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Dante Moore’s arrival at UCLA is the ultimate Hollywood tale



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On a whiteboard in his room, Dante Moore laid out the chances for his future, one marker stroke at a time.

His high faculty decisions. Positives and negatives for every place. The explanations one college may develop him as a quarterback higher than one other.

UCLA discovered itself within the operating alongside Ohio State after Oregon, the varsity Moore had initially dedicated to, suffered an enormous setback in its pursuit of the five-star prospect from Detroit’s King Excessive.

Offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham left the Geese in November to turn into Arizona State’s head coach, a game-changer in Moore’s calculus. Sure, quarterback Bo Nix additionally mentioned he would return for yet another faculty season, nevertheless it was Dillingham’s departure that finally eliminated Oregon from consideration.

Ohio State was enticing due to its promising group of receivers and historical past of manufacturing big-time playmakers that made a quarterback’s job simpler. A robust contender, the Buckeyes couldn’t match the Bruins due to one issue.

They didn’t have Chip Kelly.

“The largest optimistic,” Moore informed The Instances in a phone interview when requested why he picked UCLA, “was Coach Kelly.”

Having watched Kelly domesticate his quarterbacks into stars at Oregon lengthy earlier than the coach developed Dorian Thompson-Robinson into one of many Pac-12 Convention’s high gamers, Moore foresaw related success for himself in Westwood. That’s why he agreed to signal with the Bruins final month, changing into the highest-rated highschool participant Kelly had ever lured in his 9 faculty seasons.

“He actually is aware of what he’s doing,” Moore mentioned of his new coach. “He’s coached within the NFL. He’s seen many nice issues, actually robust video games. He has a very sturdy resume, and I actually felt that going right into a system with an amazing head coach, that will be the very best improvement for me.”

Moore mentioned he known as Kelly after studying Dillingham was leaving Oregon, reigniting the Bruins’ pursuit after they had been amongst his many preliminary suitors. Kelly’s palpable pleasure, adopted by an in-home go to, solely intensified Moore’s curiosity in taking part in for the coach who’s broadly thought of an offensive savant.

“That’s once I actually knew he was critical that he would be capable of take my dedication,” Moore mentioned.

UCLA coach Chip Kelly watches warmups before a game at Oregon on Oct. 22, 2022.

UCLA coach Chip Kelly was “the most important optimistic” in extremely touted quarterback recruit Dante Moore’s determination to decide on to Bruins.

(Chris Pietsch / Related Press)

A campus go to solidified his determination. UCLA broad receiver Jadyn Marshall helped promote Moore on the numerous advantages of changing into a Bruin. Attending observe helped Moore envision what it might be prefer to be a part of a dynamic offense in want of a brand new quarterback.

The battle for the beginning job figures to be intense, particularly with the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Moore arriving in time for spring observe. He’ll be part of Kent State switch Collin Schlee, redshirt junior Ethan Garbers and promising redshirt freshman Justyn Martin
as a part of a quarterback room that, barring transfers, will likely be standing-room solely.

“With Dorian leaving,” Moore mentioned, “they mentioned the quarterback place was open — not saying I can are available immediately and begin — however I do know I can compete, be the very best I could be and we’ll simply go from there.”

Moore mentioned he didn’t concern himself with the name, image and likeness deals his new college provided, letting his father deal with that facet of his recruitment. When it was time for an NIL assembly throughout his go to, Moore mentioned he declined the invitation, as an alternative watching extra movie in an effort to raised perceive how he may be capable of thrive in UCLA’s offense.

“I really feel that as an athlete, you go in, you compete and do nice issues, have nice stats, win video games and I really feel that’s when the cash is available in,” Moore mentioned. “So all of the numbers that get thrown round and all the things like that, I don’t ever hearken to or consider, in order that’s why I simply need to go in and be the very best I could be.”

Having visited USC earlier in his recruitment, Moore was already bought on the L.A. climate and life-style. A bonus he realized on his UCLA go to was that Tampa Bay’s Tom Brady and Dallas’ Dak Prescott had been among the many NFL quarterbacks who commonly skilled on the Bruins’ observe facility, offering extra mentors.

Moore may go down as the primary UCLA recruit of the Big Ten era provided that the varsity’s convention change in August 2024 was a giant promoting level. Turning into a part of a convention that will enable him to play a number of video games every season close to his hometown was an element, in addition to the Large Ten’s capacity to problem the Southeastern Convention for nationwide supremacy in a means the Pac-12 couldn’t.

“I used to be speaking to [former Carolina Panthers quarterback] Cam Newton about all the things that was occurring with my determination and actually one factor that he informed me is that’s really an amazing factor, that’s nationwide publicity,” Moore mentioned. “In faculty soccer, you want as a lot nationwide publicity to place you on the map for NFL scouts or NFL coaches.”

Requested to explain his model for individuals who had by no means seen him play, a quarterback identified for his contact and accuracy on brief and deep routes, in addition to his willingness to stay within the pocket till the final attainable second, talked about one thing that had nothing to do together with his passing abilities.

“If any person was to come back see me play,” Moore mentioned, “the very first thing they might say is that you may inform he’s a child, he likes to benefit from the recreation of soccer, likes to have a good time and luxuriate in it together with his teammates.”

Enjoyable is certainly excessive on Moore’s agenda. After taking part in within the All-American Bowl on Saturday in San Antonio, he’s booked on a flight to Los Angeles scheduled to reach Sunday morning. His first UCLA class is Monday, a part of a whirlwind that he hopes deposits him on the doorstep of greatness.

Amongst different issues, he mentioned he needed to see the Hollywood signal and go to the Griffith Observatory, a university child doing faculty issues.

Identical to somebody had scripted all of it on a whiteboard.

“Simply actually making an attempt to get there, dwell the faculty pupil life,” he mentioned. “Simply being on campus, going to lessons, constructing bonds with nice individuals.”