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QB Dante Moore Named No. 1 College Football Recruit by SI All-American

Oregon football commitment Dante Moore is at the top of the class of 2023.

State champion Detroit (Mich.) King head coach Tyrone Spencer sees it every day at practice. 

Primarily a defensive coach, serving as King’s play-caller on that side of the ball, his generational quarterback Dante Moore has given his unit fits since Moore’s freshman season. 

“We have a pretty good defense and he shreds us up,” Spencer said. “It doesn’t even matter who the receivers are. He’s just putting that ball where it needs to be; his accuracy and ball placement is phenomenal.” 

This is how good many in the Detroit area projected the passer to become, as Spencer remembers first hearing about the rising senior as a youth quarterback. Jim Harbaugh and Michigan heard around the same time, even extending the first scholarship offer Moore’s way while he was just in the seventh grade.

Living up to the hype since, Moore is now Sports Illustrated’s No. 1 college football recruit; it was announced Monday. 

The last 12 months or so have been the apex of the Moore experience, as he led King to a state championship last December while putting up remarkable numbers along the way. As a junior, he threw for 3,044 yards and 40 touchdowns against just three interceptions while completing 70% of his pass attempts. He followed it up with a strong offseason circuit, shining at various 7-on-7 events ahead of being named SI’s Elite 11 Finals MVP at June’s end. 

It was at the offseason event where Moore even showed his own high school coaches just how well rounded his game is. 

“At the Elite 11, I saw him do things I never saw,” Spencer said. “We don’t just throw fade balls all the time, we run the short and intermediate game. … So the knock on him was his deep throwing. And then I’m looking at him throwing the ball down the field like, ‘Oh my God!’ 

“In my head I thought he was making a push.”

Before the dominant stretch, Moore still shined plenty. He became the varsity starter at King as a freshman, laughing at his own 150-pound frame in retrospect even in beating out a senior in the process. That year, the Crusaders went to the state championship and fell short in the final game. A fourth-round playoff run came about during his sophomore season, in 2020, before the stars aligned for the state title crown last fall. In all, Moore has tallied more than 100 touchdown passes before his first snap as a senior.

His coach points back to that first game, and first start, as the first time he thought the young passer would have a chance at stardom. 

“His freshman year we played a pretty good opponent, Detroit Catholic Central. We end up losing the game, but Dante was leading a comeback that went down to the last possession taking hits,” Spencer said. “He took a hit to the face, sat in there and delivered the ball. He got up with turf all in his face.

“That’s when I thought, ‘He’s gonna be a good one.’ He was fearless; he just kept competing, and that’s when I knew he would be special.”

Fast forward to 2022 and Moore, who expects to play around 210 pounds as a senior, will have a chance to rewrite the MHSAA record books this fall, with career passing yardage (10,615) and touchdowns (124) records among those in striking distance, per the MHSAA

Yet the top player in the land points to the nonfootball qualities as the primary reasons for his and King High School’s success, including the No. 1 spot in the SI99 rankings. 

“Leadership, that’s the main thing,” Moore says of his own game. “I’m also someone who enjoys the game, studying and being coachable. And yeah, I’m a sore loser. 

"The numbers and stats, that comes from my coaches, receivers making my highlights look good."

Moore’s work ethic comes up plenty in looking at the top prospects’ strengths. From running track in practice to working out early mornings on game day to the point the coaching staff had to ask him to stop, it comes up just as much as those around him talk about the stunning accuracy, toughness and level demeanor the QB possesses.  

Of course the 6'2" passer can downright spin it, too. Moore has put up head-turning box scores for years, but it was another King High School loss in which his head coach thought he could have No. 1 overall recruit type potential. 

It was the 2021 season opener, on the road out of state at Carmel (Ind.) High School, when Moore threw for 438 yards and four touchdowns, including the would-be game-winner with less than 10 seconds to play (before a heartbreaking Hail Mary sent the Crusaders home with a loss). 

“I had everybody coming up to me after the game telling me this is the best kid in the country,” Spencer said. “Every ball was precise, where it needed to be. It was definitely a clinic.

You could take that tape and show folks how to play quarterback. 

Moore, who also won Michigan’s Mr. Football in 2021, would bring that praise back to the whiteboard, running through progressions with his offensive coaches, “especially coach Terrel Patrick.” He relishes relationships with teammates, coaches and the like, citing the need to be a leader as an underclassman and the assimilation toward bringing along young players as a rising senior in ’22. 

The focus on relationships also carried over onto what the top talent was looking for at the collegiate level, sorting through 40 scholarship offers before picking the Oregon Ducks on July 8—even getting to do so on a national stage during ESPN’s SportsCenter broadcast that afternoon.

“I just knew Oregon was the best fit for me,” Moore said. “The staff they have now, their stories as to why they’re coaching football, it was something to understand and something that stood out to me. 

“Now I’m chilling, recruiting receivers, recruiting O-linemen to block for me. I’m living in the moment.” 

The preseason release of the SI99 rankings, led by Moore, will be unveiled Tuesday. 

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