Nate Moody believes that sometime in his future, he will look back and realize how special today actually is.
This morning, Moody will snap on his helmet for the biggest game of his career and try to help No. 1-ranked North Dakota State win its second consecutive Division I Football Championship Subdivision title when it meets No. 5 Sam Houston State at 11 a.m. today at FC Dallas Stadium in Frisco, Texas.
The 2011 Dickinson High School graduate said being back in Frisco and playing for another title is a surreal accomplishment he never expected when he joined NDSU as a preferred walk-on.
“I don’t really have words to put to it,” Moody said. “It was a great experience last year, it’s going to be another great experience. Hopefully I just realize, someday, what this actually is. Even last year isn’t all that realistic to me and even to a lot of other people. We’re still playing football.”
Moody, a 6-foot-1, 192-pound sophomore wide receiver has made a minor, yet unexpected impact in his first two seasons at NDSU.
Coming to NDSU almost certain he would redshirt his first season, an injury-plagued NDSU receiving corps thrust Moody into the action in the sixth game of the 2011 season.
“I came in with no expectations, honestly,” Moody said. “I had no idea what was going to happen. I had no idea what college football was like. After the first few weeks, they were saying maybe if people go down, you might be in. People went down.”
Moody was in every game from then on, catching seven passes for 68 yards and being used mostly to run plays from the sideline to quarterback Brock Jensen or as a blocker on run schemes, an aspect of his game in which he takes much pride.
“If we’re on a run play and we’re not going as fast as we are on a pass play, we won’t play,” Moody said. “Our coach is hard-nosed about that. We definitely run block really hard every play.”
This season, Moody has played much of the same role though his duties as a receiver have expanded a bit. He ranks fourth on the team with 18 receptions for 177 yards and two touchdowns.
“Right now, I’m definitely a role player,” he said. “I try to come in and do what I can do. Obviously Zach (Vraa) and Ryan (Smith) are our playmaking receivers right now. That’s somewhere we all want to get to someday. I’m just trying to help the team wherever I can, whether it’s run blocking, catching the ball a few times a game. I’m just making the most out of every opportunity.”