STILLWATER — Justin Gilbert always liked to play a little trick on Oklahoma State's newbie defensive backs.
As the rookies sized up Cowboys receiver Charlie Moore — always unappreciatively — Gilbert nodded and waited for the kids to be abused.
“The new guys who come in, they'll be like, ‘Charlie's not fast,'” Gilbert said. “I'm like, ‘OK, we'll see.'
“I never tell them. And he blows by 'em.”
You'd think the word would have gotten out by now, with Moore into his senior season of a productive career. And what a year it's been, with Moore racking up big catches.
There was the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter against Kansas State, the game that kick-started a seven-game winning streak, carrying the Cowboys to the top of the Big 12.
The clinching touchdown at Texas, a demonstrative 38-13 win in Austin that stamped OSU as legit.
A second-quarter score last Saturday, sending the Cowboys in front by two scores against Baylor.
And also the connection of a lifetime last month, when he popped the question to Kailey Anders, getting engaged with a marriage date set for March 22.
So it's been a good fall for Charlie Moore, in so many ways.
“I graduated in July,” Moore said, “so I'm taking some easy online classes. I get to really enjoy this season and my last semester here and not really worry too much about schoolwork.
“As far as my season, a lot of people are making plays, sometimes I'm on the end of those receiving big plays. But it's a credit to the game plan and the coaches.”
Moore doesn't draw the most targets on this Cowboys team; those go to Josh Stewart and Tracy Moore.
Yet he's definitely a go-to guy — on and off the field.
Regularly turning his Stillwater home into a source for faith and food, Charlie Moore said he enjoys playing host.
“My house has been an awesome place to live my couple of years there,” he said. “On Monday nights, we have a big bible study. A lot of the guys come over. And on Thursday nights, I'll have the receivers over and I'll cook.
“We just kind of pig out before the big game. I love cooking steaks. I love the grill.”
A former high school quarterback from Bullard, Texas, Moore finally produced a breakout as a receiver a year ago, catching 35 passes for 542 yards and six touchdowns. This season, he's pushing to surpass those numbers, already with 30 catches, 388 yards and five scores with two games to play.
And he keeps doing it to the surprise of defenders.
“Charlie doesn't look the part of a top-five Big 12 receiver or anything like that,” said Tracy Moore, “but he's definitely underrated, because he's a lot better than people think.
“They definitely underestimate him. And they pay for it.”
Gilbert's take on what makes Charlie Moore so good: good hands and disciplined routes.
And the speed.
Gilbert, the self-professed top sprinter on the team, says Moore ranks among the Cowboys' fastest.
“I think he'd be at least top seven,” Gilbert. “Me, Miketavious (Jones), Ashton Lampkin, Kevin Peterson, Daytawion Lowe, maybe Charlie.”
OSU's fastest receiver?
“It might be pretty close between him and Jhajuan Seales and Brandon Sheperd,” Gilbert said. “That would be a pretty close race.”
Whatever Moore's secrets are, he keeps coming up with big catches.
Like the time last summer when took a break from offseason workouts for some fishing in Rockport, Texas, on the Aransas Bay, an arm of the Gulf of Mexico. With their limit of red snapper already caught, Moore and his pals turned their focus to shark fishing.
Pretty soon, Moore was wrestling a 7 1/2-foot, 250-pound beast.
“It was a monster,” he said. “I got to fight it for about 25 minutes. It was like pulling up a car off the bottom of the ocean. But it was fun.”
Once the shark was conquered, Moore sought a closer look.
“I wanted to get it in the boat,” he said. “A bunch of the guys, they usually just bring it close to the boat and cut the line. I was like, ‘No, let's get it up.'
“This other guy I was with is a pretty macho guy, so he was definitely all in. So I gaffed him and we drug him up in and slid him on the boat, got a cool picture and pushed him off.”
Moore's other catch — the future Mrs. Moore — is a keeper.
She was a standout soccer player at Arkansas whose roommate dated Moore's brother. That's how they met.
“We hit it off from there,” he said.
During the Baylor game, after another of Moore's big catches, former Cowboys baseball player Jason Hursh delivered a message to all the girls on Twitter that his pal was, unfortunately, taken.
“My fiancé thought it was funny, too,” Moore said. “She let me know before I even saw it. I think she retweeted it, with a little comment. That's fun.”