J.D. Moore hasn’t forgotten the triple digit number that LSU trainers bestowed on him four years ago when he arrived to Baton Rouge as a walk-on.
“One-thirty,” Moore smiled. “I’ll never forget that.”
He’s traded in that 130 for an 18.
Moore joins defensive lineman Christian LaCouture in donning the coveted No. 18 jersey this season, a tweak to the school’s decade-old tradition. It’s the first time that two players will share the No. 18, and it might not be the last, coach Ed Orgeron said.
It was LaCouture’s idea to share the jersey, and he delivered the news in a surprise to Moore and players during a team meeting Sunday night.
“I want J.D. Moore to wear it on offense,” Orgeron said LaCouture told teammates in the meeting. “Want to start a new tradition that two guys can where 18, if deservedly so.”
In the spring, LSU announced that LaCouture would wear the number. Both players are fifth-year seniors who fit the bill for a No. 18 candidate.
Bestowing the No. 18 on a veteran leader is an LSU tradition born in 2003 when quarterback Matt Mauck guided the Tigers to their first national championship since 1958. His number became synonymous with success “as well as a selfless attitude,” the school’s media guide notes.
Mauck passed the jersey to running back Jacob Hester, who helped the Tigers capture the 2007 national title. Each season since, a Tigers player has been voted to wear No. 18.
“Watching how J.D. works is something that I admire,” LaCouture said in a meeting with reporters on Monday night. “We push each other. We’ve been doing that since we got here. We came here together, and now we’re going to leave together.”
LaCouture said he discussed him sharing the jersey with coaches and other staff members. They all agreed on the move.
"Last night I was blown away," Moore said. "I was not expecting that. It’s just an honor. I’m super humbled by it. I think it’ll be a really strong thing for our team to have that leadership on offense and defense.”
Moore, a Ruston native who earned a scholarship a few years ago, is expected to play a new role this season in new coordinator Matt Canada's offense. The Tigers eliminated the fullback position, merging it with the tight ends to create more of an H-back role.
At fullback, Moore made three starts last year and had five the year before during two seasons plagued by injury.
"It says a lot about this team when you add two guys to the #18 club," tweeted Hester, who wore No. 18 from 2004-07.
Moore, an architecture major who has a 3.995 GPA, was a critical part of former running back Leonard Fournette's breakout 2015 season. Fournette, the fourth pick in April's NFL draft, called Moore his "flashlight" and raved about his blocking ability.
Moore is a well-liked and respected member of the team. Some LSU players openly campaigned for Moore to receive the No. 18 on social media this spring.
“I just feel extremely blessed,” Moore said. “When I came in I had a triple-digit number as a walk on. My number has changed many times over the years, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
LSU No. 18s
- 2000-03: Matt Mauck
- 2004-07: Jacob Hester
- 2008-09: Richard Dickson
- 2010: Richard Murphy
- 2011: Brandon Taylor
- 2012: Bennie Logan
- 2013: Lamin Barrow
- 2014: Terrence Magee
- 2015-16: Tre’Davious White
- 2017: Christian LaCouture, J.D. Moore