Ryan Moody has never gotten discouraged or wondered if someone was sending him a message, which may be a triumph in itself.
After enduring multiple, potentially devastating injuries, William and Mary's gifted wide receiver pronounced himself 95 percent healthy and aims to help the Tribe finish on a high note in its final three games.
"Perseverance is something that's huge with me," Moody said Tuesday, as the Tribe (4-4, 2-3 CAA) prepares for Saturday's game at Rhode Island. "I love the game of football too much to give up on it."
Moody is practically a walking med school case study. He returned just five months after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in practice last spring. He subsequently tweaked a hamstring that sidelined him for two games, and returned for the Tribe's most recent two games.
"The hamstring feels like it's 100 percent," he said. "There are days when the knee is a little achy, especially now with the weather getting colder."
Two years ago, in the second game of his redshirt freshman season, Moody suffered a broken ankle, the ankle gruesomely twisting 150 degrees. He also broke the tibia and fibula, and he tore the deltoid ligament, putting him off his feet for a month.
Two months later, he was in an auto accident in which he broke his jaw, his right cheekbone and lacerated his spleen. His jaw was wired shut for a month.
But Moody was back on the field and doing full workouts the following February.
Moody's recuperative powers might qualify him as an honorary X-Man — a little like Wolverine, without the bad haircut and chronic snarl.
"I guess I'm blessed with a body that heals faster than others," he said.
As well as the determination to play. Tribe coach Jimmye Laycock said, "The trainers said his work ethic and the way he worked at it was relentless in rehab."
In between Moody's lengthy rehab stints was a superb redshirt sophomore year. He caught a team-high 47 passes for 731 yards and was named second-team All-CAA.
Moody's stats this season are almost negligible — just six catches for 113 yards in three games. Though he provided a glimpse of his ability in his first game back, versus James Madison. He made a nice play on a 3rd-and-19 throw for a 38-yard gain. He pulled down a 34-yard completion that got the Tribe out of a hole at its two-yard line.
"He runs great routes, he gets to his depths, he makes great cuts," Tribe safety Jerome Couplin III said. "He has a great way of tracking the ball, and he knows how to use his body to shield the defender. … If the ball goes his way, good things are going to happen."
Pleased as Moody is to be back, the season has been frustrating. He has spent far too much time on the sideline working to get back on the field. He's been unable to help a pass offense ranked eighth in the CAA at a meager 165 yards per game and that's last in completion percentage at 50.8 percent.
"This past year really hurt me a lot," he said. "I wasn't able to do as much offseason training to prepare for the season."
He said that he isn't as explosive as he was prior to the knee injury or as he needs to be. He said that his legs tire quickly. This coming offseason, he said, will be devoted to a lot of lifting and conditioning to strengthen his 5-foot-11, 175-pound frame.
"I think he has a chance to be a real good one," Laycock said. "He just needs to stay in the lineup and develop more consistency and get to the point where he's doing it day after day."
No one would like that more than Moody.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun