Image courtesy of JMU Athletics Communications
By Bennett Conlin
Finally. After hours of waiting through hundreds of picks, Jimmy Moreland’s name finally flashed across the screen.
With the 227th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins selected JMU cornerback Jimmy Moreland. The Florida native is a fan favorite. The undersized yet astoundingly productive corner caught the attention of those rocking purple and gold during his freshman season with the Dukes. He had 47 tackles, three interceptions, two fumble recoveries and a remarkable five blocked kicks. The legend started to take form.
Unfortunately, Moreland made a bad decision the winter after his first season. Moreland and two other Dukes were charged with petit larceny of less than $200 not from a person, and they were dismissed from the team months later.
The program saw head coach Everett Withers leave and Mike Houston come in. Houston allowed Moreland to work his way back onto the team, although it took time for Moreland to reach his peak.
His redshirt sophomore campaign saw a decrease in starts, pass breakups, fumble recoveries and interceptions. He was earning his way back, and things clicked in the postseason during the Dukes’ 2016 national title campaign. He had three pass breakups against Sam Houston State and Youngstown State and showed similar explosiveness to his freshman season. He was back.
Moreland only got better. His final two seasons in Harrisonburg saw him record well over 100 tackles, 13 interceptions and four interceptions returned for TDs. He went from being dismissed from the team to being one of the best defenders in the country.
It’s no surprise fans appreciate Moreland. Four years ago it looked like he might never play another snap at Bridgeforth Stadium. Instead, he put his head down, went to work, earned his way back and became the first JMU player selected in the NFL Draft since Earl Watford in 2013.
If you’re anything like us at JMU Sports News, you were glued to your TV screen or phone for much of the day, waiting to see where Moreland would land. After hours of frustration, fans rejoiced. Here’s what it was like to be a JMU fan on April 27, 2019, as told by JMU Twitter.
The early frustration
A team finally “effin” picks Jimmy “Effin” Moreland
JMU Nation reacts
One final thought
Throughout his career, Moreland has faced adversity. From being kicked off the team to having to make a name for himself despite being smaller than the prototypical NFL corner. He faces adversity again, having dropped to the seventh round of the draft. When Jimmy Moreland faces adversity, he normally responds extremely well. We have a hard time betting against him finding success at the next level.