Tempe, Ariz. — Just as De’Vion Moore was about to find out Missouri’s postseason plans, his cell phone buzzed.
It was Iowa receiver Marvin McNutt, spoiling a surprise for the Tigers’ tailback.
“He just said, ‘It’s about to be fun,’” Moore recalled. “In high school, we talked about ‘What if we play each other?’ and now, here it is.”
Moore and McNutt will be on opposing sides during Tuesday night’s Insight Bowl, but the former high school teammates share a bond that transcends football.
“We definitely developed an on-field relationship as well as off-field,” McNutt said. “We had this little group. We all kind of had girlfriends that hung out with each other, so it was just easy to go double-dating and things like that.”
McNutt, the Hawkeyes’ leading receiver, was the starting quarterback at St. Louis’ Hazelwood Central High School.
Moore, the Tigers’ leading rusher, transferred to Hazelwood Central from Georgia after his junior year.
“The first day I met De’Vion, we had a seven-on-seven (practice),” McNutt said. “He definitely made himself welcome, because I threw him a ball and he juked the whole defense.
“When he did that it was like, ‘It’s time to bring him in and make him part of this family, because he’s a pretty good player.’ ”
Moore was soon a regular at the McNutt household, where Marvin’s mother cooked everything from hot wings to macaroni and cheese.
“Our thing hanging out was primarily between movies and couples dating,” Moore said. “We’d go to a friend’s house and play some pool. Go to Marvin’s house and eat.”
Together, McNutt and Moore helped Hazelwood advance to the playoffs.
“Marvin and a couple of his teammates were the first people I met,” Moore said. “They showed me things, showed me the city, and basically took me in as a brother.”
McNutt threw for more than 3,300 yards and 31 touchdowns during his career at Hazelwood.
Moore accounted for more than 2,000 yards from scrimmage, including 1,640 rushing.
Both earned all-state honors.
“It was a change in atmosphere, from Friday night games in Georgia to Saturday morning games in St. Louis,” Moore said. “But Marvin and the rest of the team helped me adapt really well.”
McNutt and Moore talked about going to the same college, but nothing worked out.
Instead, McNutt went to Iowa and switched to receiver in 2008.
He led the Hawkeyes this season with 51 catches for 798 yards.
“He’s athletic,” Moore said. “From baseball to basketball to football, Marvin could do it all.”
Moore is part of a three-back attack for Missouri, averaging 5.2 yards per carry and leading the Tigers with eight touchdowns.
“Me and De’Vion talked about one day playing in a bowl game,” McNutt said. “As soon as we got the message (about the Insight Bowl) we called each other.”
Moore was in a team meeting where coaches were getting ready to announce the matchup with Iowa.
“I sort of knew ahead of time,” Moore said, referring to McNutt’s message.
McNutt enters the Insight Bowl as Iowa’s most experienced receiver.
Moore is part of a balanced offense designed to stretch defenses.
Either one of them could make the decisive play on Tuesday.
“We knew we’d meet up sometime,” McNutt said. “There’s not a lot of times when you get to see your high school friends again, playing on the same field.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football