After just a season in Los Angeles, UCLA quarterback Dante Moore is entering the transfer portal.
Matt Zenitz of 247Sports was first with the news:
Moore was a five-star recruit who ranked as the No. 4 overall prospect in the 2023 class, but his first season in Westwood did not live up to the hype.
The 2023 season started strong for Moore. In his first three games, he threw for 615 yards, nine touchdowns, and just a single interception, but he began struggling when Pac-12 play commenced.
In conference play, Moore’s touchdown-to-interception ratio was just 4-8.
In all fairness to Moore, he didn’t receive much in the way of protection during Pac-12 games. He was sacked seven times against Utah, four times against Washington State, five times against Oregon State, and six times against Cal. His highest QBR in those four games was 32.7 against Wazzu, and it fell below 30 in the other three, including a paltry 8.0 in the Utah matchup.
Despite reports that his head coach would be let go, UCLA brass elected to retain Chip Kelly, even after a 33-7 defeat against Cal to end the regular season. It’s telling that Moore made the decision to transfer after the news that Kelly would stay in Westwood.
Where does Dante Moore go next?
Moore has the tools to be a special quarterback, including an ability to make throws around defenders that is reminiscent of Patrick Mahomes, but he is not an electric runner. He navigates the pocket well, but he cannot overcome the kind of poor line play that was in front of him this season.
With Moore’s upside, he will undoubtedly be in high demand across the country. Should he get paired with the right coach, the sky is the limit.
Notre Dame is in the market for a transfer portal passer, and while there is heavy speculation that Duke’s Riley Leonard will end up in South Bend, Moore would be an intriguing option that fits the Notre Dame offense.
Auburn and UCF are two other schools that are likely to be seeking quarterbacks from the portal, but those should be counted out due to scheme fit. Hugh Freeze and Gus Malzahn utilize a lot of quarterback runs in their offenses, and that is not what Moore’s skillset is tailored to.
Mississippi State could be a realistic possibility. The Bulldogs just hired Oklahoma offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby to be their next head coach, and while Sooner quarterback Dillon Gabriel carried the ball 93 times this year, Lebby’s offense is pass-first at the position. Lebby and Moore could certainly make things work.
Miami could be a great fit for Moore. Hurricane quarterback Tyler Van Dyke just announced his intention to enter the transfer portal, and along with Notre Dame, Miami is likely the best scheme fit in the sport that is actively going to be looking to the portal for a quarterback.
Wherever Moore lands, here’s hoping that his talent is maximized.