Jason Moore Provides "Ideal" Skill Set Off the Bench At Three-Technique Defensive Tackle for Ohio State

By Andy Anders on May 23, 2024 at 8:35 am
Jason Moore

In an offseason with an Ohio State defense receiving more hype than a new Star Wars movie, one defensive lineman was singled out by Larry Johnson for taking the biggest leap in his position room.

Fresh off his first spring in Columbus after arriving as a heralded freshman last summer, Jason Moore is locked into a defensive tackle role full-time and ensuring that his presence is known on the interior.

“He’s 6-5. He’s (305) pounds. He’s the ideal three-technique in our system,” Johnson said in March. “It’s just a matter of him having confidence and playing. Sometimes you get here, it’s bigger than you think it is. It can kind of set you back. Now, in the spring, we’re challenging him and that’s what I’m telling him. Every day is a good day for Jason Moore. ... There’s a lot of guys doing well, we really like what’s going on right now. But the guy that’s making a jump is Jason Moore.”

Hailing from the same high school as Chase Young in Maryland’s DeMatha Catholic, Moore came to Ohio State with plenty of pedigree as a top 70 prospect and top 10 defensive lineman in the 247Sports composite rankings.

Defensive ends typically get the most flash and accolades as defensive line positions go, usually the ones responsible for the largest share of quarterback sacks and tackles for loss. That might be why many coaches told Moore that’s where he’d play in college. A 6-5 frame and wide wingspan is enough length to be a force off the edge, after all.

“During my high school career, I kind of believed I was gonna play the edge, but through the (recruiting) process, Coach J, he was the only coach that kept it real with me,” Moore said. “He told me that I might grow into being a typical three-tech. As the years went by, things worked out. He was right.”

But as stated above by Johnson, that length goes from solid to outstanding when moving inside a spot to three-technique defensive tackle. Separation from offensive linemen is key for getting eyes into the backfield and making plays on rush downs or creating space for moves on pass rush downs, and it’s easier to separate with a reach advantage. It’s called “stack and shed” for a reason.

That’s why Moore echoed Johnson’s sentiments about three-technique making sense for him. Now up to 305 pounds, he’s got the bulk to handle punchier blockers at guard, too.

“Of course, my size is a factor,” Moore said. “My length – it’s kind of unreal to see a guy my size at three-tech, especially my arm length. There’s so many tools that you can (use) to be the best person on the field. ... Just coming off the ball, being able to create space, make that penetration. Being able to build off of that, so many different moves, different skills you can do.”

Of course, there’s more to playing defensive line than being big. Moore learned that quickly while playing scout team as a freshman.

“I feel like it’s not just size once you get here,” Moore said. “That’s one thing I realized, it took me a long time to process, you’re going against grown men out here. (Offensive guards) Donovan Jackson, Matt Jones last year, that’s way different than anybody in high school. It’s more than just size that you need to get past them. It’s more technique, knowing the play, knowing who’s around you.”

Moore isn’t slated to start yet with returning starters Tyleik Williams and Ty Hamilton occupying the two spots atop the depth chart on the interior. But with a potential 16-game national title run on the table – or 17 if a Big Ten Championship Game loss is included in the pack – Ohio State will need to play depth and has stated an intent to do so.

There have also been talks from defensive coordinator Jim Knowles of a “double eagle” package featuring five defensive linemen with three defensive tackles and either Jack Sawyer or JT Tuimoloau playing a standup outside linebacker position against heavier offensive fronts.

“We have our top four guys, they came in (to this season) solidified with what they can do,” Moore said. “They could have gone to the draft this year but they wanted to come back, do what they do, what they had to do. Our goal is to beat the Team Up North, win the (national) championship and we know we can’t do it just with them. You need guys to come in, get them subs when they need it so they can be the best when they’re on the field.”

"He’s the ideal three-technique in our system."– Larry Johnson on Jason Moore

Hero Kanu and Kayden McDonald are competing with Moore for snaps behind Williams and Hamilton. McDonald is likely a factor at nose guard, though, more so than three-technique.

“They (the backups) have gotta be able to come in and play 25, 35 plays a game and do it early in the season,” Johnson said. “That’s the plan, get those guys ready for the long haul. And so they’ve gotta play early, they’ve gotta play often.”

As with the rest of his position room, Moore is focused on his development as the offseason progresses. If he gets where he desires, though, he presents a unique weapon off the bench for Ohio State in 2024.

“Just coming in every day and going to work, going as hard as I can,” Moore said. “Make myself better, make my teammates better, make the O-line better. Just doing extra things on the side too, extra work. Our whole D-line is like that, coming in, getting extra work in on the side.”

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