Oregon Will Be Just Fine Without Dante Moore

Joshua Whitted Editorials

Dante Moore flipping his commitment to UCLA at the eleventh hour stinks for Oregon fans. There’s no sugarcoating it.

Moore is an elite prospect in every sense of the word, and he is certainly the type of quarterback that coaches across the country would love to build their programs around. He would have been a historic signing for Dan Lanning and company, but now, he’ll be a potentially program-altering signing for Chip Kelly.

But Lanning didn’t strike out entirely. He did just secure a commitment from a player who has more than just potential. He has proven results.

Bo Nix returning to Oregon in 2023 is more important than the potential signing of Moore. Moore could turn out to be the next big thing in college football, but Nix is already a Heisman-caliber quarterback.

Nix’s return guarantees Oregon an elite quarterback for another year, while there’s a realistic chance Moore doesn’t ever develop into one.

QB Recruiting Is a Shot in the Dark

Recruiting services and scouting departments have made tremendous advancements when it comes to projecting high school athletes to the next level.

It’s more likely that blue-chip prospects will perform well in college and play in the NFL than lower-rated prospects. But there’s still a very broad margin of error.

Marcus Mariota was just a three-star recruit.

There are countless former superstar recruits who failed to deliver in college; many even failed to take a snap. Recruiting will always be an inexact science, as individual success in college is based on so many factors that it’s impossible to accurately predict how well each prospect will adjust.

Knowing that there’s always a decent chance even a blue-chip prospect won’t pan out is important. It doesn’t mean teams shouldn’t try to sign those players. it just means coaches (and fans) need to keep in mind that there will always be a number of prospects that will not perform as expected for a variety of reasons.

And as inexact as recruiting is overall, it’s particularly volatile when it comes to projecting the success of high school quarterbacks. Oregon fans know firsthand how frustrating it can be to sign a blue-chip quarterback and not see him deliver on the field.

The quarterback position in particular is so dependent on the system around it that even the best-looking quarterback prospects can flounder under the wrong circumstances.

None of this is to say that because Moore didn’t sign with Oregon, he will be a bust. He certainly has the skillset and talent to succeed in any system, and there’s a good chance he does become a top-level quarterback when all is said and done.

But history says that’s far from a sure thing.

Nix is a proven commodity.

Meanwhile, Nix is a sure thing, at the game’s most important position. Nix’s return means the Ducks have one of the five best quarterbacks in college football in 2023. That alone means he is more valuable than any single recruit Oregon could sign, and it puts the Ducks in prime position to make a Pac-12 title and Playoff run next season.

Getting to Nix’s level is the goal for Moore and all other blue-chip quarterback prospects. It would have been great if Oregon could have had another quarterback in the chambers with the potential to reach the heights that Nix already has.

But, on this Signing Day Eve, if the Ducks have to “settle” for Nix — one of the best quarterbacks in all of college football, I’d say they’re in pretty good shape.

Joshua Whitted 
Grove City, Ohio
Top Photo by Craig Strobeck

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