STILLWATER — The Oklahoma State receivers are sick of George Strait's music.
Thanks to Charlie Moore.
During the spring, the practice player of the day earned the right to pick the music for the next position meeting. Moore snagged that honor as often, or more, than anyone, meaning his teammates had to listen to — or suffer through — a lot of country music.
“As soon as (wide receivers coach Kasey Dunn) puts my picture up, everybody's heads just go down,” Moore said. “I get a lot of boos.”
Dunn doesn't mind those groans from teammates. He uses that story as the prime example of why he believes Moore can transition from OSU's spring finale star — where he exploded for nine catches, 243 yards and three touchdowns — to a receiver the Cowboys can count on to be one of Wes Lunt's top targets in 2012.
“Just because he showed up on the 15th practice, it wasn't a fluke,” Dunn said. “His face was up there as the practice player of the day (a large) amount of times. He was up there a bunch.”
And yet, Moore is still a virtual unknown. Because despite his breakout performance in April, he still enters this season with just seven career catches.
So who is the guy many coaches and players call Chuck?
Moore signed with OSU in 2009 as an “athlete,” a title given to recruits who could play multiple positions in college. Moore was a dual-threat quarterback for Bullard (Texas) High School, compiling almost 2,000 passing yards, more than 1,000 rushing yards and 39 total touchdowns his senior season.
Switching to receiver was an adjustment once he arrived in Stillwater, however.
He already had many of the tools. His size — he currently stands 6-2 and weighs 202 pounds — was ideal. Those constant games of catch as a quarterback gave him solid ball skills. And he was quick.
But running routes? He had never done that before. So he started studying receivers like Wes Welker.
“Learning what routes actually were and not throwing to them was a big challenge,” Moore said. “But I'm in love with routes right now. I can't quit watching them on film, I can't quit YouTubing them.
“I just want to see how to run better routes and I try to take them out to practice every day.”
Playing time was hard to come by in Moore's first two seasons, though, with Justin Blackmon, Josh Cooper, Hubert Anyiam, Michael Harrison and others around.
He had one catch against Louisiana-Lafayette, Kansas and Texas Tech last season when the game was already decided. His best moment came on special teams, when he used his speed to run down Kansas State's Tyler Lockett for a touchdown-saving tackle on a late kickoff return.
But with the Cowboys searching for playmakers at receiver in the spring, Moore began to emerge.
He made onlookers gasp with his ability to make hang onto the football while falling out of bounds or diving into the end zone. Cowboy cornerback Brodrick Brown said that if “spectacular catches” was a measurable skill in the NCAA Football video game, Moore should be rated a 99.
“He's one of those guys that has a knack for the ball,” said Brown, who is known as one of college football's top defensive backs. “He can catch the ball, no matter where it's at. The DB could bat it down and he'd still try to catch it.”
But a simple hitch route especially caught Dunn's eye.
“He caught it for about five or six yards, and then split the defense and outran everybody for a touchdown from the 50,” Dunn said. “That's the one that says ‘I'm different than other receivers.'
“Because there's a lot of guys that can catch that diving ball, but the guy that can catch that little intermediate 5-6-yard hitch and take it for 60-yard touchdown, you've got something going on.”
Cowboy fans know what happened next. A strong spring culminated with a dominant showing in the Orange-White game, leading to a couple hundred new Twitter followers and a more recognizable face and name around campus.
But the highlight of Moore's year came the following month, when he went to a camp in Colorado with Athletes in Action, a Christian sports ministry. There, he competed in physical challenges with other Division I athletes for almost 18 consecutive hours, finishing by carrying a cement block on his back up a mountain for about 1 1/2 miles.
“What I learned there has helped me on the field more than anything,” Moore said. “Just cut it loose. The Lord loves you no matter what you do. I can go into a game, I can step onto the field with the love that's greater than all, and I can just have fun and enjoy my teammates and love them.”
Though Isaiah Anderson is currently listed on the preseason depth chart as the starter opposite Tracy Moore on outside receiver, Charlie is expected to make an immediate impact this season.
And he's ready to become more than the spring splash.
“It's time to step up,” Charlie said. “I've had the blessing to be behind some great guys, and now it's time to see what I can do.”
Then the Cowboy receiving corps might really need to get used to Chuck's country playlist.