have used a healthy Moore last week, and they’ll certainly take him whenever he’s ready.

Purdue came up short against Northwestern this weekend, and you’d have to wonder if the outcome would have been different with Moore in the lineup. Moore’s a do-it-all kind of player, and draws comparisons to many playmakers before him like former Oklahoma State receiver Tyreek Hill and former West Virginia receiver Tavon Austin. His skillset gives the Boilermakers a game changer, but also complements their other talented receiver as well.

Sophomore David Bell broke out as a freshman, and wasted little time doing the same this year. He leads Purdue in receptions, yards and touchdowns this year, but facing a little less pressure would do wonders for him. Moore gives Bell more freedom in the offense simply because defenses now shift most of their attention towards Moore. Given what’s transpired this offseason, Brohm and the offensive staff might reduce the number of times he touches the football, something that would help prolong his health and spread the ball around more.

Rondale Moore’s return to football brings a multitude of positives with it. His presence alone changes gameplans for both Purdue and the team’s they’re facing. It’s been strange to not see him play, but even more bizarre about how things have gone down. It could be that Brohm’s trying to protect his star player and the injury is something they want to keep undisclosed. Rushing Moore back at this point seems unnecessary, and only puts him at further risk if he isn’t 100% healthy. With the opportunity to come back again next year without losing a year of eligibility, it might be that the Boilermakers and Moore wait another year. It’s a weird situation, one that fans want clarity on sooner rather than later, but for now we wait for our answers.