Plainfield North's Marcellus Moore runs the ball through Joliet Central's defense Wednesday, at Joliet Central High School. The Tigers defeated the Steelmen, 34-14.
Plainfield North's Marcellus Moore runs the ball through Joliet Central's defense Wednesday, at Joliet Central High School. The Tigers defeated the Steelmen, 34-14. — Eric Ginnard – eginnard@shawmedia.com

Marcellus Moore was definitely front and center last Saturday when he was part of a world-record 400-meter relay team at the Pan American U20 Championships in San Jose, Costa Rica.

And then just a week later, the talented sprinter and football player from Plainfield North was back on center stage when he announced his decision as to where he would go to college.

The Tiger' senior made it official on Saturday that he will be attending Purdue University to compete in both track and field and football at the Big Ten school that is located in West Lafayette, Indiana.

"Honestly, it was just the whole family environment," Moore said of his decision. "As soon as I stepped on the campus, there was just non-stop love throughout. It's a great school academically so anywhere I go after that, it will be great to have Purdue on the resume.

"Purdue has always been one of my top schools since it always showed me a lot of love and they're strong in both football and track and I can play football and run track there. So this is a true blessing."

Moore, a three-star prospect for football, is the 12th-ranked recruit in Illinois in the Class of 2020 according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. He chose Purdue from offers including Tennessee, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri and Illinois.

In the Pan American competition, Moore got the chance to run along with Arian Smith, Justin Ofotan and Matthew Boling in the 400-meter relay and the foursome made history by turning in a time of :38.62, which was :0.4 seconds better than the previous world record and easily broke the meet record.

Boling turned in a great performance by also winning titles in the 100 and 200 dashes and running a leg of a first-place 1,600 relay, which also posted a world-best time of 2:59.3.

"Overall, it was a really good experience since we ended up taking gold and breaking the world record in the 4x1," Moore said. "At first I really had no words to say, I was speechless afterward. But It was really awesome to represent my country, my state and my high school there. It happened late at night, but the people who were there were pretty excited.

"We were honestly shocked, especially because we didn't have a lot of practice going into the competition. We got two practices together and each were about an hour. So we didn't really go out and expect to break a world record but we definitely wanted to execute and come out with a win and the world record was the bonus."

Moore figures to be a major factor for Plainfield North and new head football coach Anthony Imbordino this fall but he won't be on to the track in the spring for the Tigers since he'll be graduating early. That will give him an earlier start to college studies and prepare him for the challenges of competing in Big Ten athletics.

Even though he won't have a fourth season in high school track, his accomplishments from his first three years stand up with some of the very best who've competed in the sport. He collected nine state medals at the IHSA Class 3A finals in Charleston, which included six state championships.

After placing second in the 100 dash and fourth in the 200 and the 400 meter relay as a freshman, he capped a phenomenal sophomore season by winning titles in both the 100 and 200 and also anchoring first-place 400 and 800 relays.

This past season, he got hurt late in the regular season but was ready for state and proved to be up to the challenge after repeating as the state champion in both the 100 and 200. Only five other individuals have won two-straight large-school division titles in those events in the last 100 years and just two others have accomplished that since the IHSA went to two classes in 1975.