Coming into his senior season, East Lansing defensive lineman Patrik Moriarty became a bigger, stronger and smarter player.
He grew into his body and put in the work away from the field to become the most dominant player on the defensive side of the ball in the mid-Michigan area this year.
Even in a league with terrific running backs such as LSJ Dream Teamers Ja’Von Wray and Avonte’ Bell of Sexton, all-area selections in Holt’s Ty Glover and Eastern’s E.J. Jackson and others such as Jackson’s Isaac Coppage and former LSJ Dream Teamer Joe Reverman of Grand Ledge, Moriarty was the guy teams planned for.
“I personally know Ja’Von Wray from camps and stuff, and it was awesome going against him and such talented players,” Moriarty said. “That would also motivate me in practice. That would be the main guy I’d want to get and not let any of the running backs run past me. That would be my thought.”
“He was a consistent disruptive force defensively for us,” East Lansing coach Bill Feraco said of Moriarty. “In talking with the other coaches as we went through the season and before the season, they were glowing in their comments in the way he played and the way he came to play.”
Feraco also glows about Moriarty’s motor and the ability to not take a play off. But Feraco remembered him as “gangly” when first watching him play.
Growing from around 200 pounds into a 240-pound senior gave him the physicality he needed to go along with the tremendous effort he already possessed.
“I felt more confidence in myself on the line. A 195-pound defensive end is not really something to be afraid of,” Moriarty said. “Going in at 240 my senior year, I felt more empowered and confident in myself. I felt stronger overall.”
Moriarty also matched his budding physical strength with tremendous attention to detail. Feraco mentioned Moriarty as an instinctual player, but some of those instincts were developed through heavy studying.
“He did very well reading the man he was playing over, but he studied film and that’s the big thing and it’s a thing that is often lost on young players — high school players with study and film work — and he did that,” Feraco said.
Feraco was impressed when the two spoke about the film work after the season for one-on-one meetings.
“He was telling me about the different reads he got off his film study. He understood when the guy he was playing over might be setting to pass block or run — and not only run, but when he went to step outside or to try and reach inside. He was a student of the game and grew into a heck of a player, physically and mentally,” Feraco said. “The combination of all those things resulted in the product that there was this fall.”
Moriarty, who finished with 56 tackles, including 10 for losses, four sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries, is getting interest from several Mid-American Conference schools to play defensive end next season.