VALRICO – Before a Friday night tilt, you can find Landon Moody sitting in his locker room playing Candy Crush and listening to hard metal music in his headphones.
The 2019 Bloomingdale linebacker has a special ritual and has helped him become one of the top players in the Tampa Bay area.
A season ago, the 6’1″, 210-pounder recorded 104 tackles, six forced fumbles, two sacks and two forced fumbles while serving as the quarterback of the Bulls defense at inside linebacker.
From his freshman to sophomore year, Moody spent his time at Jesuit transitioning from a defensive end to linebacker. His jersey number changed from No. 90 to No. 20 when he arrived at Bloomingdale, but Moody says plenty else was altered.
“I would say the difference between that guy was that he was an unproven newcomer,” Moody told Prep Sports Scouting. “No one knew how he was going to pan out. He has proven himself and shown what he’s capable of on the field. I think that people kind of know what to expect when they see him now.”
In terms of coaching, Moody pointed to the turn around in his guidance under Max Warner, an offensive-minded coach compared to his previous coach at Jesuit Matt Thompson, a defensive-minded guy.
Warner is a guy that Moody calls great to play for. Entering his third year at Bloomingdale, Warner owns a 13-8 record in two seasons on the sidelines.
“He [Warner] is a really good motivator as far as getting the most out of us and pushing us to our limits,” Moody said. “From an x and o’s standpoint, there really isn’t a better guy to battle against in practice. Especially being the Mike linebacker, I have to identify the stuff and I know he’s going to try to disguise in practice.”
Moody credits linebackers coach Bruce Gifford and defensive coordinator John Lima as two guys that have assisted him in his maturation at Bloomingdale.
“I had to step in as a leader right away and I think that was good for me,” he said. “It helped me move into a position where I was better with the team. The coaches were helpful with getting me situated.”
In his first year with the Bulls, Moody helped his group finish 7-4 and make a Class 7A region quarterfinal appearance.
“I think we knew that we were capable of making it to the playoffs. I don’t think many people around the area were expecting us to do what we did,” Moody said. “Especially after starting 0-2, we were down on it but we fought until the end of the season.”
In that region quarterfinal clash with Tampa Bay Tech, Moody totaled 15 tackles, a sack and an interception. He says he loved the playoff atmosphere.
“That was a fun game. Even in a loss, it was a fun game. Not the outcome we wanted. It was a 28-22 game within the last five minutes,” he said. “I put my all in it, going 100 percent on every play. I think this we are going to take that district championship.”
Speaking of battles, Moody chatted with me about facing current UF running back and former Jesuit star Malik Davis in practice during his time there.
“He [Davis] is by far the best player I’ve ever played with. Competing with him made me a better player. I called him out as many times in practice as I could,” Moody said. “I lost a lot of those one-one-ones but it definitely made me a better player.”
Football all started for Moody at the age of 8. He says he tried out for quarterback but didn’t fit there. He then moved to left guard and defensive end. In 5th grade, he transitioned to defensive end and that’s when he started loving football.
“I love the physicality and I love the strategy of it. I love how it is chess, not checkers,” Moody said. “It’s not a boring sport, every play you have to account for something different that you may not have been ready for.”
No offers have come yet for the rising senior, but Moody has drawn interest from Columbia, Brown, Harvard, James Madison, Central Arkansas, Western Kentucky and USF. He’s being recruited as an inside linebacker.
Moody pointed to his biggest strengths as his play recognition, pursuit and tackling. He’s aiming to improve his flexibility and lateral movements because he felt he was too stiff late last season.
As for role models in his life, Moody pointed to his dad Gary.
“My dad would be No. 1. He’s instilled a work ethic in me that I keep to this day,” he said. “Every day, he asks me how was practice? He’s always giving me tips and shows me how to be a person I want to be.”
Moody says he’s trying to at least play this process out and play college football.
“That is the goal right now. Then I want to use that as a stepping stone to get a great education,” he said. “I’m trying to use it to set myself where I want to be as an adult.”
Moody is a quick study. He has a knack for getting into good areas of the field whether that is as a rusher or cover man. He’s a naturally gifted linebacker and his body strength and awareness give him the ability to make plays throughout games. He’s a surefire Division I talent.
Favorite players to watch –Brian Urlacher, Ryan Shazier and Luke Kuechly
Favorite movies – The Lion King and Dumb and Dumber
Favorite TV shows – Game of Thrones
Fun fact that nobody knows – “I’m an Eagle Scout. Not many people know that.”
Game film: Moody’s Hudl tape
Photo credit: Payton Calhoun
Jake Perper is the founder of Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.