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Dante Moore reflects on the wild ride that was his recruitment

Dante Moore
Dante Moore (

SAN ANTONIO – Reflecting back over the past few weeks, Dante Moore can laugh. But as his recruitment was playing out in real time it was all business – and a lot to figure out.

Sleepless nights. Headaches. A late flip from Oregon to UCLA after Ducks offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham left Oregon to take the head coaching job at Arizona State. Gracious until the end, the five-star quarterback fully understood everyone’s decisions, but it was still a gut-wrenching time.


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“It was probably one of the most-hectic months of my life,” Moore said here at the All-American Bowl. “Things happened that I can’t control with the Oregon staff and specifically with coach Dillingham.

“When he told me he was going to interview for the job, in my mind, I was like, 'Dillingham is getting that job.' With him having a great year on that side of the ball and really being in the coaching industry for a long time and him knowing what he’s doing and being from Arizona, Arizona State was his dream job, it made sense. He was taking it for sure.

“I’m not mad at all. Chase your dreams. And I was really starting to understand that college is like a business. Everybody is going to do what’s best for them. When he took the job, I was really proud of him, congratulated him and talked to him as soon as he took the job.”

Once Moore came to the realization that college football was a business, the Detroit Martin Luther King standout got down to business.

Oregon coach Dan Lanning flew to meet with Moore and break down what would happen next as Dillingham, who had a relationship with the five-star quarterback since his coaching days at Florida State, was leaving for Tempe.

There was no bad blood at all, but Moore also needed to fully understand the situation – and decide if he needed an alternative plan.

“When (Lanning) first came in, there were laughs and we were cracking jokes and we asked how the families were doing, still a bond,” Moore said. “We still have a bond to this day. He knew there was one question we were going to ask and that was, ‘Who’s next? Who’s the next OC?’

“Really, he was breaking it down that he was interviewing OCs and interviewing these people and coach (Will) Stein was one of the guys he mentioned and he was liking him from what he did at UTSA and the offenses he ran there. I told him to keep me in the loop and after that at the time me and my dad were like, ‘We need to see another spot.’ If things don’t happen we’d be stuck and signing day was coming up. Not saying I had to sign but I wanted to get things handled and I set my deadline on Monday before signing day.”

UCLA was not the first school to immediately enter the picture. It was a national power much closer to home.

Ohio State,” Moore said.

“I hit up Ohio State first because at the time (quarterbacks) coach (Corey) Dennis and I would text every once in a while to see how each other was doing, and everybody knows through my whole recruiting process the main receiver with me is Carnell Tate. Even me and Brandon (Inniss) are building a bond here, and with Brandon being a top guy playing against him in 7on7, really I was thinking, ‘This is a great spot.’

“I talked to CJ (Stroud), and he’s out of there now, so I know the quarterback position is kind of open, going to compete, my favorite player Braxton Miller went there. I’m from Ohio, so I thought it was a great spot. At the time they were telling me they’d let me know because they were thinking about taking a quarterback and they took the quarterback now (Lincoln Keinholz), but first I wanted to see UCLA. I saw USC but let’s go see UCLA, talk to Chip (Kelly). Chip came to my house, and Chip’s resume beat everything.”

From his success at Oregon, to his days in the NFL, to his quarterback development over the years, Moore was highly intrigued about the idea of playing for the Bruins.

So the five-star quarterback reached out.

Kelly conversed with Moore, set up an in-home visit almost instantaneously and the rest is history.

“I called him and I told him everything that was going on and he was keeping up with everything that was going on in the Pac-12 with Oregon and the OC position,” Moore said. “He asked if this was a call to get on campus and I said, ‘Yes, coach, if you can respect it, I’d love for me and my family to get out there.’ And he said, ‘I really appreciate you. You’ll see me tomorrow.’

“I didn’t believe it, and the next day my dad said, ‘Coach Chip is here.’ I thought there was no way. I came in, talked to him and with him being there and just talking about everything, really that showed that true respect with me that he’s really deep into getting this chemistry, this recruiting process going.

“He came to see me so I made a promise to go see him. (It's) beautiful in L.A., five minutes to Hollywood. I had a great time and the big piece I took from there is when he showed me the players that go and practice in the offseason. Tom Brady, favorite quarterback, all these great players that go up there and train, that’s a great piece for me to go and learn from them.”

In the end, everything for Moore worked out.

But it was one stressful, hectic ride to Westwood.



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