Penn State wide receiver Derek Moye grew up roughly 45 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh in Rochester. He chose between Pitt and Penn State during his recruitment process and now that the two teams are set to renew their rivalry beginning in 2016, Moye he simply wishes he could play in the games.
"For any kid from Pittsburgh coming here, I think it's a dream of theirs...at least mine...to go back and play for Penn State against Pitt in a sold out Heinz Field," Moye said Friday at the football team's Lift for Life fundraiser. "I think that would be a great atmosphere."
Alas, Moye, a senior, won't be on the Nittany Lion teams that face off against the Panthers in 2016 and 2017. Instead, he's focused on the task at hand, namely, helping Penn State improve on its 7-6 record in 2010.
After a quiet freshman season, Moye broke out as a sophomore in 2009, catching 48 balls for 785 yards and six touchdowns on a prolific offense led by then-senior quarterback Daryll Clark, and even as Penn State's offensive production slipped in 2010 with uncertainty at quarterback, Moye managed to improve on his numbers, catching 53 passes for 885 yards and eight touchdowns.
Those big stats have landed him on the watch list for the Biletnikoff Award, presented to the nation's top wide receiver, an accolade Moye is excited, but grounded about competing for this upcoming season.
"It's a great honor, obviously," Moye said. "At the same time, there's a lot of guys on there, so I've just got to go out there and hopefully have a good season, I guess, to live up to it."
Don't mistake that humble approach to a lack of confidence, though. Asked if he thinks he can be one of the elite receivers in the nation, Moye responded resoundingly in the affirmative.
"I always have the confidence in my abilities," Moye said. "I feel like when the ball's thrown to me, I show what I can do."
Moye has been participating in as many offseason 7-on-7 work outs as he's been able to, trying to balance football with a summer internship. In the fall, he'll be looking to lead what's expected to be a strong stable of wide receivers onto the Beaver Stadium field Sept. 3 against Indiana State.
The Lions will be without departed senior contributors Graham Zug and Brett Brackett. Moye is confident, however, in the ability of his teammates to step up and replace their production in 2011.
"I think, especially at the receiver position, we have a lot of guys...just some young talent, and they're going to be ready to step up and take Graham and Brett's place," Moye said.
He pointed to one sophomore receiver in particular as a guy with potential to jump in and contribute to the cause in 2011.
"I think once Brandon [Moseby-] Felder gets his opportunity to play, he's going to impress a lot of people," Moye said.
Here's some video of Moye talking to the media at Friday's Lift for Life event.