HOUSTON - From Missouri City to Mizzou-rah, Houston native J’Mon Moore returned home to play his final collegiate football game for the Texas Bowl at NRG stadium.
Moore said Houston is where he got his start, and “this is where I’m going to finish it.”
“It’s a blessing for me to be able to be in my hometown and play in front of all of my family and my friends for my last game in that Missouri uniform," he said. "I’ll be able to talk about that for the rest of my life.”
His mother, Betty Jones, said she is overjoyed she gets to see Moore take the field in black and gold one more time.
Jones remembers her son's signing day.
“Oh my gosh. He was just so excited," she said. "He had the little tiger-striped socks on, the bow-tie, the cap. He was suited. You couldn’t tell him anything, and he was finally off to begin his journey.”
Jones dropped Moore off to school, leaving him on his own for the first time. She said he was so young, and she wasn’t ready to let go. Now, she said, she’s proud of how far he’s come, and is looking forward to his final game.
Just a few months ago, Moore’s family and the entire city of Houston was underwater after being hit by Hurricane Harvey, a category 4 storm.
Moore took to the stadium with the Texas flag the following Saturday, running across Faurot Field in support of his hometown.
Moore said he was overjoyed by the opportunity to represent the people back home with the flag, and that it was his way of letting Houstonians know he was there with them in spirit.
Moore said he’s proud of his city and was truly thankful to see its people work together in the disaster.
“You don’t see people coming together the way Texans did. Us Texans, we just looked out for each other and, even though you know it got bad, I’m glad that everyone looked out for each other," Moore said. "Running out with that flag was just, a great feeling. It was a blessing,"
He’s said he's thankful for the opportunity his teammates gave him to represent his state, but his mother said it meant more to her than it did to him.
“God, I cried when I saw him with the flag,” Jones said.
She recalls the days after Hurricane Harvey hit when Moore called her to check-in.
She said he asked, “Do I need to come home and take care of things?”
Jones said she is thankful for the experiences Mizzou provided her son.
Moore said leaving Texas forced him to grow up in ways that his mother couldn’t help him with because she couldn’t give him the same experiences.
“It’s helped me to grow into a player, as a person, and has shaped me into being a more responsible young man,” Moore said.
His former high school football coach, Dennis Brantley, said Moore was one of his favorite athletes. Brantley said he encouraged discipline and sportsmanship in Moore, on and off of the football field.
Brantley said his job wasn’t just to win championships, but to develop young men, and he believed he succeeded with Moore.
“When you see a kid develop from a knucklehead freshman and a hard-head sophomore and then become what he is today as a leader on the team, that performed at a very high level, as well as getting his degree, makes him very proud.”
Brantley said Moore has matured significantly.
“He’s the exact version of the young man I always knew he could be,” Brantley said.
Moore said he thinks he has found his purpose.
“I feel like my purpose is to play this sport," he said. "To play football, to do what I love doing.”
Pat Ivey, the former director of athletic performance said Moore has the skill set for professional ball.
“J’Mon definitely has the potential to play in the NFL,” he said.
Moore said he has league dreams, and his mother said, after the bowl game, she and her son will be working together to move towards preparation for the NFL.
But Moore said, when the lights go off and the jersey’s hung up, he wants to be remembered for more than just football.
“Once I’m gone and when people bring up my name, I want them to be able to say good things about me, outside of football,” he said.
Moore said he wants people to take note of his leadership and work ethic, someone who worked hard and the team loved being around, who brought light to the team.
“I want to be known as a positive person all around, in and outside of football,” he said.
Moore said he’s ecstatic about his final collegiate game in his black and gold gear, and is looking forward to re-living the joy he experienced running across the field with the Texas flag.
He'll be doing that one last time Wednesday night at 8 p.m. at NRG Stadium.