NEW PALESTINE — His team is No. 1 in the state.

He is No. 1 in the country.

New Palestine junior right tackle Ian Moore (6-feet, 6-inches, 290-pounds) has been one of the key players in helping lead the Dragons to a 4-0 start and No. 1 ranking in the state’s Class 4A Associated Press and Indiana Football Coaches Association polls.

According to scouting website, Moore is the No. 1 ranked junior offensive tackle in the nation.

Colleges have been able to contact Moore directly since Sept. 1 and they have not been shy.

Once midnight hit on Sept. 1, Moore’s phone began blowing up.

He said all the text messages woke him up about 3 a.m. When he got up at 6 a.m., to get ready for school, he was amazed by what he saw on his phone.

“Once Sept. 1 hit at midnight, I think I counted 56 text messages from midnight to 6 a.m.,” he said. “Once that first day hit all heck let loose. I was anticipating (interest) but when I woke up I wasn’t anticipating it that much. It was a lot more than I thought I would get.”

It’s calmed down from that first day, but the interest has been coming for quite some time.

Prior to Sept. 1, schools would go through New Palestine head coach Kyle Ralph to talk with the 4-star recruit. Once COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, schools could also come and watch Moore and other players work out.

Through it all, Moore has received 23 scholarship offers. Others that haven’t offered are still communicating with the New Pal tackle.

Moore said, at first, the attention was a little overwhelming. He’s trying to balance school work, football practice and family time along with talking with interested coaches.

He said from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. he’s concentrating on school. From there it’s off to football practice until a little after 5 p.m. He goes home, spends time with family and from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. he tries to reach back out to college coaches and take care of his homework.

The big Dragon said he plans on making a choice during the current football season. His top five are currently Oklahoma, which has yet to offer, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin and Ohio State.

Ralph said when college coaches were first allowed to get back out to visit high schools the offers started flowing.

They weren’t just coming to look at Moore. Earlier this year, senior left tackle Luke Burgess committed to Louisville. Senior wide receiver Isaiah Thacker chose Ball State. Sophomore defensive tackle Michael Thacker, Isaiah’s younger brother, already has offers from Tennessee and Ball State.

But, they were all big on Moore.

That first winter workout, one college coach didn’t take long to let Ralph know he was seriously interested in his junior right tackle.

Ralph said coaches began showing interest when he put Moore’s highlight tape out. But, not until this past winter, due to COVID-19, were coaches able to see players in person.

“(A coach from) West Virginia came to our winter workout in the morning, a couple other schools were there, too,” Ralph recalled. “I told him the kid in a white cut-sleeve shirt is the one you’re going to want to look at. He, literally, walks into the door frame sees (Ian) standing there, watches him for, probably 30 seconds, turns around and says, ‘I am not leaving today without offering that kid.’ He was there 30 seconds. They saw the film but they hadn’t seen anyone in person.

“That same day, I think Bowling Green and Western Michigan offered on the spot and then it was an avalanche of scholarship offers.”

Ralph and offensive line coach Dan Buchanan said both knew Moore had that kind of potential when they saw him in a freshman basketball tryout.

Moore had moved to New Palestine from Flora (near Fort Wayne) in the second semester of his freshman year.

“You get a lot of kids that young and they are extremely raw,” Buchanan said. “He’s like a sponge when it comes to listening to what I say. In the process of five-six months he was already a pretty darn good tackle. When I first knew I had something was when he was a freshman playing basketball. I saw him coming down the court. That kid’s an athlete.”

Ralph and Buchanan said they knew that day that Moore was probably going to get a free education, but he’s come a long way from just having size and athleticism. He’s added all the other things, too. He’s a hard worker, has good technique and is very coachable.

“At that moment (his freshman year) we didn’t know how valuable a recruit he’d be. He’s the most coveted recruit in the history of the school,” Ralph said. “(Todd) Yoder (went to Vanderbilt) and played in the NFL but he wasn’t heavily recruited. Not even close. I’m not sure how much higher you can get than the No. 1 offensive lineman in the country. You probably can’t get that much better unless you are a QB or RB.”