The Buckeyes signed defensive lineman Jason Moore out of DeMatha Catholic in Hyattsville, Maryland, which is the same school that produced former OSU All-American Chase Young.
Moore wasn’t quite a five-star recruit like Young, but he was ranked the No. 67 player overall and the No. 8 defensive lineman in the 2023 recruiting class. Despite comparisons to Young over the years, Moore projects to the interior even though he spent most of his high school career playing defensive end.
What To Like
There are many things that defensive line coach Larry Johnson looks for in a potential defensive tackle, but his favorite necessity may be the ability to rush the passer. That ability can also convert to disrupting the run as well. It’s mostly about getting into the backfield and creating havoc.
Jason Moore was a big defensive end at DeMatha, listed at 6-foot-6 and 260-odd pounds as a high school junior. (The clips below are from his junior season, save for the first few highlights from Buckeye Huddle that took place last year.)
Moore continued to add weight as a senior as well, making folks wonder if he would stay outside or end up inside. A similar thing happened with former Buckeye Dre’Mont Jones, who was a high school defensive end but grew into a tackle. With Jones, however, his status was still unclear when he enrolled due to a knee injury suffered during basketball season.
With Moore, the plan is already in place, and that plan will involve using his skill set as a pass rusher on the inside.
The Buckeyes have a history of defensive ends who grew into defensive tackles. Names like Darrion Scott, Kenny Peterson, Doug Worthington, Michael Bennett, Adolphus Washington, Jashon Cornell, and the aforementioned Dre’Mont Jones have all done it in some form or fashion.
Physically, standing 6-foot-6, Jason Moore resembles Cameron Heyward or Doug Worthington. Heyward stayed at defensive end during his OSU career, while Worthington moved inside despite being listed at 6-foot-7.
Taller defensive tackles can be a concern because “the low man always wins,” and Moore could have leverage issues against the run. He does a very nice job of slicing through an offensive line in order to stop the run, but because he is so tall, I am contractually obligated to mention that the leverage issue will be something to watch.
The Buckeyes aren’t overly deep at defensive tackle this year, so there could be some playing time available for Jason Moore if he is up to it. Playing time is one thing, but true freshmen making an impact at defensive tackle should almost never be expected.
Even though Moore dealt with guards routinely as a defensive end, learning all of the nuances of defensive tackle will take some time. Dealing with double teams and things like that aren’t easy, no matter a player’s quickness. He’s not going to win every snap count.
There is still plenty of work to do, but as long as he continues to show relentlessness like this, he’ll figure it out quicker than most.
The Bottom Line
Jason Moore will likely be playing the three-technique defensive tackle position, which lines up over the opposing offensive guard’s outside shoulder. Tyleik Williams and Mike Hall will get time there as well. Moore’s biggest competition for playing time will be fourth-year junior Jaden McKenzie.
Playing time early in games may be hard to find, but a handful of blowouts should give him ample opportunity to get on the field and grow. Larry Johnson is always looking for playmakers on the defensive line. They make every other area of the defense more effective. If Moore can do that for this Ohio State defense, then they will find snaps for him.
Moore was a June enrollee, so he is still getting his feet wet around the football facility. There will be a lot of catch-up, and then plenty of keep-up. If he can do both, then playing time won’t be too far behind.
Previous Closer Look editions
Quarterback Lincoln Kienholz | Wide Receiver Carnell Tate | Wide Receiver Brandon Inniss | Tight End Jelani Thurman | Offensive Lineman Vic Cutler | Offensive Lineman Luke Montgomery | Defensive End Joshua Mickens | Defensive Tackle Kayden McDonald | Cornerback Jermaine Mathews, Jr. | Cornerback Davison Igbinosun | Safety Ja’Had Carter